Friday, November 6, 2015

Book Review - The Descent by Jeff Long (from 1998)

The Descent was a solid book with a somewhat lackluster conclusion that makes it difficult to rate.  On the one hand, the characters and the atmosphere were lively and entrancing, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one right up until the very end.  On the other hand, the climax was pretty weak and it left a bad taste in my mouth.  Long's prose is vivid and compelling, and The Descent surely qualifies as a genuine page-turner.  There were some truly horrific sequences embedded in the book, though it mostly served as a grim thriller masquerading as an adventure yarn that was equal parts Jules Verne* and Micheal Crichton.  I will note that those elements which mirrored Verne's work fared better than the author's attempts to channel Crichton, though Long still succeeded in enriching his text with more science and wit than many authors who deal with similar themes.  In truth, if I had enjoyed the ending a bit more, The Descent would have emerged as a top-notch affair that I would heartily recommend to anyone.  As it is, I still rate it as a solid and entertaining thrill ride that is worth taking, and I am pretty sure that many will enjoy it far more than I did.

*Long made no attempt to conceal the notion that in many ways his tale could be viewed as a modern take on Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Final Grade: B-

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