Arachnosaur by Richard Jeffries (2017)

Review by CJ

Page count:

Kindle ARC

9781516105007 / B06XZLKG8K 


When Corporal Joe Key’s Marine battalion is all but wiped out in Yemen, he is enlisted by an elite unit to go back and find out what happened. What he discovers is only the tip of an iceberg that spans millennia.

Prefacing this review by saying that I saw the giant spiders and gaudy green title on the cover of Arachnosaur and knew I had to read this book. I love b-grade natural horror films so I was hoping for was the literary equivalent of Arachnoquake or Dinoshark. Something fun and silly involving giant man-eating beasties.

Instead, I found a military thriller that did feature giant, prehistoric spiders but nowhere near as prolifically as one would hope and with the real villains being the humans who were weaponising the spiders. The story itself was quite convoluted and felt like it went on for far too long.

The main protagonists in Arachnosaur were utterly unlikeable. The two male leads’ personalities bounce around inconsistently without clear reason. None of the heroes give you any reason to be on their side. And I couldn’t bring myself to be on Team Arachnid, so I just didn’t care one way or another.

The main hero’s sidekick has no redeeming qualities and to say he is a pig towards women would be a huge understatement. In one scene, a woman is holding onto his back as they flee an attack and he throws her by her hair and arm towards an attacker. This is after having sex with her, drugging her and considering writing “B+” on her back in lipstick while she is unconscious.

I’m all for some good, macho action stories filled with testosterone, explosions and one-liners, but Arachnosaur takes macho a bit too close to misogyny for comfort. Flawed characters can be awesome characters but the heroes in Arachnosaur are irredeemable and the villains are forgettable.

Overall, I didn’t find Arachnosaur to be an enjoyable read and will likely not continue with the next book in the series.



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