Godzilla - King of Monsters by Greg Keyes
I would like to thank Sarah from Titan for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review
Publisher – Titan
Price - £7.99
Published – Out Now
…follows the heroic efforts of the cryptozoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his nemesis, the three-headed Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species – thought to be mere myths – rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance
I do love a good monster movie. Spectacle of giant monsters caught me early as child when you’d usually in the summer have Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts plus other Harryhausen beasts fighting humans and each other was fun (annoyingly UK TV didn’t show Godzilla very often). As CGI has evolved, they’re a regular big screen appearance and in the last few years a series of films exploring the concept of the Titans such as Godzilla and Kong have come about and in 2019 Godzilla celebrates his 65th birthday (so close to becoming a pensioner!). In this Movie Tie-In Greg Keyes does a more than fair job of bringing visual spectacle to the printed page.
The story centres around Monarch a secret organisation that has been studying these giant monsters (named Titans) that for many millions of years have lain dormant and across secret sites across the world the group guards and observes the sleeping giants. Godzilla has gone quiet and lurks the seas. Into this we find Dr Emma Russell and her daughter Maddie just as a mysterious Titan known as Mothra is about o awaken. Dr Russell has been creating a device known as ORCA that she believes allows us to talk to and possibly control Titans. Just before she can test this Maddie and her are involved in an attack on the base and find themselves with a group of eco-terrorists led by the smart but deadly Jonah. They then are sent to the Antarctic to release the largest Titan - Monster Zero also known as Ghidorah. Monarch are on the back foot and Emma’s ex-husband Mark; who also worked for Monarch but walked away after a tragic loss. The Monarch team are sent to stop Jonah before it’s too late and then Godzilla appears…
I’ve seen the movie this tie-in covers and it’s a very fair summary of the action and plot building up the tension before it erupts into a giant Titan-fest for the latter half. I think Keyes brings two better elements to the tale. Firstly, the length of a novel allows a bit more global scale to the tale. We get an opportunity to see other Titan bases that the movie never covered and that adds a nice sense of surprise as we play ‘guess which creature is about to awaken’. The other benefit is a weakness for me in the movie was the humans didn’t really feel fully realised people in their own right. Here Keyes gets to add back-story and inner thoughts, I found this much more successful than the movie making the characters are a bit more relatable. Conversely the scenes I felt suffered the most were the monster battles. While the narrative relates the action on screen it doesn’t really capture the fluidity or size of the battles the movie could show. I’d had loved a chance to actually be in the Titan’s point of view for these clashes but I didn’t really get a sense that the book made these come alive.
It’s overall a decent tie-in adaptation for what I felt was a decent summer blockbuster. It corrects some of the movie’s faults but I’m not sure if Titans really come alive in a printed page tale. If you enjoyed the movie and would like to know the human cast more then this would be a good read.