book review: MAMMOTH by Brian McBride.

After the death of his father, misfit and aspiring paleontologist, Tommy Rhodes, seeks refuge in the ramshackle lighthouse that stands guard over the city of Mammoth, Washington. Left in disarray by years of bad weather, it’s the perfect place for Tommy to hide from everything that’s gone wrong with his life – and to party with his band of friends, the Jailbirds – the only family he has left.

After a storm uncovers a secret hidden in the walls of the old lighthouse, Tommy unravels a mystery beyond his wildest dreams and the deadly conspiracy that surrounds it – and Tommy’s entire life seems tangled at the heart of it all.

Tommy and the Jailbirds – Jude, Maya, Mars, and newcomer Lydia – are thrust into the middle of a deadly hunt for the truth that will challenge their bond, uncover the secrets that lurk beneath the surface of Mammoth, and test just how far they’ll go to set things right.

Mammoth is one of those stories that I didn’t even know I wanted until I read it—it’s also unlike any other novel I’ve ever read. The vibes of Mammoth remind of Indiana Jones, The Outsiders, all the Enid Blyton adventure books I read as a child, and Mystery Lights of Navajo Mesa (a Last Chance Detectives story). But Mammoth is also its own, unique story. Although there isn’t even a hint of magic in the story, the phrase that keeps popping into my mind when I think of Mammoth is ‘urban fantasy.’ There is a heightened sense of reality about this novel, one that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. Storms rage, the sea churns, and adventure awaits.

At the heart of Mammoth is its cast of characters. Tommy, grappling with the sudden death of his father. Maya, growing up well-to-do, but at odds with her life and her mom. Jude, doing everything he can to protect his little brother and break the generational cycle of violence and hatred. Mars, a sometimes unwilling—yet always loyal—participant in his friends’ adventures. And Lydia, whose heart breaks for the injustices committed by her brother Reid. These characters grabbed me and I was surprised to find myself tearing up over some of them—mainly Tommy and Jude. (Surprised, because I didn’t expect an adventure/treasure hunt novel to evoke such emotion. XD)

There were a couple things I didn’t love about Mammoth: the villains’ motivations and plans didn’t always make total sense to me (and neither did the events that happened a hundred years in the past, specifically why a certain horrific slaughter took place). Part of my confusion was probably because I read Mammoth so quickly, but I do think certain things could have been explained with more clarity. And then, I had a certain expectation for the last few chapters of the book that didn’t come true. (Basically, there was an antagonistic character that I expected/hoped would turn out to be an ally after all—and it didn’t happen.) That’s a purely personal thing, of course, and most of you guys probably won’t even think of that character the way I did. 😉

Mammoth sucks you into a world of treasure hunts, class divides, salt seas, brave characters, and secrets—so many secrets. Highly recommended to those looking for a gripping, high-stakes adventure novel.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.


4 thoughts on “book review: MAMMOTH by Brian McBride.

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    1. Hmmm. It’s well-written and VERY atmospheric–I think the genre and writing style would be Your Thing. Worth checking out, imo!

      Liked by 1 person

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