I am a lifelong fan of giant monster movies. Large portions of my childhood were consumed by watching Saturday specials and late night marathons featuring Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, and many of the other big name kaiju (giant monsters). Even into my adult life, monster movies are one of my favorite past times. The problem is that I have already seen the majority of the giant monster flicks that I have been able to track down. However, I also love reading a good book so when I heard about Project Nemesis I immediately ordered copy. My original plan was to read this book in my free time over the course of about a week. I ended up reading the entire thing in an afternoon.
First off I have to address the monster star of the novel, Nemesis. Godzilla is the King of the Monsters and Nemesis is definitely intended to be the Queen. Nemesis’ creation follows the classic sci-fi scenario of “lab experiment gone horribly wrong”, after which she quickly grows into a giant monster that the military is essentially powerless to stop. The theme of monster vs man makes this film very much like the original kaiju films of the 1950’s and 60’s (Godzilla, Rodan, and Varan the Unbelievable, to name a few). It is interesting to see Nemesis grow and change over the course of the story and we even get artwork of the process, drawn by renowned Godzilla comic artist Matt Frank. The “science” part of the science fiction is a bit out there by modern standards, but it fits the kaiju genre and fans of giant monster films will notice and appreciate these little nods to the classic films.
Now let’s get to the meat of this book, the characters and the story. The book is written to be over the top and I feel like Jeremy Robinson had to have done that on purpose. Giant monster movies have always been cheesy and this book follows that pattern. Great literature it is not, but the book is what it was intended to be. The main character, Jon Hudson, is really good at his job for someone who is supposed to have a job that is an absolute joke. His love interest, Sheriff Collins, is the woman who is beautiful but is also a badass that could easily knock your teeth out. And of course, they hit it off immediately. A lot of the character’s skills are outright ridiculous; there are points where characters with little to no training who should be fairly out of practice are expertly handling military grade equipment like they use it every day. But as I said before, the book is not meant to be taken seriously to any degree.
Plot has never been the strong suit of any giant monster movie. People watch these movies to see giant monsters fight, the plot if hardly ever the center of your attention. However, the plot does tie itself together loosely enough to get by and that is all you really need for this story. Compared to the plot of the average Godzilla film, Project Nemesis tells a well thought-out story. That being said, this book is still the written equivalent of a summer action movie; it has a giant monster, big guns, explosions and attractive women. Fans of creature features will love this book, but it is not for everyone. If you are a fan of kaiju films, go ahead and read this; you will probably give it a 5/5. While I personally want to give the book a higher rating, objectively I have to be fair. Maybe the sequel will set the bar a bit higher, but before I jump into Project Maigo I need to take a detour and read Island 731.