The Cursed Creatures - by Adam Hulse
CONTAINS SPOILERS IN ITALICS, BELOW.
The second part of Adam Hulse’s Tales of Tupuga trilogy continues from the moment we left the story on the last page of the first book. This reads more as if Hulse decided to write an ongoing book and then split that book into three parts, which means he spends no time on recap, no reminder of the story, the reader is expected to know all of the events that happened previously, the lore, the tragedy of what befell the MC’s – it’s straight into the action from page 1.
Personally, that’s exactly as I wanted it – recap and recall tend to annoy me, I think anyone that reads the second book was caught up in the madness and mayhem left at the end of the first book – we haven’t got time to re-read what we already know, and Hulse doesn’t either – for me, the right call.
The opening sequence is simply the coming together of all of the disparate elements from the last book in a frenzied fight for survival before the book then comes about tail and showcases what had happened in the place of origin, back on Tupuga. As in the first book, Hulse shows no favoritism when it comes to his characters, they die where they do – it’s down to luck more than anything who gets to survive the various encounters. That random callousness worked for me – it brings the element of shock into play – a bad decision in the heat of the moment can literally end your life, and there are plenty of bad decisions and dumb stupid luck in evidence here.
The novella comes full circle as the “heroes” return to the island, comfortable that the menace has been destroyed on the mainland through a third party – that’s a big loophole which for me left a nagging doubt – the heroes are happy to say – "well – that isn’t my problem, someone else can sort that one out" – and no evidence is seen that their conclusion is correct or justified. Bear that in mind (explained below) as we continue.
Upon reaching the island, the MC’S discover it overrun by the creatures, that have (apart from a couple of errant creatures) for some reason all gone back to the caves from where they originated. After a fight at the local police station, a “final showdown” ensues and after the battle, the caves are sealed and a hint is given that one creature is possibly taken away by a force unknown. To be continued.
Before I go into solid “spoiler territory with my fears and concerns, let’s look at how it reads – as quick and entertaining as the first book. That’s no surprise, for me, I think it is clear that Adam wrote this as one long story and split it up, this is a continuation of the writing from the first novella – and reads as addictively as that novella. It’s fast-paced, the characters are likable, and it’s a thriller -adrenalin-powered creature feature. It takes no survivors, it blasts through unapologetically and is pure popcorn entertainment. Make no mistake, this was a 4 ⭐‘s review for me bordering on five stars. I had a blast, but I have doubts, and that did affect my enjoyment of this book. After reading the third book in the series, I’ll be sure to come back here and amend the star rating accordingly (up to five stars) if those doubts are answered.
Adam, I had a blast, this was a lot of fun watching creatures explode, get stabbed, heads blown off, burnt, etc. It was a film made solid in a book and read at 150 kph.
Now let me explain what tripped me:
We are now firmly established in “spoiler” territory (italics) because there are a couple of things I wanted to say before reading the third book of the series (that will hopefully answer some of my fears and questions), but in the interests of sleeping at night, here they are for those of you that have read this book already:
1) The very start of the first book contained some “lore” of the original inhabitants of the island. Evil guys kill a local hero and are sealed up in a cave as punishment after torture (if I remember it correctly). No further mention of their connection to the creatures is mentioned, or how they played a part in the creature’s development. I’m hoping that (for me, massive) plot thread will be resolved because it fell by the wayside, and – yeah, - I’m a details nerd. There has to be a solid connection between their incarceration and the violence and attitude of the creatures. If not, why was that lore incorporated into the first book at all? As it is, we are left to assume they were killed or incorporated into the culture (the creatures) yet the original creatures are hairy white albino-type things, not those bad guys. So what happened to them, and how does it have a bearing on the story?
2) The creatures have, in days only, created a massive underground hive, a network, spanning off from a subterranean sink hole they dug out. The creatures are “sealed” in and “killed” by collapsing the entrance tunnel. They dug their way into the earth with a massive hole, in just days. They are burrowers. They dig as a part of their existence. A cave-in is just more earth for them to dig through. Why would any anthropologist think that sealing them in, under the earth, would stop them? Fire requires air to spread, if the entrance hole is sealed the fire goes out more or less immediately. Am I the only one to think that?
3) Napalm destroys everything it touches, but inside buildings, under the cover of other set structures, it wouldn’t burn, it only burns what it touches, and sets fire to through proximity. I’d say the likelihood of catching all of the creatures in napalm was, at best, 70/30 %. Plus, they are burrowers (see above) they aren’t going to be burnt if they dig a hole and tunnel… I mean, that might take a bit of time, but if one wasn’t caught in the napalm and was near earth under a structure, then a way out is down?
Ok. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Adam does with these questions, but those questions are only here on my website, my Goodreads review and my Amazon/ Bookbub reviews won’t feature these thoughts, that would be a disservice to the author – let’s keep reviews pertinent to the content of the book.
The Cursed creatures is a riot of creature mayhem, a gorefest of the best kind, and a thrilling breakneck speed ride. I think Adam must have had a blast writing it, and I can’t wait for the third book in the series, coming up, for me, in August.
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