The Beast of Cretacea - YA Review by Sam T

Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: The Beast of Cretacea
Author: Todd Strasser
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 10/13/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I liked the book a fair amount; it was a good story that was interesting and riveting and kept me on my toes. I also liked the characters, as all of the different characters and character groups were very interesting and I felt a connection with them due to good characterization and good use of emotion and backstory. Finally, I also enjoyed the adventure and danger aspects of the novel, and I found the fight over the serum and the hierarchy of their future society interesting.
     One thing that personally irked me off a little as a science nerd was that the book's depiction of the Cretaceous Period was often inaccurate. The author made up a fictitious stingray-like creature, and added in creatures that did not exist yet such as bats and deer. (It would be like setting a book in the 1940's and including iPhones) Scenes like the pterosaur picking someone up would also have been impossible in real life. Popular culture depictions of prehistory are almost always wildly different than reality, and I'd desperately hoped that this book would be different. Of course, it is important to mention that the book was written well enough so that my belief was mostly suspended, but the fact that the author did not do his homework bugged me at the back of my mind as I read.  Overall, it was a good and interesting story, and the concept was great, although some parts of it were flawed. I also thought the ending was a little bit of a letdown - he never finds his brother nor his parents.
Memorable or Forgettable: It was memorable and interesting because it did a very interesting, unexpected and original retelling of a famous book, Moby Dick, that I have never read. I thought it was a unique enough concept that it stood out somewhat.
Cover: The cover was okay. I feel that maybe it gives a little too much away about the beast and prevents readers from imagining it themselves. Although it could have been a little better, I thought it was still interesting enough to warrant my attention.
Age Range: 12 through 17
Quality: 4Q - Better than most
Popularity: 3P - Some teen appeal

tags: science fiction / maritime adventure / coming of age / Moby Dick / ya lit

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