03 May 2019

Review || Terminal by Michaelbrent Collings


All passengers, please prepare for departure…
An employee, a cop, and five prisoners; a prisoner, a stowaway, and a madman.
These are the people waiting at the Lawton bus terminal. Mostly late-night travelers who want nothing more than to get to their destinations, and employees who want nothing more than to get through the graveyard shift.
But when a strange, otherworldly fog rolls in, the night changes to nightmare. Because something hides in the fog. Something powerful. Something strange. Something... inhuman.
Soon, those in the terminal have been cut off from the rest of the world. No phones, no computers. Just ten strangers in the terminal... and The Other.
The Other is the force in the mist. The Other is the thing that has captured them. And The Other wants to play a game.

The rules are simple:
1) The people in the terminal must choose a single person from among them. That person will live. The rest will die.
2) Anyone who attempts to leave the terminal before the final vote will die.
3) The final vote... must be unanimous.
A nightmare. And getting worse, because the best way to make a vote unanimous... is to kill the other voters.
Welcome to the end of the line. Welcome to the Terminal.




 




What is the Other? Human, animal, vegetable? Part of me hoped for a creature feature, while the other highly suspected aliens, or maybe a dimensional shift where extraterrestrial creatures descend en masse on the bus station. With thoughts of the Mist running through my head, what I experienced instead was a horrifying cacophony of the brutality that humans are capable of, which is in my opinion always one of the most disturbing horror themes out there. Combined with the mystery of the Other and an action-packed plot, Terminal left its imprint on me. 

The way the characters are presented is what makes for such a brilliant read. Terminal is an intense observation into the ebb and flow of power and the resulting perceived worth of others and self. All of these characters have concealed truths about themselves that they are keeping from the strangers around them, those they are closest to, and a few even from themselves.  It's a race to find out whose truth will be revealed first and how it changes the perceived worth of that character and in turn, the dynamic of the group. Who deserves to survive? While I certainly had my fan favorites on who should take a spin on the wheel of death, it was an estimation that waivered the more I read. 



Thriller, mystery, horror, suspense...Terminal took a number of genres and effortlessly molded them together. A slew of characters stuck inside a bus terminal unable to leave? The end result should have been monotonous and dull. Instead, Michaelbrent Collings delivered an edge-of-your-seat, rollercoaster thrill ride, complete with gut-wrenching twists and turns  a ride that was over way too quickly and left me wanting to go around one more time. 

Michaelbrent Collings

Michaelbrent Collings is an internationally-bestselling novelist, multiple Bram Stoker Award nominee, produced screenwriter, and one of the top indie horror writers in the United States.

He hopes someday to develop superpowers, or, if that is out of the question, then at least to get a cool robot arm.

Michaelbrent has a wife and several kids, all of whom are much better looking than he is (though he admits that's a low bar to set), and also cooler than he is.