This is the point in Jeremy Robinson’s Kaiju series where everything really starts to come together and the series begins to enter the realm of pure, unrestricted sci-fi. Between that and the goofiness of the series, this book as almost like Godzilla meets 90’s sci-fi/action/comedy TV shows (Stargate SG-1, Farscape, take your pick). Project Maigo was like the film Destroy All Monsters, following how the first book was similar to the original kaiju movies of the 1950’s and 60’s. This book follows that pattern and goes into the 80’s and 90’s motif of having the “hero” monster fight a big, bad world-destroying monster. The new monster featured in Project 731 is only really somewhat “new”; without spoiling anything, you will definitely want to go back and read Island 731 before jumping into this book.
So, what all is new and different compared to the last two books? First off, the plot is much more balanced. Instead of an uncontrollable amount of action caused by a half dozen monsters like in Project Maigo, this time around we get to see the characters actually doing things instead of just scrambling to respond to a series of crises. And the characters actually provide assistance with bringing down the monsters instead of just having Nemesis do all the heavy lifting. How, you ask? Future-tech. Robinson has now gone down the road of future-tech for this series, giving his characters the ability to fight giant monsters and win even though the military dropping hellfire missiles, MOABs, and pretty much everything short of a nuke on these creatures did nothing but knock them down. The use of future-tech is perfectly acceptable; it has been a staple in giant monster movies ever since the use of masers in War of the Gargantuas and even stems back as far as the Oxygen Destroyer in the original Godzilla film.
While Island 731 had some implications in the previous book, its events now directly tie in with to key elements of the Kaiju series. Likewise, something that happened towards the end of this book is related to one of Robinson’s previous novels, Raising the Past. Overall it was better than the last two, it had the feel of a finale to it, and part of me figured that Robinson was just doing a trilogy. Evidently that is not the case since there is a fourth book. Given the time span between the books (this one being released in late 2014 and Raising the Past being released back in 2006) and the revelation at the end of the story, maybe this was supposed to be a trilogy and Robinson just decided to do more. The man puts out a lot of books very quickly and the quality of his work reflects that. A large part of how this book turned out seemed to be him throwing things in at the last minute.
One last thing that must be addressed before wrapping things up, the references. Yes, they have returned since that last book. The constant references thrown into these books get extremely annoying. This time around, it can be partially forgiven because of an actually humorous scene where the characters refer to the “Let them fight” line in the 2014 Godzilla film, but it is still annoying. References in any work of fiction do not stand well against the test of time. While hordes of future generations are not going to be reading these books in high school English classes, just the principle of it is irksome.
Since Raising the Past is now important to this series, that will be our next book read and reviewed that before moving onto Project Hyperion. This book, however, was the best of the series so far.