*No Major Spoilers*
*Trigger Warning for body horror, animal death/cruelty, and death of a parent*
17 years ago, Tyler Barton was born in the Rocky Mountains, while his parents were on a hike.
On that day, his mother disappeared, never to be seen again.
Now, history repeats itself.
On the 17th anniversary of her disappearance, Tyler’s father is flying home when the plane he’s on disappears – in the same area where his mother was last seen.
Undeterred by officials, Tyler decides to hike into the area in search of his father, hoping to find him alive and bring him back to safety.
But there’s a reason that area is prohibited to enter and even though Tyler doesn’t care, he’ll soon find out that the wilderness can hide some of the deepest, darkest fears known to man.
I remember when I saw the promo for this book, I was so excited because the cover reminded me of a Wendigo, an Indigenous mythological creature. I couldn’t wait to dive in to it. After some time to read it, digest it, and gather my thoughts, I’m ready to explore this review of Mastodon.
This valley was wearing his rational mind down to the point of not believing anything he saw, but also accepting that anything was possible.
Steve Stred, Mastodon
This novel isn’t at all what I thought it was going to be. Not that the summary led me astray, it didn’t. It was the cover on top of my assumptions that left me unprepared for this mind-twisting read. What I thought was a simple answer, turned into something I never saw coming until it was too late.
Tyler reminded me of Brian from The Hatchet in the way there’s not much personality there so we, as the reader, can get a more fulfilling experience seeing the world through his eyes. However, there’s not much to his character other than his parents being missing and all of the hiking and camping trips he and his dad went on throughout his life.
One thing that adds to the mystery surrounding this restricted military compound is how the scale seems to shift and change to fit the current moment or situation. It felt like months for Tyler to reach the spot where his dad’s plane crashed even though it had only been three or so days.
One small gripe I have about this story is how bland and boring Kyle is as a character. Like I said previously, that might have been to give us a more open view of his world and experiences. However, it made the story drag a bit.
Another critique I have is how rushed the ending feels. It’s like the author wrote the main scene(s) that he wanted to write and then the rest was rushed just to finish writing. The final twist ending left me unsatisfied and disappointed.
Overall, this was an okay read. There’s plenty of horror elements to last you a lifetime as well as disturbing imagery. I think you’d like Mastodon if you like the horror subgenre splatterpunk, as well as those who enjoy monster tales and Kaiju stories.