CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, July 9, 2012
Review by Staff Writer, Evan Fritzenkotter
Christopher Forrest, author of The Genesis Code, is a man who “has lived on a sailboat, explored Mayan ruins in the jungles of Central America,” and “been struck by lightning.” These credentials present themselves nicely for the novels that he has produced through the years. Christopher Forrest is back at it again in his most recent sci-fi/action thriller Savage Bay. Forrest portrays a race against time as hostile forces aim to take control of a medical research lab on an island off the coast of Spain. On this island, researchers are trying to discover the secrets of an ancient civilization through the unraveling of their DNA. What initially sounds like a plot-line for your next favorite Ridley Scott flick, becomes a convoluted, yet mildly entertaining affair containing more style than substance
The prologue sets an intriguing, isolated setting for the story on the island of Es Vedra, a mythological place that “has been rumored to be the tip of the sunken civilization of Atlantis” or “the birthplace of Hannibal the Conqueror.” This is where, unfortunately, the mythology stops and the rest of the novel begins. The subsequent chapters display a fast-paced action fest peppered with your favorite PG-13 thriller movie elements. We follow the crusades of Hawkeye and the military squad, Titan Six, as they attempt to regain control Es Vedra from a group of hostile forces and rescue the daughter of the billionaire CEO of Titan Global. The crew goes from fire fights to fight club brawls with relative ease, moving with a comic book-like pace. The book is written much like a young adult novel. The language and style is simplistic and contains little explicit material despite the violent subject matter. What it lacks in ornate imagery, strong dialogue, and complex plot points it make up for with its faced paced, no-holds barred action sequences. If I were a ten year old playing Halo again, this novel would be a striking realization for me. Alas, I am not a ten year old boy anymore, so wanting more mature content for the subject matter being depicted is only natural.
The characters don’t offer much in the form of substance either, but they work well with the overall tone of the novel. From Hawkeye, to Cruz, to Pyro, we see generalized stereotypes that have been introduced before. Macho, military adrenaline junkies well-versed in the arts of combat and protein shake consumption. The characters are portrayed as your typical meat-head marines with frat boy personalities. Oddly enough, this works for the overarching theme and tone of the novel and fits well into the action-packed pace. The reader can’t be slowed down by emotions in a slug-fest just as Johnny Depp won’t be signed on to any Expendables movies.
Although Savage Bay wasn’t what I expected in terms of tonality and substance, it does offer a fun little thrill ride for the young adult or the inner young adult. The novel doesn’t introduce anything revolutionary but at the same time, it doesn’t mess anything up. If a fast-paced, quick read is what you’re looking for, then Forrest has certainly delivered; nothing more nothing less. The overall plot of the novel is very intriguing but it would have been nice to see Forrest take the training wheels off and make it a bit more explicit. Inserting a few profanities here and there would help to remove the “orbit clean feel” that some of these marines have in their mouths. It doesn’t introduce anything new to the sci-fi genre and only reinforces old stereotypes but it does well in the realm it attempts to succeed at. The more refined fantasy/sci-fi reader will be pleading for more but I got the feeling that this should be catered towards a younger audience anyway.