A great, dark-supernatural read.
One man down after they lost a sniper on a certain mission in Abbottabad, Pakistan, NAVY SEAL Cadet Jack Walker is chosen to join the US’s only supernatural unconventional-warfare special-mission unit - SEAL Team 666.
Battling demons, possessed humans and mass murdering cults and evil in its most dark an ancient form, SEAL Team 666 has their work cut out for them. And when they discover that the threat isn’t just directed against the US, Walker finds himself at the centre of a supernatural conflict with the entire world at stake.
It is not often that you come a book description like SEAL Team 666, although I do think that there are more and more authors trying to break into a new road with using the army in fantasy books. SEAL Team 666 is no stranger in that. Weston Ochse is a Bram Stoker Award winner for best first book - not SEAL Team 666 but for Scarecrow Gods in 2005. But with this background in writing horror, combined with the short glimpse of the synopsis of the book, demons and the likes, my hopes were up for a dark, dark ride.
The book start of with seeing SEAL Team 666 in action, but here is just my first remark. It did feel that the prologue felt out of place with the whole book. Yes it was crucial to the whole story but the way it was written just felt out of place. There was a heavy emphasis in describing as many of the weapons and gear that the SEAL’s were carrying but it was just a bit too much. Another part that felt out of place was the addressing of each team member, they were simply referred to as SEAL, not a name, either codename or the last name, and it felt a bit confusing to get your head around which “SEAL” referred to which team member exactly. Luckily this was only shown in the prologue and after it the story took a serious dive into another direction, producing a great and thrilling read.
In the prologue you are already introduced with the supernatural aspect hidden in this book, demons. This first encounter was written in a way that you actually had know clue of what to expect when you were reading. Yes you know that demons can be present but when you look at the gear that each team member is carrying it is mostly standard army gear, so no high-tech gadgets. So I was curious on how this team excelled in battling the supernatural. It is just by pure perseverance, being the best of the best, a lot of bullets and a bottle of holy water. Actually by this sort of normal take on placing demons in a world that we currently live in and having an elite squad of army men, just 5 men and a canine, battling them gives it just an edge of realism to it.
So from the prologue there was already a direct setting to the book, dark and grim and now SEAL Team 666 is one man down. It is up to Jack Walker to fill in the last spot. Jack is however still in his training days in becoming a SEAL. You would have expected that he would be the best of his year... but this is not exactly the case. He is good, one of the better of his year but not the best. This fact is actually stressed a few times. But then this does start to put you to thinking of what the value of his character might be and luckily there is nice dark supernatural twist to why he was chosen to become the new addition to team 666. He does have army background, but is the FNG (=”Fucking New Guy”, army slang) on the SEAL Team 666. His introduction into the team does not go without a few bumps with the leader. When first describing the team and each character they truly feel like comrades and family and Walker has to grow into this. As the story progresses he makes one big mistake, but later he grows more and more into his role and becomes crucial to the the team and fully proves his worth. I only would have liked to see more of a hesitated response towards the demon aspect from the new guys of the team, but later the reason for Walker was becoming clear but for Yaya I had a different response in mind.
Of the other team members they were like what you would expect from their roles. The leader of the squad, Holmes, felt like a father person but did feel more like a background role. Two of the others: Ruiz and Laws both had unique characteristics to there personalities that were funny to read about. And this brings me to another part. Weston Ochse adds next to a dark setting also a light hearted humorous side tone to it, this is noticeable when the team in conversing with each other. Especially Ruiz has quite some funny things. But also when gearing up where each member has a own personal mask but that of the FNG is bright pink… It was very nicely integrated into the story, that it did keep the seriousness of the demon threat endangering the world but also making the storyline more enjoyable.
Now I have mentioned the supernatural threat a few times and demons. Well they feature aplenty in the book from homunculi to chimera’s. However in the whole of the book there is one great force that has set everything in motion. The chapter division in the book shows a few scenes set a few months past, where you see him preparing to get everything done. When I read about the first mission of SEAL Team 666, with Walker in the team, I was actually thinking of how everything could be connected to each other. And as the first mission led to a follow-up and led to more understanding of the goal and eventually to the bad guy, and the final clash. It just felt that the bad guy of the story again like the prologue felt a bit impersonal, the chapters that he featured in were short and I would have liked to see a bit more of his plans revealed to more extent. The ending of the book did not stop without a blast though… but I think that’s the US!
All in all, SEAL Team 666 is a great dark-supernatural read. Showing, I think, a great glimpse of realism within in the team itself, a thrilling dark setting of the introduced demons and the threat they pose but also a bit of the camaraderie and humour of a team. I also found out that the movie rights of the book have already been sold to MGM and looking back at the book I do think that this can turn in quite a great action movie. But moreover I hope that this isn’t the last SEAL Team 666 book that Weston Ochse is planning to write. The setting of this book and the direction that this first book went really proves that this can grow into a great series. I just hope that some of the team members will have a longer longevity.
Review by Jasper de Joode
8.2/10 from 1 reviews
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