If you are looking for a blockbuster, but would rather read than watch TV, this is the book for you. The Kaiju Preservation Society is fast-paced, full of action and has DINOSAURS (well, Kaiju, but they’re large and scary and very dino-like). It is a fun read, though one that may not hold up on second thought – go in expecting entertainment, and it’s precisely what it says on the tin.
Many thanks to Black Crow PR and UK Tor for sending me an ARC. All opinions are my own.
RELEASE DATE: 17/03/2022
STAR RATING: 3/5 ✶
SUMMARY: Jamie’s dream was to hit the big time at a New York tech start-up. Jamie’s reality was a humiliating lay-off, then a low-wage job as a takeaway delivery driver. During a pandemic too. Things look beyond grim, until a chance delivery to an old acquaintance. Tom has an urgent vacancy on his team: the pay is great and Jamie has debts – it’s a no-brainer choice. Yet, once again, reality fails to match expectations. Only this time it could be fatal.
It seems Tom’s ‘animal rights organization’ is way more than it appears. The animals aren’t even on Earth – or not our Earth, anyway. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures roam a tropical, human-free world. And although Kaiju are their universe’s largest and most dangerous animal, they need support to survive.
Tom’s ‘Kaiju Preservation Society’ wants to help. However, others want to profit. Unless they’re stopped, the walls between our worlds could fall – and the consequences would be devastating. (from UK Tor)
OPINIONS: I’m a bit torn about how to rate this book, to be honest. Because on one hand, I had a lot of fun reading it, devoured it in a single sitting and it does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. But on the other hand, it doesn’t read like a novel, if that makes sense? It reads more like a pulpy science fiction blockbuster, heading from one dramatic reveal to a cinematic explosion and vice versa. I felt like The Kaiju Preservation Society ultimately was so plot-driven and action focused that characters ended up on the back burner, which made it work less well as a book. However, it has already been optioned by Fox, so a screen adaptation is in the works, and I expect that that medium is better suited for this and it’ll make a brilliant visual story.
Ultimately, I think what you’ll get out of The Kaiju Preservation Society will depend on what you are looking for. If it’s escapism with fantastic creatures that are a mix between dinosaurs and dragons, this may be the right read for you. If you are looking for a complex read with multi-dimensional characters and deep analysis of its themes, then this is probably not the one. Because while this touches on a lot of issues such as Covid-related unemployment, precarity of the job market, preservation, military vs. civilian influences in defense strategy and so on, the book doesn’t finish any of these thoughts, which personally left me feeling rather unsatisfied, especially in hindsight.
However, my main issue with the book was the lack of in-depth characterisation, which is what draws me to books over other types of media. Jamie, the main character does get his fair share of page time, as well as space for reflection, but outside of him, you don’t actually get to know any of the other characters besides their bare personnel facts. This won’t be as much of an issue for every reader, but it is something that bothered me, and worth knowing before you dive in.