A Review of: Kaiju Preservation Society, by John Scalzi

Kaiju Preservation Society was a super fun read. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a book this much. It wasn’t without some downfalls, but overall: so good.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Firstly – it’s clearly written for a movie. The plot feels like it follows a very predicable path from beginning to end, and ties it up with a bow, but like any action movie. Which is not totally bad, but it was a distraction, feeling like you already just know what will happen next.

**spoilers ahead**

My biggest gripe is along with our main character Jamie, we have three scientists. Doctorate level. Every one of them seems “young” ( not doctors) and they’re all extremely snarky sarcastic assholes with each other. Every line of dialog – and there’s a lot – are just  written for audience  entertainment. I can’t suspend belief that these types of people wouldn’t be ‘different’ and have much deeper, serious personalities.

Ok so having said that. The book, obviously is about preserving Kauji. More or less. You know, the mythical Godzilla  creatures, that have nuclear reactors inside them…. So how is that possible?

Thru an interdimensional portal to a close-by multiverse reality, of course!

But, it’s don’t very well, and might I even say… believable in the facts, and details of how the Kaiju exist, how our characters get to interacting with them, how we cross to this other reality… and fills in details of where our Godzilla stories came from.   

So we have a preservation society that studies the Kaiju, their home planet, and everything/anything related to this that they possibly can, all while being I the extremely hostile Kaiju earth reality.

Mix in some sleazy bad actors who want to exploit the Kaiju for their own gain, create an impending catastrophe to stop, save a Kaiju, and boom, you have your next hit movie.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. The level of detail that has gone into the ‘science’ of everything they delve into is enough to seem plausible, and complex enough to be science-y. The plot is  expected, but still complex, full of twists and turns, and a few unexpected events, and will keep you captivated.

I mean, what could be more fun than going to a place where Kaiju are in fact real. And massive, and just like you learned in comics? Without feeling like a ‘Jurassic Park’ type movie. (I know, they’re dinosaurs, and these are Kaiju… but it’s the same kind of implausibility in a movie.) Definitely a fun and worthwhile read. I will look forward to the movie. Because it surely Will be a movie.

Thoughts:

• Story pacing?

Non stop action. But not so complicated as to be hard to follow. 9/10

• Story character arcs?

I feel like the only character who’s arc is developed and explored is Jamie, our main character. Every other character in that sense, is just a back up singer. They are there, and their parts matter, but they lack any arc like story line. 5/10

• Story arc?

Predicable (as noted) but a definite arc, as well as a nice clean clearly defined beginning, middle end. 9/10

• Story writing quality?

Not a fan of some of the choices the author made, such as all the massive amounts of snarky dialog; Making doctorate scientists sound like frat club teenage boys. (Additionally Jamie’s two gay roommates, also 110% snark.) But enjoyed the level of attention given to the science behind what they do, where they are, etc – it’s enough to feel plausible, just not handed to you on a plate to accept. 6/10 for the mixed bag.

• Story wokeness? ( tolerable / gag me)

So many head nods to our current world reality. And while I guess admirable for adding  reality to it, such as covid-19, recession, Trump, etc…. it really could have done without most of this. We read to escape, not to relive the real-life horrors.  We have a matter of the fact one non-binary person, and one gay couple. And people from around the globe – which is suitable for an organization that is  joint effort  on studying the Kaiju. 5/10

• Grates against my annoyances?

At least the author didn’t once use ‘beat.’ 10/10

• Grates against my annoyances? (fictional words).

Our three main character scientists (and probably others) were clearly from other parts of the world. Appearances never described, but completely unpronounceable names. I would suggest that while multiculturalism isn’t bad, please use names the majority of us can at least understand when said, or read when written. 3/10

• Story romance level?

Romance between two Kaiju, and tricked into it with human made pheromones, at that. This I can live with. 10/10

• Story readability?

Dialog was annoying due to the snarkyness…. But otherwise artfully written, and well thought out, easy enough to follow this complex story. 8/10

• Story Completeness (did it end on a cliff hanger, or a see my next book!)?

It’s a fully story wrapped up with a nice little bow. They tie up all the plot strings, even a non essential one like bringing back a character from the non essential beginning of the book – Quinesha, who Jamie had worked with in the first chapter of the book, at GrubHub type place, before getting fired and going on to the actual book, working with the KPS, at the end, she is now working as a food delivery personal (little full circle action there) and apologizes for being tangled up with how he got fired, even though it really was not her fault. While really not needed, it was a nice little footnote. 10/10

• Did the story cover familiar ground, or go new places?

Multiverse/ different universe is not a new idea. And obviously Kaiju are not new. But it wasn’t a story I felt that I had read or seen anywhere before – so ‘new’ directions. 9/10

• Was there anything I wanted to know that was left unanswered?

Actually, yes. If Bella birthed thousands of eggs, even though many will fall victim to predators, how could that be sustainable? (and assuming other Kaiju are equally prolific.)  Massive skyscraper sized creatures. One earth is not feasibly going to be able to support very many. Sure, they do tell us that even if they survive, most don’t grow to full reactor carrying Kaiju size… but they’re still there. (also we never see or learn anything much about the so called non reactor carrying not full sized Kaiju. Other than that it happens. Just Kaiju parasites, and un-described predators.) so yeah… I want more data on that. 6/10

• Things I really liked / or didn’t like?

Really enjoyed the story, didn’t enjoy the formulaic script feel of it. The details into the Kaiju world were fascinating. We want more!! 8/10

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