Sharcano. Like Sharknado, but with more lava...

Poking around on Amazon about a month ago, I noticed a pretty hilarious-sounding title: Sharcano.  I did not personally watch the glorious film epic of our time, the Syfy Original, the one and only Sharknado, but I am a sucker for a good (read: bad) pun and I was in the mood for some giggle-inducing ridiculousness.

So, I requested this on Netgalley.

And they gave it to me!  Little did I know when I settled in for some cheesetastic shark mayhem that I would be taking so many notes.  This may be a review of epic proportions.


Sharcano delivers what it sounds like it should deliver.  Sharks + volcanoes.  It's also extremely silly, and what's rather nice about that is that it's unabashedly extremely silly.  The author, Jose Prendero, specifically set out to write a goofy, no-holds-barred book that's like a b-movie, only written down.  He may have succeeded only too well.

As I began Sharcano, I tweeted some of my favorite (read: ridiculous) quotes.  They soon became too many to document, and people were probably thinking I was off my rocker in the Twitterverse.  I soon just started keeping notes in the ebook version that I was reading.  So, to help structure my review, I'll share all of my favorites with you.  You're welcome.

Sharcano begins innocently enough: a long-thought-extinct Megalodon (thanks, Steve Alten, for turning the Megalodon into the whipping boy of wildly improbable thrillers) hunts a giant squid.  They tussle for a while, until WHOOM!  LAVA!  Calamari and roasted shark, coming right up!  A boy discovers the barbecued Meg washed up on the beach, and that's the beginning of the mayhem. 

 I mean, it sounds pretty par for the course for this type of thriller, but it's the language in the beginning that really sets the tone for the book.  First sentence: "It sensed it before seeing it."  Okay, what is "it?"  Reading on, "Now it knew it wasn't alone and it began to salivate as it threw all of its senses out into the watery world around."  I am having pronoun pain.  Then we switch pronouns: "And why would it be afraid?  He was the fiercest predator in the ocean."  PICK A PRONOUN.  So, we finally figure out that the narrator is talking about the Megalodon.  As the shark hunts, "its tingly parts tingled."  I assume we are talking about the shark's Amupllae of Lorenzini, which allow sharks to track electrical impulses like heartbeats and so on.  But let's simplify and call them "tingly parts."

During the fight between giants, the narrator offers us this tidbit of squidly wisdom, "A blind shark was a dead shark.  Every good giant squid worth his salt knew that to be God's honest truth."  Actually, I think a shark that stops swimming is a dead shark, but whatever.  That's not "God's honest truth" according to cephalopods.  

Meanwhile, two strange dudes, Buck and Trigg, described as "outdoorsmen," hunt Bigfoot in Yellowstone National Park.  This chapter is aptly named "Squatchin'," but there's no one named Bobo to make squatch calls.  Dang.  Buck and Trigg are pretty much indistinguishable from each other as characters, and they kind of talk like stereotypical, um, well, rednecks (sorry!).  Their hopes of bagging a Sasquatch are shattered when they finally meet one, and then the ground opens up and the Sasquatch falls into a pool of lava (filled, naturally, with LAVA SHARKS).

Meanmeanwhile, Mick Cathcart, hotshot TV reporter, jerk, and the erstwhile hero of this story, finds out about the beached Meg kabob and prepares to fly down to investigate.  His sidekick for this mission is an Australian cameraman named Rick Perry.
No, not THAT Rick Perry.  Although that's how I totally pictured the character in the book.
Hey, while we're casting this thing, here's Mick Dundee Cathcart:
"That's a knife!"
Only minus the charm, Aussie accent, and lack of knowledge about bidets.

ANYWAY.  Called away from his daughter's soccer game and his fascinating pursuit of the hot soccer moms, Mick must travel to Nicaragua and meet up with Agnes Branch, the scientist in charge of examining the Filet O' Meg.  Naturally, Agnes is extremely hot and she and Mick fall for each other after she hates him for a while.  They realize that the shark incident is not isolated, but rather tied to strange lava-related incidents around the globe, like ...

Off the coast of Shanghai, a ginormous volcano rises out of the ocean, causing tidal waves galore and releasing the LAVA SHARKS. 
 Not only does Bao, a young boy who fortunately decided to skip school that day, have to negotiate crushing tidal waves, but also toothy predators made of molten rock.  Because, you know, science.  Bao is actually a likeable little dude.  Unfortunately, the author has given him a female first name, which you may also recognize as the word for "dumpling."  Bao risks his life to rescue his grandma from a nursing home, and performs various feats of derring-do in order to save her life, which (spoiler!) ends up being a total waste of time and energy because LAVA SHARKS.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

There are actually way more characters than this involved in the story.  There's Mick's ex-wife, her lover Caroline, his daughter Annie, a mad priest, a slightly-less mad priest, a heartless villain, Mick's producer, two random soldiers somewhere in South America (I literally have no idea where they came from), the President of the United States, and an aw-shucks-type cop from the Bronx.  Those are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head.

After twin volcanoes in Nicaragua erupt while Mick, Agnes, and Rick are investigating, they somehow get on a boat and go to Hawaii (???) where Agnes' boss, Mr. Hu, has an underwater lab.  They realize that the lava is sentient and that it is actually from Hell (like, the Catholic version of Hell, not a metaphorical hell).  In order to stop the "end of times" (did you just roll your eyes?  I did!), they launch a two-fold attack:

Step one: drop a small-ish nuclear bomb into the volcanoes that spew out the LAVA SHARKS.

Step two: spray everything with holy water.  Since the lava is from Hell, holy water repels it.
I am not making this up.

RIGHT.  So that's basically the story, with about five thousand subplots going on, most of which end in the character being eaten by a LAVA SHARK.  Now, as a very special treat, I am going to share my favorite quotes and notes with you.  They are actually even funnier in context.  I am leaving all the punctuation and capitalization as is since that can often really make the quote.

"Yes, it was a piggish thought but Mick was a pig as all men instinctually are."  At least he's honest?

"Hugo Boss was Mick's go-to suit of amour manufacturer."  I think it's supposed to say "armor" manufacturer, but it's much funnier this way.  No offense, Hugo Boss.

"'Well, it's about time, Mister Cathcart,' Gavin greeted, barking like a constipated poodle."  What distinguishes a constipated poodle from a regular poodle?  What is the sound of one hand clapping?

"Agnes Brach was an athletic slice of woman heaven."  I have no words.  Well, maybe "objectification" and "sexist pig" would be good words.

"She rocked a Farrah Fawcet style that never lost its flavor."  What does that even mean?  Not to mention the misspelling of "Fawcett."  Since when were feathered flip bangs considered hot?  Um, 1984?

"'Because when I pictured Agnes Brach in my head I saw a dumpy, four-eyed, hairy chinned troglodyte," explained Mick, walking closer to her with that hip-shimmy that brings a gal's attention a man's package."  Care to demonstrate that shimmy, anyone?  Also, worst pickup line ever???

"Shanghai is a bit far from Nicaragua."  Good job, Sherlock!

"Bigfoot fell and was swallowed up, disappearing with a hoarse shriek of fright like a drowning horse."  Homophones do not equal synonyms.

"The homeless man was what some people call a 'pickpocket.'"  As opposed to ... what, exactly?  Do only some people call pickpockets pickpockets?

"I love this place," Father Franco stated.  Sipping his espresso like a true gourmand."  Can you describe the technique, please?  Also: subordinate clauses.  Look into those.

(This next line occurs in an Ethiopian village where two priests go to perform an exorcism):
"'Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly.'  An eerie voice invited--in Russian-inflected English, no less." (I would here like to point out that nothing is ever explained regarding what happens in this scene, nor why the person would have a Russian accent.)

"The city was swamped in ten feet of whipped, sun-red lava."  I didn't know lava could be whipped, like cream.

"A lava shark pounced up into the air and took a big, burning bite of Max's left thigh.  Max cried out as his nerve endings burned.  The thing ripped away a sizeable chunk of of leg meat.  Max dropped to his knees, unable to drag the surviving half of himself due to the intense pain and the buckets of blood pouring out onto the street."  A lot of things don't make sense here.  Generally, when LAVA SHARKS attack, their bites cauterize the wounds.  Here, that doesn't happen. Even though Max is only bitten in the thigh, that somehow equates to the non-surviving half of his body.  And even if the femoral artery were opened, I don't think "buckets of blood" would be an accurate description of blood loss.

"He had theorized to no one in particular that most viruses sprang from the Earth itself like a defense mechanism.  The fact that this so-called Hellfire Virus came as a direct result of the lava made perfect sense."  No, it doesn't.  Since when did the ground create new viruses?  *pulls out hair*

"The cavernous space was filled with 203 priests and cardinals and bishops and whatnot."  Last time I checked, members of the clergy are not usually referred to as "whatnot."

"It was a beacon of hope.  'Airport, dead head.'"

"Live, Nude Specimens"  Chapter title.  Refers to LAVA SHARKS.

"What if the Megalodon we found, and other sharks, were the first things this sentient lava encountered and decided to copy them?"  Sentient.  Lava.

"Then their eyes met and a moment was shared that electrified the air.  If the lights had been turned down you could have seen sparks flying between them."  So that's how that sparks flying thing works!

"The doorway was filled with a massive chunk of woman.  This mammoth maiden was none other than Buck's sweet-cheeks wife, Shana.  Her hair was frizzy and curled, and the floral mumu was stained here and there with ancient ice cream."  Remember, ladies, if you aren't "woman heaven," you are a "mammoth maiden."

"But George [Clooney] had decided to go off and make a sci-fi movie about homosexual robots."  How is this relevant to anything and how can robots be homosexual?

"The lava beast exploded through the reinforced tank in a splash of slimy magma and bit into Poindexter's junk with its burning teeth."  Wow.  That LAVA SHARK attacks with uncanny precision.

"Agnes knew, of course, and ripped her khaki trousers away like a professional pants remover."  So male strippers can euphemistically be called "professional pants removers?"

"Every semi-villanous person needs a private island to go along with his or her private jet."  A ha ha, author, you are so winky winky funny!

"The smell had changed from recycled airplane and disinfectant to the sweet and honeyed scent of love's first blossom."  Wow.  Romance.  Leading to ...

"A moment longer was lingered and then they rushed into each other with a bracing smashing of lips and tongues.  They kissed as if they had been hungry for it for days and were finally able to feast.  Mick's insides radiated heat as they came together and enjoyed the velvet touch of their mouths."  I am projectile vomiting over here.  Help.

"The soldier dropped to the floor, shaking like a giant vibrating dildo as his side bled out."  That's the best simile you could come up with?  Ew!

Those were some of my favorite quotes.  Oddly, many of the chapters seemed perfectly normal and I didn't find anything wrong in them at all, except for the lingering presence of LAVA SHARKS.  This book was pretty hilarious, but maybe for all the wrong reasons.  Still, I read all 400+ pages of it, which is saying something.

Guess what?  It's a trilogy!  So if you need even more hellish LAVA SHARKS, I'm sure installments two and three will deliver!

Please feast your eyes on the cover of the book and note the LAVA SHARKS flying from the volcano.  It is epic.

A copy of this title was graciously provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.



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