Unity is one of author Jeremy Robinson’s first “new” books. For those who are new to his work, most of his previous books take place in a multi-verse (think Marvel comics or Stephen King’s works) and they were all more or less wrapped up in one last adventure in Project Legion. So, Unity kicks things off fresh-ish (more on the “-ish” later). Going in to Unity, I was unaware that it was a YA book and that did throw me a little. Robinson’s previous kaiju books, the Nemesis saga, were not YA oriented so the same was expected here. In no way did that diminish Unity, it was just one of those “oh, okay” moments.
Being a YA book centered around a kickass girl, Unity cannot help but make my brain go to Hunger Games. Effie was fantastic as a central protagonist. She has something of a bad attitude and life has not been easy on her, but at the core of things she is a good person. Her friends manage to remain interesting throughout as the team is built up over the story. The villains are also interesting, though suffering from a bit of generic bad guy syndrome.
This book (and probably it’s sequels) do differ from the Nemesis Saga in one major way, the robots. Nemesis focused mostly on the monsters, not introducing a giant mecha until the 4th book (out of five). In this story, there are no good/allied monsters. All the monsters are the bad guys. This time around humanity uses giant robots to fight back (think Pacific Rim). I say this time around because the characters do mention Nemesis at one point. In the same breath they also name a few fictional kaiju, so it is a little unclear whether this is at some point in the future after the Nemesis Saga or if the character speaking that line just read the Nemesis book. Maybe that will be touched on a bit more in a sequel.
Nothing that Robinson does in Unity can really be described as new. Most of it was already done in his previous books. Giant monsters, giant robots, teenagers saving the world…come to think of it, this was basically the Nemesis saga mixed with Power Rangers. Do not get the wrong impression; Unity is not a knock-off of Power Rangers, Voltron, Ultraman, etc. Jeremy Robinson is certainly recycling old plot elements, but he is using them to make something new. Something new and entertaining. Even though the ideas here are standing on the shoulders of giants, it is still very much Robinson’s own thing.