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review 2017-08-16 00:00
Project Nemesis (A Kaiju Thriller)
Project Nemesis (A Kaiju Thriller) - Jeremy Robinson,Matt Frank I avoided picking up Project Nemesis for quite a while because my previous experience with the author (Antarktos Rising) was horrible. However, it was late at night and I was facing a monster-sized anxiety attack over the next day, so I decided to read about an actual monster destroying things. It made perfect sense at that time, and indeed, it actually did manage to calm me down. So… yay for stompy, chompy things in books.

Generally when I start a review like this, talking about how I avoided a book, the next paragraph is me talking about how I absolutely loved the book. I’m aware of that trend in my reviews. I’m breaking it here though. Project Nemesis, whilst considerably better than Antarktos Rising, isn’t precisely noteworthy, though there are a couple of things I liked. Namely, that the female character kicked serious butt, and seeing her come in swinging made me grin with delight. Naturally she was curvy, and beautiful, and yadda-yadda-yadda, but still. Girl could throw a serious punch. She was an excellent sidekick that saved the main character’s hide almost constantly. Yes, she’s a cliché character, but she’s a fun cliché character!

The main character himself is action-hero ridiculous. There is only a bit of a receding hairline to keep him from being completely typical. He’s pretty much completely unbelievable. Only the fact that he has to keep getting saved by the sidekick and treats his friends well keeps him from being eye-roll worthy. Still, it’s forgivable because Project Nemesis is essentially a Godzilla film in book form. You expect certain levels of stupidity that you can only forgive in this type of book.

The second thing worth talking about is the monster herself in Project Nemesis. Kaiju has its own subgenre, so Robinson’s monster is nothing new. (Neither are the circumstances surrounding the monster’s creation.) However, I liked his fusion of human and monster, and how the creature’s mental state played out in the chomping and stomping that happened. The development of the creature’s form (and the form itself) was fantastic.

However, Robinson’s writing has a tendency to feel repetitious. This is most often witnessed when he talks about the ‘human looking eyes’ of the monster. It shows itself in several situations in different ways in Project Nemesis. It’s not so bad as to be word for word (for the most part), but sections do lose their impact for it. Also, the viewpoints. Let me just rant on the viewpoints for a second. Switching between first person present tense and third person is just awkward. I don’t like first person present tense anyways, but sandwiching it with third person just makes the continual re-introduction feel like a slap in the face. Do one, not both. Ugh.

Overall, Project Nemesis was an entertaining read that got my attention almost immediately, and kept it for the entire book. It just lacked a sufficient amount of cheesy one-liners and sparkle to put into the “So bad it’s good” category of epicness. A fun read, but an easy one to forget about. I doubt I’ll continue with the series.
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review 2017-07-26 00:00
Kaiju: Deadfall
Kaiju: Deadfall - J.E. Gurley Kaiju: Deadfall - J.E. Gurley So, one of my friends informed me recently that I've been on a Kaiju bender lately.

This is true.

Kaiju: Deadfall is the 3rd Kaiju book I've read. The first was Pacific Rising by J. Dennehy, the second was Kaiju Winter by Jake Bible. Both of those books, though dealing with people getting squisheded by gigantic monsters, were very different reads. And that trend continued here into Kaiju: Deadfall.

I really liked the unique take of Kaiju: Deadfall. Not necessarily the creatures from outer space portion (though that was fun), but the experience of the one team from inside one of the Kaiju. It was something that never would have occurred to me, and therefore doubled my reading enjoyment.

The Kaiju themselves were different in appearance from what I'm used to. (I have seen my fair share of Godzilla movies!) This only helped Kaiju: Deadfall. Though I will say if you have tryptophobia, there are some scenes that will make the hair on your head tingle.

(Tryptophobia means pictures like the one below will bother you in ways you can't quite explain.)
Trypto Gif
(You may think I'm cruel for posting that picture, but for clarification, I have tryptophobia and that picture bugs the Hades out of me, so I thought I'd share the love.)

Kaiju: Deadfall is very competently written. It's a bit slow in portions, but the author makes up for it in sheer imagination once the people are inside the Kaiju. The dialogue is believable. The action is enough stabbing, nomming, and crushing to make anyone happy.

Definitely a book to check out if you like Kaiju books and movies.
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review 2017-07-20 00:00
Kaiju Winter
Kaiju Winter - Jake Bible Kaiju Winter - Jake Bible Over the top ridiculousness. Why hasn't this been made into a low-budget bad-good Syfy flick yet?

Review to come.
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review 2017-07-06 12:55
The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie
The Edge of the Abyss - Emily Skrutskie

This review will include spoilers for the first book. You’ve been warned.

At the end of The Abyss Surrounds Us, Cas decided to stay with the Minnow and her crew. I wish I had written down her reason for doing so, since one of my problems with The Edge of the Abyss was that I couldn’t remember why she’d have wanted to stay when staying seemed to cause her nothing but grief.

At any rate, she stayed - I think because she wanted to get more evidence on the guy who was trading Reckoner pups to the pirates, and because she loved Swift so much? Except the latter reason turned out to be less than wonderful, because right after deciding to stay with the Minnow, Cas learned that Swift had personally been responsible for Durga’s death.

So that’s Cas’s emotional state for much of The Edge of the Abyss: upset at Swift for what she did, upset at herself for essentially turning traitor and staying with pirates, and perversely drawn to Santa Elena and whatever scraps of praise she was willing to give out. Bao is somewhere out in the ocean, and Cas mistakenly thinks he’s the only free Reckoner. He very much is not - the crew of the Minnow discover others, which they nickname Hellbeasts. Every last one of them was a Reckoner pup illegally obtained and improperly raised by pirates, and they’re complete destroying the ocean ecosystem. If life in the ocean is to be saved, the pirates, all of them, will somehow have to band together, admit their mistakes, and defeat the Hellbeasts.

Considering that I disliked the first book, I should not have continued on with the series. However, I did, because I wanted to find out what happened to Bao. He was literally the only character I cared about - all the humans could have gotten eaten, for all I cared.

Unfortunately, it took half the book for Bao to show up. Until that point, I had to deal with Cas and Swift’s relationship angst. First Cas would be angry at Swift for being directly responsible for Durga’s death. Then Swift would be upset with Cas for effortlessly becoming Santa Elena’s favorite. Occasionally things would be okay between them for a short while, but it was never long before everything got fouled up again. All it took was one wrong look, or someone waking up on the wrong side of the bed, or Santa Elena smiling at the wrong trainee. I think Cas and Swift only had maybe 10 pages total in this whole book where they weren’t hurting each other in some way.

That’s really not what I want from a romance, and it didn’t help that Cas’s situation seemed more and more like Stockholm syndrome to me. Santa Elena had been manipulating Cas’s emotions from day one, and I hadn’t forgotten that Cas and Swift’s relationship had gone from dislike and wisps of something nicer to full-blown “I’m throwing away my entire former life for you” in the space of a day. I spent so much of this book wishing that Cas and Swift would just break up already. Cas had enough on her plate just trying to figure out what to do about the Hellbeasts and processing her dawning realization that she’d made a terrible mistake by staying on the Minnow.

Even though this book had more Reckoners and Reckoner battles, it was somehow more boring that the first one. I missed Bao, and Skrutskie’s decision to write this series in first person present tense sucked the life out scenes that should have been exciting or painfully intense. Unfortunately, things didn’t improve much once Bao was finally found again - watching Cas remind him of his training wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as watching her train him in the first place. Also, one revelation about him really bugged me. If there was anyone I’d have liked to be exempt from this book’s great gobs of relationship awfulness, it was Bao. At least Cas treated him better in this book than she did in the first one.

I wish I had liked Skrutskie’s writing more, and I wish I had been more invested in Cas and Swift’s relationship. Since I didn’t and I wasn’t, The Edge of the Abyss was a drag to get through and an absolute relief to finally finish. However, I’d absolutely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first book and wanted Cas and Swift to work out as a couple. Cas and Swift had some really good scenes near the end, ones where they actually worked together. For me, it was too little, too late. I did at least appreciate that none of the characters I kind of liked died.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-11-02 07:40
Chris Strange's Mayday Is the Perfect Halloween Read. Because Kaijus.
Mayday: A Kaiju Thriller - Chris Strange

 

Chris Strange’s Mayday Is the Perfect Halloween Read. Because Kaijus.

 

 

My Thoughts:

 

As I Began the Book:

 

Whoa, that is an awesome name for Kaijus!

 

The author named them Maydays and the book started with the last transmission from a cargo ship before it went down due to a Mayday attack. Then we find ourselves standing at the crime scene of one of the Maydays, Yllia. The protagonist is a PI who is with us at the scene, trying to see if there is a case for him. It is pouring, there is mud and the dead Kaiju lies in the middle of it all. I knew I was going to love this book and I was right because the next thing we find out is it is next to impossible to kill a Mayday but this one just keeled over. Then, our protag discovers that Yllia didn’t just die but that she was murdered.

 

Fairly into the Story:

 

Maybe he’d change by the end of the book…

 

I found out that I hated the PI. There were all sorts of things that were off-putting when it came to this guy. He cracked sexist jokes, he sucked at his job most of the time, and he decided to make the king of Kaijus, Tempest, kneel before interrogating him. The funny part is that I didn’t care! I was enjoying the story too much to give a damn.

I loved that the Kaijus all looked different even though they were part of the same race. From what I gathered, Yllia, was a winged insectoid Mayday, described in the following words:

“Yllia’s official data sheet said this Mayday was 72 metres high, or 136 metres from head to tail, with a 158 metre wingspan… White fur coated her from her bulbous head to the tips of her forked tail. Her four arms — each ending in three delicate scythed claws — were folded beneath her, sinking into the mud. Even lying down she towered over me like a tsunami about to break. One thin, butterfly-like wing lay open across her body; the other was folded up, out of sight.”

 

Grotesque, on the other hand, was crocodilian:

 

I’d heard Grotesque described as a gigantic crocodile before. I’d never really seen it — his snout was too flat, his tail too long and snake-like, arms and legs more like a tiger’s than a reptile’s. But seeing him come sprinting across the rubble on all fours, tail flicking back and forth as he moved, the comparison suddenly fit. His jaws sprung open, revealing layer after layer of piercing yellow teeth, made not to cut but to grab and hold on. His leathery skin was a pale greenish-yellow, the colour of sickness. On either side of the jagged spines on his back, large yellow pustules throbbed against his skin.

 

Tempest is arachnid-like:

 

 

Serraton is described as resembling a Chinese Dragon:

 

 

Nasir is said to the most humanoid of all the Kaijus. From the description, I imagine he’d look something like this:

 

 

What is scarier than a scary monster? A monster who is sadistic and cunning. Tempest lived up to his name and made my insides go all gooey with his smarts. He planned to reclaim his title and rule the world with his army of Kaijus. He was almost human in the way he displayed his hatred and furthered his ambition.

 

 

Right There To the End:

 

Tempest is Bae!

 

The fight scenes between the Kaijus were written in amazing detail. The author grabs you with his words and makes you stand with the shitty PI as you read them. I was having the kinda fun that I had while watching Pacific Rim and the action just would not let up.

 

Like all good monster stories, this one ended with the Kaijus in stasis and not dead or defeated. It made the book all the more enjoyable. Like most monster stories, the people in it fail to realize the implications of enslaving gigantic murderous creatures and making them fight for sport.

 

If you pick up this book, don’t read it for the story or the plot or even the dialogues. Read it for the love of Kaijus and monster flicks that thrives in you. Read it to see not one or two but five Kaijus go at it while puny humans run around trying to save the world.

 

The author included a note at the end, asking readers if he should continue with a sequel. I think I would love to read what other sadistic ways Tempest might come up with to torture us!

 

A Little Bit About Making Connections:

 

I received this book for free in exchange for this review through Making Connections (MC). MC is all kinds of awesome because it highlights indie authors and offers their work up for review. They also do blog tours where different bloggers sign up to promote a certain book.

 

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