The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi is comedy gold. That’s one of the best, most entertaining, smart books you’ll read. I’ve always loved books that don’t take themselves too seriously, as you can guess from my love for Martha Wells’ The Murderbot Diaries. And this is one of those books. It’s fun, full of snark and light-hearted hilarity.
The book came out a little over two months ago. It’s another one of the NetGalley books I’ve managed to snatch, and I’ll be eternally grateful for the generosity. I’ve had such a good laugh and hate myself for reading it in one sitting. But there’s just no other way of reading it. The Kaiju Preservation Society doesn’t give you breathing room. It’s fast-paced and sharp, and you just want to soak up the merry goodness that it is.
The Kaiju Plot & World
I’ve read several John Scalzi books so far – The Interdependency series and most of Old Man’s War books. My better half is in the process of convincing me to give Redshirts a try, and I have Lock In on my TBR pile. But how do you resist the temptation of a fresh story?
When I saw Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society on NetGalley, it was an instant request. And how wouldn’t it be? John Scalzi, kaiju, a world in the throes of the pandemic – don’t tell me we didn’t all desire a sudden drastic change in those first weeks and months of national lockdowns.
That’s exactly what happens to Jamie Gray after getting sacked as Covid-19 sweeps New York. Stuck at a dead-end job as a driver for a food delivery app, until a faithful meeting with an old acquaintance changes everything. Tom generously omits a few crucial details when he introduces his employer as “an animal rights organization”, and Jamie eagerly accepts the invitation to join him as a grunt on the next deployment.
Those “animals”? Kaiju. On an alternate Earth. Cue hilarity.
But it’s not all fun and games, and discovering new wonderful things. There’s actual preserving involved which sometimes requires flying a helicopter in near-proximity to a walking, toothed, scaly, angry nuclear reactor. And not to mention the shady individuals that have also found their way to this alternate Earth.
And we all know shady individuals want to militarize anything and everything at all costs.
“The only real question is, who are the monsters?”
“They ask that question in every monster movie, you know. It’s an actual trope.”
“I know,” Tom said. “What does it say about us that it’s relevant every single time they ask it?”
The Kaiju Preservation Society Characters
I’ve not read Lock In yet, but I hear the situation is much the same – John Scalzi leaves Jamie’s gender open to interpretation. This reader here interpreted them as male but only because I prefer books with male leads, though I’d never pass on a strong female or NB protagonist (or a genderless one, Murderbot, let me be your friend, we can ignore each other as much as you want!).
On the new job, Jamie meets a plethora of PhD smart cookies, a couple of bad guys, and several kaiju monsters – yes, two of them are called Edward and Bella and are meant to have babies. I cackled. Not only because of the image of two nuclear reactors mating : )
I can’t say all the characters were fully fleshed-out, this is a short book at about 270 pages. But they all had their quirks and specific traits, you could find something to like and enjoy in all of them. In the end, though, the strongest point of The Kaiju Preservation Society is the fun rollercoaster ride it offers. So fun and so fast, it can give you whiplash.
The Kaiju Preservation Society: Review Verdict
To answer the burning “should I read it” question – yes. YES. If you’ve read John Scalzi books, you already know he’s incredibly fun in a very elegant and engaging way. The Kaiju Preservation Society provides a light-hearted feeling in some of the bleakest years of our age. For one night, if you’re looking for a quick escape, trust Jamie Gray and join the KPS, even if it’s just as a grunt that will handle heavy things for the team. The ride will be 100% worth it.
The Kaiju Preservation Society dropped in March of 2022. I hope this excuse for a review helps bring a smile to your day if it gets you one step closer to reading the book. If you’ve already traveled to Kaiju Earth, head to the comments and share your thoughts on the journey. If you’ve been swept away by any other of the John Scalzi books out there, don’t hesitate to rant about it as well!