I love a good horror story. Unexplainable things, mysterious voices, giant monsters, it's all up my alley. So, when I saw the description of a new book called Lilith, it sounded like just my kind of book. I was excited to read a horror novel and made it the next book for me to pick up.
Lilith tells the story of Hunter Singleton and his wife Lisa who are invited aboard the USS Gerald Ford in a group of media to write an article about the boat. However, strange things are afoot upon the ship. Crew members start doing strange things and as a deadly hurricane makes its way towards Manhattan, things take a turn towards the worst.
I wanted to like this book. I like monster books. I like spooky stuff. I'm not the hugest fan of military books but they can be really good. However, this book was hard to read. So many things rubbed me the wrong way and I could not get over it.
Firstly, the characters. Hunter is the definition of a Gary Stu, a character too perfect to exist in real life. He's charming and kind and has a super hot wife and at one point, a demon(?) kidnaps him to be her sex slave. Yes, that is a thing that happens. Also, he just so happens to have knowledge of everything forever. He was in the Navy, he's smart enough that the CIA lets him in on classified information and my personal favorite, as they are wandering some homeless tunnels, he criticizes the tunnels but understands that at least they're shelter because he was once homeless. … what?
This is the second book featuring Hunter and Lisa which is something I hadn't realized going in so I can forgive some lack of characterization due to not having read the first book. However, there is absolutely no character depth whatsoever. The only motivation I spotted in any of the characters in the entire book was lust. Because there is a lot of strange sex going on in this. Which leads me to another point:
There is a lot of strange sex in this book. Now, I get that sex is a thing that happens in a lot of books and most of the time, it fits in with the plot and the reader moves on. Not so here. There are random sex scenes between characters that will never be mentioned again. There is a disturbing amount of description about female characters and how exotic and hot they are whereas male characters are only described by what race they happen to be (aka I think one of the characters was black.) It felt creepily like reading someone's fantasies than a forward plot development. Although there was a reason for the sex, it still was gratuitous and uncomfortable for the reader.
Something also gratuitous and uncomfortable for the reader was the amount of Navy speak going on in the text. I get that using jargon is helpful for creating atmosphere and believability but between the amount of it and the fact that none of it was explained, it made it incredibly hard to follow what characters were talking about. I still don't know what the CHENG was, although I think it was a person. Or maybe a robot. Or maybe a sex robot? This reader will never know. Or she will because she just googled it. However, I shouldn't have to google "CHENG navy" to find out it meant Chief Engineer. Because an author can just write that.
I'm going to skip over the fact that the main villain hates the Navy because a sailor ran over her dog when she was a child. That just feels like rubbing salt in the wound at this point.
To be honest, it's a miracle I made it through the whole book. It became more about giggling through its absurdity than actually reading it very early on. I would not recommend this book and I would honestly wonder how this got published in the first place. There is a lot of good horror out there. Don't waste your time with this.
Lilith comes out in January from Dark Fuse.