Jeremy Robinson is definitely following the pattern set by the old school giant monster films of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. A lot of original/old school kaiju films (Godzilla, Gorgo, The Giant Claw) featured a giant monster showing up and mankind battling against it, which is very much what happened in Project Nemesis. Project Maigo is just as akin to later films, particularly Destroy All Monsters, which feature the rule of “the only thing that can kill a giant monster is another giant monster”. This is not like many giant monster films that feature a one-on-one fight; Robinson introduces five new monsters for this book, jumping the number of creatures up from just one to a half dozen. Going in, it seemed like a bit of a jump to introduce that many new monsters so quickly but Robinson ultimately made it work.
One of the best things about the introduction of so many new monsters is non-stop action. The new monsters pop up throughout the book constantly; fighting either Nemesis or the military forces in charge of defending whatever country the monsters happen to be attacking. Having more monsters also puts more emphasis on them. In the first book, there is a lot of focus on the aftermath (and body count) of Nemesis’ attacks, something that early kaiju films with only one monster also did. In Project Maigo, it is more about seeing the monsters duke it out and watching stuff get wrecked and blown up.
This book also felt more like a Part 2 than a story of its own. In most kaiju film series, you can pick up pretty much any movie in the series, watch it without having seen previous films, and understand what is going on just fine. Project Maigo features the return of a villain from the previous book (granted, readers will see that coming based on how Project Nemesis ended) and there were a few things that do not make sense for readers who have not gotten to the spin-off book Island 731. Whether Robinson originally intended to incorporate the events of Island 731 with his Kaiju series or if he just said, “I’m pulling a Stephen King and creating a shared universe,” seems up in the air. Honestly, the incorporation of the Island 731 characters seemed to be a gimmicky way to resolve some of the plot issues. It was also kind of odd seeing the protagonist of Island 731, Mark Hawkins, taking a backseat to Jon Hudson. Hudson is understandably the protagonist of this series, but Hawkins was basically every Sylvester Stallone character of the 1980s in Island 731 and you just cannot effectively write a background character that same way.
One of the irksome things with this book was the references. There were so many references, to the point where it was annoying. Being in the sci-fi genre, shout-outs to something like Star Trek or to an actual kaiju film like King Kong are understandable, but it got to the point where it felt like one of the characters was going to to break the fourth wall and talk about why people should buy Pepsi. Throwing a few references here and there is fine, but they do not need to litter the book.
For sci-fi fans, especially fans of the giant monster sub-genre, this book is a solid way to spend a weekend. For the average audience, not so much. Robinson is doing a good job conveying his stories to the nerd community, but that seems to be all he is trying to appeal to; he is not doing with the kaiju sub-genre what Disney did with the Avengers and these books are not going to interest more general audiences because of that. This book was a bit better than Project Nemesis and is in one of my favorite sci-fi genres, but it also has somewhat average writing and the constant, annoying references.