Reading the introduction by Lou Yardley, it’s clear that Rise of the Carnivores is to be read and enjoyed as a bit of silly, tongue in cheek fantasy horror. She herself compares it to a b-movie, a monster movie and that is a very apt description.
All the b-movie hallmarks are here. A slightly absurd story, a main cast with about as much depth as a rain puddle, characters introduced purely so they can be killed in violent ways and lashings of gore. This is a story that you could easily see being a low-budget movie or a straight to TV SyFy film, bad effects and all.
If all of that sounds like a lot of fun then Rise of the Carnivores is for you. It’s a lot of fun as we experience the chaos of dinosaurs running rampant in modern times.
Before that though, we’re introduced to our main three players. We have Autumn, an aloof wannabe author who doesn’t connect well with people. Then we have Wilfred (also called Wilf or One-Pump) and Liam, two young men who have a secret. A secret Autumn overhears in her local coffee shop in the town of Wallington, England.
The two men are discussing an experiment they have been working on and when she hears the word ‘wormhole’ her interest is peaked. Liam notices her eavesdropping and seeing a chance to get to know her, invites her over to their table.
Wilf is less then pleased, being a man of a more nervous disposition and not used to talking to strangers. He gets extremely frustrated as Liam begins to spill the beans on their experiment to Autumn but when he goes to walk out bumps into a man with a meathead personality.
It’s Autumn who ends up saving him from getting a beating and the three run out together. Sensing a bond and wanting to repay her, Wilf agrees to let her see what they have been working on in his parent’s basement.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…this is all happening very fast and is somewhat unrealistic. While Autumn does have some mental reservations about going into an unknown basement with two men she literally just met it’s not expressed well. Nor is the motivations for the two men to just show her what they have been working on. It seems as though Liam’s is based on attraction but Wilf’s reasoning is a little more suspect. He even questions himself why he is so willing to show her suddenly.
This the most difficult part of the book to get through but try and see it like a b-movie. Sometimes we just need to move the story along even if it doesn’t completely make sense!
Once in the basement, Autumn is amazed to see a lab and not a murderer’s dungeon. However, that is nothing compared TO witnessing a successful result of Wilf and Liam’s work. A working time-machine, one that creates a wormhole into the past. Autumn is amazed, Liam is amazed, Wilf is amazed and so is the Velociraptor that comes through the wormhole.
Yes indeed, the wormhole opened up a gateway to the the past and let a dinosaur through. The trio manage to fight it off and it escapes into our world. However things are about to get a lot worse.
Something has gone really wrong with the experiment and now wormholes are popping up everywhere. Once upon a time dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Now, it’s looking like they’re going to get the chance again.
There’s a certain amount of gleefulness to Rise of the Carnivores violent and gory ways. Lou Yardley seems to enjoy sending every different type of carnivore through a wormhole to chew and slash their way through unsuspecting people. The imagery of a T-Rex pounding down an English street knocking over cars and eating the inhabitants is entertaining. Silly, but entertaining.
We move from one dire situation to another. As Liam and Wilf often remark, they just don’t have much luck. It’s exciting and fun waiting to see just what’s going to come from the next wormhole. With a lengthy water segment at the end really standing out.
What also stands out are the main players of the story but not for the right reasons. Autumn, Wilf and Liam aren’t the best written characters unfortunately. They’re pretty faceless, with no reason to invest in them as we know so little about them prior to the wormholes. What development they do get as the incidents really take hold doesn’t really make them that endearing either. Liam in particular is wholly unlikable with an angry/violent edge that comes out on occasion and the way in which he treats his supposed best friend, Wilf is horrid at times.
It’s him that comes up with the nickname ‘One-Pump’ during an angry outburst. That the likes of Autumn end up using the insult too hardly makes her look great either. Then there is Wilf himself who is such a wet blanket that you kind of just want to slap him around the head!
There’s just not great characters unfortunately and they really needed to be considering the logic stretching and silliness of the plot.
However, it’s still a good read because Lou Yardley gets a lot right in regards to gory details, locations and how the story is paced. This is The Lost World on steroids and that’s always going to be fun.
The book can be picked up over on Amazon.
Rise of the Carnivores (Lou Yardley)
- The Final Score - 6/106/10