Sunday, October 2, 2022

Review: Black Tide by KC Jones

by KC Jones
Release Date: May 31, 2022
2022 Nightfire
Kindle Edition; 245 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250792693
Audiobook: B09NF2PCMF
Genre: Fiction / Horror / Science-Fiction
Source: Review copy from publisher
3 / 5 Stars
Mike and Beth didn’t know each other existed before the night of the meteor shower.

After a drunken and desperate one-night-stand, the two strangers awake to discover a surprise astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only a part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying. When a set of lost car keys leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast, when their emergency calls go unanswered and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for the car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must find in each other the strength to overcome past pain and the fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.
My Thoughts
Black Tide definitely had a lot of potential, and there were a lot of moments in the book that I really liked. I did think it would have worked better as a novella as certain scenes tended to drag and I did not see the purpose of adding a kid, Natalie, to the story, except as a way of getting them off the beach which seemed like a weak plot point to me.  I really enjoy seeing authors put a different twist on cosmic horror so it was nice to read about something that is not the usual, typical zombie apocalypse fare.  
I thought the characters were actually the weakest part of the book.  Beth did grow on me towards the end, but that isn't saying much as I found her very annoying for the first half of the book; it was difficult to develop empathy for her when you listened to her whining inner monologue. I don't mind it when the main character is a bit of a mess as they can be very interesting to read about and makes room for a lot of character development, but I felt like the author tried too hard to make her seem that way and it came off poorly. I did like Mike and thought his job as a film producer was interesting, but he was sort of lost in the maelstrom of Beth's emotions and thoughts so I never really felt like I got to know his character very well.  Jake, the dog, my favourite character!!

I did think the plot was interesting, and I like the fact that neither Mike nor Beth had any idea about what was happening, therefore the reader had to learn with the characters.  Both Mike and Beth were dealing with personal issues (Mike grieving the loss of his wife, Beth just being Beth), so when they arrived at the beach, they were completely taken unaware and caught unprepared.  I personally loved it that Beth didn't pack very well for a picnic which left the two of them in a difficult situation when they finally realized they were in a dangerous position.  No super hero main character to MacGyver the situation in this book.  I liked the reason for which the world ended and liked learning about the aliens as the characters learned about them. To be honest, I am still not sure I understand anything about them.

That being said, there were definitely some things that I don't think added to the tension. The addition of Natalie, the young girl, felt like the author couldn't think up any more unbelievable ways to get the couple off the beach so this solution was the only viable one.  In a book full of unbelievable events, why does this one matter? I can't explain it other than it made me roll my eyes and just didn't seem to fit into the story.  And the sex scene stuck right in the middle here? Really? You are injured, with little water, stuck on a beach with aliens, and that's what you are thinking about?  Sure, makes sense.  

Black Tide had some good moments that were full of tension; having two people trapped on a beach with the rising tide and a bunch of aliens can definitely be tricky.  There were quite a few unbelievable moments, but I went with it because it was interesting. It did seem like the author changed focus partway into the book and decided upon a different course of action and the ending definitely feels like there could be potential for a sequel.  I would definitely be interested in learning more about these aliens and following Mike and Beth on further adventures.