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The Maw

A Novel
Narrated by: Neil Hellegers
Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
4 out of 5 stars (18 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For fans of Clive Cussler and Michael Crichton, a thrilling tale of an underground expedition to the deep...and the ultimate struggle for survival.  

Milo Luttrell never expected to step inside the mouth of an ancient cave in rural Tanzania. After all, he's a historian - not an archaeologist. Summoned under the guise of a mysterious life-changing opportunity, Milo suddenly finds himself in the midst of an expedition into the largest underground system in Africa, helmed by a brash billionaire turned exploration guru and his elite team of cavers. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to finally solve a century-old disappearance of the famed explorer Lord Riley DeWar, an enigmatic figure who both made - and nearly ruined - Milo's fledgling career.  

Determined to make the most of his second chance, Milo joins the team and begins a harrowing descent into one of Earth's last secrets: a dangerous, pitch-black realm of twisting passages and ancient fossils nearly 2,000 feet underground. But when a storm hits the surface base camp, stranding the cavers and washing away supplies, all communication to the outside world is lost. 

As the remaining resources dwindle and members of the team begin to exhibit strange and terrifying abilities, Milo must brave the encroaching darkness to unearth the truth behind DeWar's fascination with the deep - and why he never left.

©2018 Taylor Zajonc (P)2018 Tantor

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A Psychedelic Thriller of Man Vs. Nature

I was wrapped up in the story from the moment I hit play, sitting in my car listening to this incredible adventure long after I had arrived at home. I was drawn into the vivid images of a man, an academic, forced out of his element into an immense cave system, struggling to survive and quickly finding out exactly what he was made of. Who are we when everything goes wrong, what does it take to survive, will we rise to the challenge or crumble under the pressure?

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exceptional!

Very well done, unique and original. You should drive right in and dig deep. You'll apparently love or hate the ending, I fall on the loved it side.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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I just.. I just... I just don't know...

If you look at my reviews, you can see that my favorite book of 2018 is 'The Anomaly' by Michael Rutger. I won't describe the details of that book, because this is about 'The Maw.' The only reason why I mention it is because it's about an expedition to find something and both teams get stuck in caves. When I read the summary for this book, I knew that I had to have it and couldn't wait to get started. I was even halfway done with one of Jonathan Maberry's book and I still switched. I wouldn't say that this book was a TOTAL letdown...just a minor letdown.

SUMMARY:

Milo, a professor at Georgetown University, is invited on a caving expedition funded by a very rich man named Dale. Milo's role in this is having staked his career on the mysterious disappearance of Lord Riley De'War (spelling may not be accurate). It made and ruined his career at the same time. When he is flown mysteriously to Africa and taken to meet Dale, it's revealed that Dale has discovered De'War's map to the super cave they are going into, instead of the most common theory that his team tried to climb one of the unclimbable mountains of the early 20th century.

As they descend, everything is going find and they explore different areas, with a team up at the top lowering down supplies. They discover a large cavern, filled with water that has a mysterious golden light far beneath the surface that no one can explain. After this, an incredibly horrific rainfall hits the surface and the camp is destroyed, one of the members of the team is missing, and much of their supplies gone. After this everyone starts exhibiting strange abilities, photographic memory being one of them. As the supplies dwindle and the team exhibits more and more strange phenomena, Milo and Bridgette, the medical doctor and former girlfriend of Milo, wonder if they'll ever make it out alive.

REVIEW:

I'll be quick about the review process this time, since I've already written a ton of summary. I found the first chunk of this book (before the rainstorm) to be incredibly boring and I was just waiting for that storm to make things go haywire. Then, when the storm hits, nothing seems to be communicated as desperate besides a few things here and there. Plus, nothing that crazy happens to the team besides the photographic memory and a few other things. I guess I mentioned 'The Anomaly' because that book had SO much going on once they entered the cave part of their expedition, where the team from this book didn't. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but I found the book to be a tad boring.

RATING:

I'm going to give the novel a B-, which is a much better grade than a 2 star book normally gets. There are moments of interest, but they are few and far between. I think there are some people who may LOVE this book, but I'm just not one of them; however, I want to be fair and give it a grade that it deserves. Zajonc is an incredible writer, so the skill is there; he just needs a better story to go on.

The narration is going to receive a B+, because I didn't find him to have much range. However, he was very clear and didn't try to do the fake feminine voice in order to portray a woman. Neil Hellegers would probably be better at reading a nonfiction book instead of a novel. That's just my opinion, because he did do a decent job. I just think that he'd be great at narrating a book that is nonfiction with dry facts. He'd really bring those words to life.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful