Blog Archives

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi – Blog Tour Book Review

A picture of a plushie character of Disney’s Stitch (covered in dog hair) holding a blue Advanced Reading copy of the book The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi. The book cover has three red slashes - like claw marks- over a picture of a Godzilla like creature.

Jurassic Park was one of the first films I really properly remember seeing in the cinema. Probably because we sat on the front row. I also really enjoyed reading Redshirts, John Scalzi’s homage to Star Trek so when Black Crow PR reached out about receiving an ARC of his new release The Kaiju Preservation Society I bit their arm off! Thanks Jamie and Stephen and Tor for the gifted copy.

Book promo with - The most entertaining, accessible writer working in SF today - quote by Joe Hill.

About the Book

The Kaiju Preservation Society is a thrilling standalone adventure from bestselling author John Scalzi. With bucket loads of Scalzi traits – pacing, humour and tension – this is a light, uplifting escapist story in a Jurassic Park-like alternate world, perfect for fans of Adrian Tchaikovsky, Charles Stross, and epic monster movies.

In New York City, Jamie Gray is a driver for food delivery apps. That is, until Jamie makes a delivery to an old acquaintance, Tom, who works at what he calls ‘an animal rights organization’. Tom’s team needs a last-minute grunt to handle things on their next field visit. Jamie, eager to do anything, immediately signs on.

What Tom doesn’t tell Jamie is that the animals his team cares for are not here on Earth. Not our Earth, at least. In an alternate dimension, massive dinosaur- like creatures named Kaiju roam a warm and human-free world. They’re the universe’s largest and most dangerous animal and they’re in trouble. It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society whose found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

“Scalzi’s latest is a wildly inventive take on the kaiju theme”

―Booklist, starred review

“Equally lighthearted and grounded―and sure to delight.”

―Publishers Weekly, starred review

About the Author

John Scalzi is one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His debut, Old Man’s War, won him science fiction’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. His New York Times bestsellers include The Last Colony, Fuzzy Nation, The End of All Things and Redshirts, which won 2013’s Hugo Award for Best Novel. Material from his widely read blog Whatever has also earned him two other Hugo Awards. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter. Follow him on Twitter @scalzi

What I Thought

In the author note at the end of the book I admired how open John was with us about the challenges he faced in writing in a pandemic – particularly as it sounds like he may have also being experiencing Long Covid at points.

He scrapped the idea he was working on and was supported in a deliverator delay (read the book – you’ll get the reference). And, KPS was the outcome of being allowed to put aside one project and being allowed to follow it with this soul cleanser. Something written for pure joy. A “pop song” amidst the “brooding symphonies” as he calls it.

I really enjoyed it. Fun, pacy, easy to read. Full of characters you want to root for and not see ripped limb to limb. COVID-19 does get a mention early on but then we get to go to a whole new world full of Godzilla type nuclear reactor ecosystems who are called things like Edward and Bella and who need help from the humans to ‘get it on’.

Despite the fun there is serious discussions to be had – if you want them. But you can also just simply read this for pure enjoyment – and isn’t that what we need right now. COVID-19 has been a terrible thing but the rays of light that have shone from the darkness are worth holding onto and this will be one of mine.

Book cover Promo pic with An escapist delight quote by The Times.

Main character Jamie has a serendipitous encounter that leads him on another adventure. Not one he thought he’d be on but one he is eminently suited to. Isn’t life funny that way?

Full of lots of pop, poop and Hamilton references it is very much a book for the now – although soon, the now will be history, and I think this will stand up for future sci-fi readers. It does also include a fair bit of science – so one for the biology, physics and chemistry nerds too – and there is power in being the one who lifts things – look at Luisa in Encanto and everyone who has kept society going through the pandemic.

And if that wasn’t all excellent enough then Wil Wheaton narrates the audiobook – so I’m going to get that for when I’m ready for a re-read.

Ps. He needs a part in the movie adaptation please.

Do check out the rest of the tour which you can follow along with on Twitter and Instagram and using #KaijuPreservationSociety. Opinions and geeking out are all mine.

Twitter

@scalzi @UKTor @BlackCrow_PR #KaijuPreservationSociety

Instagram

@Panmacmillan @jscalzi @BlackCrow_PR

Blog Tour poster with names and dates.

Far From the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson – Blog Tour Book Review

About the Book

Arthur C. Clarke Award winner Tade Thompson makes a triumphant return to science fiction with this unforgettable vision of humanity’s future in the chilling emptiness of space.

The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having travelled light years from home to bring one thousand sleeping souls to safety among the stars.

Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake – and a profound and sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel. Its skeleton crew are forced to make decisions that will have repercussions for all of humanity’s settlements – from the scheming politicians of Lagos station, to the colony planet of Bloodroot, to other far flung systems and indeed Earth itself.

About the Author

Tade Thompson is the author of Rosewater, which was the winner of the 2019 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the inaugural winner of the Nommo Award and a John W. Campbell finalist. His Shirley Jackson Award-shortlisted novella The Murders of Molly Southbourne has recently been optioned for screen adaptation. Born in London to Yoruba parents, he lives and works on the south coast of England.

Author Image from Goodreads

Praise for Tade Thompson

            ‘Readers looking for a smart sci-fi mystery should snap this up’ – Publishers Weekly on Far from the Light of Heaven

‘This series is going to be addictive. See you on the other side’ – Stylist on Rosewater

            ‘Hard-edged and utterly compelling’ – i newspaper on Rosewater

‘Exciting new SF is everywhere, with writers of Nigerian heritage making a particular splash: most notably Deji Bryce Olukotun and Hugo-winner Nnedi Okorafor. With this stellar debut, Thompson takes his rightful place in this company’ – Guardian on Rosewater

‘Hugely satisfying . . . a darkly beautiful gem’ – SFX on Rosewater

‘Smart. Gripping. Fabulous!’ – Ann Leckie on Rosewater

‘Mesmerising. There are echoes of Neuromancer and Arrival in here, but this astonishing debut is beholden to no-one’ – M. R. Carey on Rosewater

What I Thought

For fans of the Illuminae Files, Skyward, Aurora Cycle, The Martian, Firefly, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and Locked Door Mysteries.

We join the story with First mate Captain Michelle “Shell” Campion pre-mission, stuck in quarantine and saying goodbye to family. She lives in a time where human pilots are pretty much defunct and on board as a tick box exercise. The real Pilots are the AIs and they never go wrong – until they do! I loved the initial exchange between her and AI Ragtime and their discussion of poetry.

Woken from Dreamstate, Shell comes across a disturbing scene – one which when reading actually gave me the shivers – and she sends a distress call which investigator Fin is sent to respond to, despite us learning he’s been on gardening leave from work.

Already we know much about our two protagonists and their lives but also have many questions yet to answer – what made Shell volunteer to give up 20 years of her life? What trouble did Fin get in at work?

Some of the other point of view characters are introduced here too – only by name to start. One of them we are told we won’t be meeting but the ship’s AI – Ragtime – describes her as intense, yet another character refers to her as Odiferous so you just know she’ll make an appearance. But will she live up to her introduction?

Although it starts as a Locked Door as we get introduced more to the different characters and the universe the story becomes much more sprawling. With potential for more in this world though I’m unclear if this will be part of a series.

I found the author’s writing really accessible and engaging and how immediately real he made all of the characters feel – even the artificial ones. I will definitely be checking out his other work now.

If you liked any of the books/films/shows I mention above then I really recommend checking this one out.

Thanks to Tracey at Compulsive Readers and Orbit books for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. Check out the rest of the tour here.

The Fall of Koli (The Concluding Book in the Rampart Trilogy) by MR Carey – Blog Tour Book Review

Fall of Koli book cover image

About the Book

The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy – set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . .

Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he’d be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for.

Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they’ve been following – the mysterious “Sword of Albion” – there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something.

Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended.

About the Author

MR Carey has been making up stories for most of his life. His novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is now a major motion picture based on his own screenplay. Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs of X-Men and Fantastic Four, Marvel’s flagship superhero titles. His creator-owned books regularly appear I’m the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels, two radio plays and a number of TV and movie screenplays to his credit.

What I Thought

I’ve been lucky enough to be part of the blog tour for this whole series so just in case you are nee to the series I’ll share the links to my thoughts on books 1 & 2 here.

Book 1 – The Book of Koli

Book 2 – The Trials of Koli

Book 3 – The Fall of Koli

Once again the story picks up exactly where it left off in book two, albeit with a little preamble from Koli first.

“Why does the world think boys can’t be gentle and loving as well as strong and fierce?”

Let’s set the record straight, Koli is a cinnamon roll and he has the biggest heart, and I love him for it. Does that mean he sometimes acts foolishly – yes. But that adds to his endearment, and if he acted sensibly we wouldn’t have had half as good a story to follow.

We begin focusing on Koli, Monono (still my favourite character), Ursala and Cup arriving at the Sword of Albion. And it is not what any of us anticipated. On it we are introduced to three new and very chilling characters. I’m not going to say much about them because I want to keep this spoiler free but if your skin doesn’t goosebump from the first meeting with them then you are made of stronger stuff than me. It reminded me slightly of Allegiant when Tris and co escape Chicago and the creepy community in Lost.

We do then head back to Spinner and her ongoing challenges: of Ramparts, and wars and new life. I have to admit I had a slight itch to get back to Koli and his gang when reading her chapters. Nothing against the tale she is spinning but just that Koli’s exploits were keeping me on tenterhooks.

We do get other point of view characters too later in the book but once again I’m keeping schtum about them because surprises are fun.

In his acknowledgments Carey reports completing the writing of this during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, and as with any good sci-fi it becomes a social commentary on the present. It touches on topics such as race, being transgender, brexit, naziism, corrupt politicians, climate change and more.

You need to have read the first two books to understand this one, if you didn’t like the voice in the previous books then you won’t like this. I would say this is the most pacy of the the three books but Koli’s storytelling in particular is still meandering and as such feels slower than many of us are used to. It’s replicative of oral storytelling, but to me this works much more successfully that the similar style used in Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Like I said in my review of the first book think the kid narrator in Mad Max: Beyond the Thunderdome. I appreciated it’s uniqueness and the opportunity to soak up a story that feels like being told of the past (even though it’s about things in an imagined future).

It’s lovely to have had the books published so near to each other but now the tale is complete you can get all three and take yourself on a journey to a land with faceless men, and murderous trees, where technology reigns but humanity is everything.

Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for arranging the gifted e-copy for the purposes of this honest review. Do check out the rest of the stops on the tour.

Blog Tour Poster
%d bloggers like this: