I was wandering through Barnes & Noble my first day home from school looking for some good reading. I wanted a novel, something that was decently long and had a gripping plot and was well written. As I was wandering through the fiction section, I noticed they had about twenty copies of The Raw Shark Texts. I knew from my days working at Books A Million that this many copies of the same book means one thing, it’s a high seller. I picked it up and read some of the reviews, most of which said it was a great thriller that grabbed you and didn’t let you go. One called it a mix between The Matrix and Jaws. I was intrigued. I read the first few sentences and discovered that it was indeed well written. This seemed to be the book I was looking for. I started reading it two days later. I finished the book a day after that.

The title The Raw Shark Texts is a deliberate play on the words Rorshach Test. Steven Hall wanted every reader to walk away with a different experience, with a different theory as to what happened in the book. From page one we’re taken into the world of Eric Sanderson, a man who just woke up and can’t remember anything. I don’t want to ruin the many well executed twists and turns the plot takes from there. The plot is wonderful, the writing is superb, the characters are well developed. It’s everything I want in a book.

Every once in awhile a novel comes along with something new to offer to the genre. This is that novel. It incorporates multiple different literary styles into the narrative. It uses letters and symbols to create pictures of the creatures in the story. It defies all boundaries and becomes something of a monster itself. Is it perfect? No. I do have a few qualms with it. There was a 100 plus page section with a flip comic style picture of a shark coming closer to the reader. I wanted 100 more pages of narrative instead. So this 428 page book is actually somewhere in the ballpark of 328 pages. That’s my biggest problem, there were a few other small literary nerdy things I could nitpick at but since most people aren’t literary nerds like me, I’ll spare that part.

It’s been 3 weeks since I finished reading The Raw Shark Texts and it still haunts me, I still think about it every day and formulate my theory a little bit more. I will more than likely end up reading it again before summer is over. So do I recommend The Raw Shark Texts? Heartily so, if for no other reason than I really want to discuss it with someone. So if you do read it, let me know, I’ll buy the coffee if you supply the discussion.

Overall rating: 8.5/10

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