This book is bad, really, really bad, like Michael Bay-bad. I knew that I had to shut down a fair amount of my brain cells in order to enjoy this book, but I wasn´t prepared for the fact that I had to shut down my brain entirely. This book is the living proof that if you don´t like the initial 25% of a novel, it will definitely not improve along the way (yes, I should have DNF it).
Scientists stationed at the Wilkes Ice Station in Antarctica discover an alien spaceship in an underground ice cave. In the aftermath of this discovery a marine reconnaissance unit is send to secure the station, but the discovery hasn´t gone unnoticed by foreign aggressors who infiltrate the station and the big battle for the space ship ensues.
And off goes the action train. There is not much more to the story than this (actually there is, but it would be a huge spoiler. If you are dying to know how this book ends and what is up with that spaceship, feel free to read the spoiler tag that I´m putting at the end of my review. I did so much eyerolling I was afraid that my eyes would be stuck in the back of my head for the rest of my life). The story is so predictable and every action trope you possibly could think of is somewhere buried in between the pages (at least it feels like it). So in terms of the story this book has been a massive failure but it´s actually not the worst thing about the book.
Because, ladies and gentlemen, here is our main character, Lieutenant Shane "Scarecrow" Schofield (and just to put a little bit of context to this first qoute: he is underwater and a huge killer-whale is about to eat him):
Schofield pulled Kirsty Hensleigh´s plastic asthma puffer from his pocket. He pressed the releasing button, and a short line of fat bubbles rushed out from the puffer. [...] Quickly he pulled his stainless steel dog tags from around his neck and looped their neck chain around the puffer´s releasing button so that it held down. [...]He quickly released the small asthma puffer, now weighed down by his steel dogtags. The Puffer sank instantly, leaving a trail of fat bubbles shooting up through the water behind it. [...] Without warning, the killer whale banked sharply in the water and veered downward, chasing the asthma puffer and its trail of bubbles.
Yep, that´s him, the guy that has taken an asthma puffer away from a little girl is our hero (and fyi, blatant misuse of metered dose inhalers aka asthma puffers is THE biggest pet peeve of mine). Schofield is Macgyver. He comes up with the most ludicrous things in a heartbeat and after he has succeeded, he gives a pseudo-scientific-babble-explanation why the stuff, he has done, has worked. But he is so much more than Macgyver. He is the entire group of Sly Stallones Expandables combined in one person. He is the best of the best of the best. And he is such a dreamhunk ... or maybe not:
Two prominent vertical scars cut down across both of his eyes. They were unmissable, hideous. Each scar stretched downward in a perfectly straight line from eyebrow to cheekbone, scarring the eyelid in between.
This left me wondering how he still is able to have an eyesight like Hawkeye (the answer: top-notch military surgeons, what else). Anyhow, he still has the ability to look out for the ladies:
Schofield turned. And saw Sarah Hensleigh standing in front of him. Dressed in a figure-hugging blue-and-black thermal-electric wet suit. Schofield was momentarily taken aback. For the first time that day, he noticed just how shapely Sarah Hensleigh was - the woman had a great body.
And he doesn´t get easily distracted by, lets say, a woman:
He thought about the divers from Wilkes, who had disappeared down in the cavern, about the cavern itself and what was in it, about the French and their snatch-and-grab effort to seize whatever was down there, about erasing devices being fired from warships off the coast, about the possibility that one of his own men had killed XXX, and about Sarah Hensleigh´s smile. It was all too much.
Despite this momentarily weakness, he is a genuinly good guy. Smart, deditaced and always worrying about the people in his crew. But then again, is he really that smart:
The Mother said, "What about the one that was shut up in his room when we got here? You know, what´s-his-name, Renshaw."
Schofield´s head snapped up. He had completely forgotten about Renshaw. Renshaw was the scientist Sarah Hensleigh had said had killed one of his fellow scientists only days before the Marines had arrived at Wilkes. [...] After XXXs death, Schofield hadn´t even checked to see if Renshaw was still in his room. If Renshaw had escaped, then maybe he had...
And after the 100th attempt to kill him, Schofield is still alive. Sure, he has some broken ribs, a broken nose and he did an extensive swim in the Antarctic Ocean and he feels like he is going to die or something to that extend. But he is still able to do this with a broken rib:
Once he was clear of XXX and the wall, he jumped up quickly and brought his cuffed hands forward - under his feet - so that they were now in front of his body.
As for the other charcters, well, they are there but that´s about it. You have your highly spezialed military groups from foreing European countries, the smoking hot scientist, the highly intelligent twelve year old girl, who knows the Fibonacci sequence, Wendy, the seal and then the scientist, who turns into Schofields sidekick. I really liked him, but mainly because I have a soft spot for scientists. And an honourable mention goes out to the badass marine woman, who keeps another soldier at bay with her healthy foot while her other food just has been eaten off by one of the killer whales.
So in terms of the characters this book has been a massive failure too and the characters, first and foremost Schofield himself, are the worst thing about the book.
This book is just so, so bad. What´s that, Jean-Luc?
My sentiments exactly! That´s how I was reading the last half of the book. Me constantly peeking at the pages and doing some serious head-shaking along the way. Blergh.
If you want to know what is up with the alien space ship:(show spoiler)