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Review: The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

Synopsis

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls “an animal rights organization.” Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur-like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous panda and they’re in trouble.

It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society that’s found its way to the alternate world. Others have, too–and their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die. 

Review

I confess that I had never heard the term ‘kaiju’ until I read this book, and now I’m wondering how I’d managed to avoid it for so long when I’m a big fan of monster movies?! Not knowing the word, meant I didn’t really know what exactly to expect of the creatures here, which probably made them all the more horrifying and creepy!

I have to say that the tone of this book was basically the complete opposite of what I imagined from it, and that probably made me enjoy it all the more. The Kaiju Preservation Society is filled with humour, and considering the awful environment it’s set in, it’s lighthearted and a ton of fun. There isn’t a massive amount of drama (although it’s of course not absent completely), until the very end of the novel, and even then it’s not really what you might be expecting.

There was such good energy between all the characters, both on regular, boring Earth and the alternate, insane Earth. Jamie is able to take the worst situations, and make the best of them, which is admirable as he faces a whole bunch of the worst situations here. I loved his regular Earth roommates in particular, and really wished they’d gone on his journey with him, as we definitely needed to see more of them!

Whenever I read a book like this, I tend to think to myself ‘would I go to this place?’ The answer to that question for this one, is an emphatic heck no!! Which either shows I’m not particularly adventurous, or John Scalzi has done an excellent job of creating too scary an environment. The monsters were gross and creepy, even their parasites were scarier than anything you’d encounter in nature.

I initially picked this one up, as it was compared to Jurassic Park, but personally I don’t think that’s the best comparison as the tone and setting of the book is so very different. The Kaiju Preservation Society creates a weird and wonderful Earth, that is unique in so many ways, yet lulls you into a sense that it could genuinely be happening. There is some excellent dialogue between the characters who, along with the book itself, never take themselves too seriously. Definitely one to pick up for any sci-fi fan!

Thanks to Black Crow and the publisher for my advance copy, all thoughts are my own.

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