Tentacles and Teeth (Book Review)
by Ariele Sieling
I received this ARC from BookSirens in exchange for an honest review.
The novel is an action-packed post-apocalyptic adventure that is entertaining and fun but with only surface-level depth. It also wavers between whether it’s YA or a book for younger audiences.
It is an exciting and easy-to-follow story about a strong young woman trying to survive in an inhospitable world. I would argue that this book is almost perfect for the pre-teen audience. It has some blood and guts (which, when I was twelve, I would have loved), but nothing too gory and nothing overly traumatic for a younger reader. There wasn’t a love story, which was nice. It seems like a romance is a staple for YA (which makes sense given, well, teenagers), but this one has no love story. It moves so fast there’s no time.
I liked the main character, but I thought she acted far too young for being “of age” (which I’m assuming was 18)? She acted more like a 14-year-old, but this could be because she doesn’t express a lot of inner turmoil and her emotions are often base, such as anger or relief. This is part of the reason why I say it lacks depth – she has no real inner turmoil. She has anger towards the harsh punishments doled out by her elders, but she does not have an arc in the sense of growing as a person. Things happen to her to change her view on the world somewhat, but I wouldn’t say she changes. She’s strong, smart and capable from the get-go and never wavers in this regard. Likewise, the other characters aren’t very deep either – her friends are distinguishable only by their names and the elder, Kira, is so vindictive in her punishments it didn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand why they would send a young woman, barely of age, out alone in a monster-infested world. If she’s such a great fighter (which she is proven to be) why would they risk losing her? There wasn’t enough focus on how the community was run to make this anything but a hyperbolic gesture on Kira’s part, which serves to work well for a younger audience struggling with (perhaps) overbearing parents, but for adult readers, it seems a little unrealistic.
Still, the story moves at a fast pace and the action scenes are very fun – the monsters are so unique and given such a focus that I never had trouble remembering their names or their attacks (and usually I’m awful with that sort of thing). There’s a lot of repetitive slicing and dicing and Askari sweating, but for a younger reader, this would be very fun. Hell, I enjoyed it too!
The strongest section of the story is in the town – no spoilers – but for those enjoy future characters without knowledge of the past sifting through our current technology and items, this was a treat.
Despite not being a stand-alone book, the novel does wrap up in a way that is satisfactory, though I still had questions about the world-building.
Overall though, a great book for an edgy kid who wants to read something dark and bloody, but you don’t want to give them Stephen King or another adult horror just yet.