Title: Pacific Rising | Author: John W. Dennehy | Publisher: Severed Press | Pub. Date: 2017-6-22 | Pages: 236 | ASIN: B0734LRC4P | Genre: Kaiju Sci-Fi Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration
A hurricane brews in the Pacific, grounding all military aircraft. The storm awakens an ancient predator from a decades-long slumber, a Kaiju bent on ravaging Tokyo. Storm conditions and a treaty banning nuclear weapons hinder offensive capabilities. A Joint Task Force turn to U.S. Marine fighter pilots and Master Gunnery Sergeant James Penton to tackle the monster. Meanwhile, a Navy SEAL operation is underway in North Korea, with a mission to disable an old Soviet missile. After conventional weapons fail to stymie the destructive beast, leaders turn to Penton as a last-ditch effort to thwart the Kaiju, and prevent further death and devastation. Will the Marines prevail, or become victims of the creature?
Pacific Rising is an action-packed thriller with a rare behind the scenes look at the ordnance that fuels modern aerial warfare. – Goodreads
Pacific Rising Review
For as much science fiction and horror as I’ve read, I had somehow never read a Kaiju novel. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but I wasn’t even familiar with the term Kaiju, let alone the books. Not until I saw this review of Pacific Rising on Brian’s Book Blog. At that point, it was pretty much “Noooo, I can’t take this on. No matter how awesome it looks!” And then the author offered me a copy for review consideration, and I was had.
Pacific Rising took me a while to read. It was an easy read – normally the sort I’d finish in one sitting – but I was too easily distracted the week I was trying to read it. And even though it starts with a bit of tidal wave, the first two-thirds of the book feels a bit ‘slow’. I didn’t particularly care for the military thriller aspect, with the SEAL team’s mission. I think this was simply because I didn’t particularly care for either of the two characters. They felt very much -insert brave soldier stereotype- into -dangerous situation-, and were impossible to connect with. However, the last third was pure kick-butt action and lots of shooting and bombs and all sorts of ‘splosions to make a girl happy.
Actually, probably my biggest problem with the book is that I just didn’t care for any of the characters. I rooted for Kate a few times (especially in one scene where she had to come face to eye with the Kaiju) but she just wasn’t an interesting character. I do heartily applaud John W. Dennehy for making Kate such a strong female, though. Especially since he also avoided butching her out. She was strong, confident, and skilled. She held her own alongside any of the guys, and faced down a situation that would had me crapping my pants and screaming.
The only other problem I had with the book was repetition. The author tends to repeat things a bit like ‘the screams of people being crushed to death in tanks’ happens several times. Yes, I understand those people would scream, but when you hear it a few times in quick succession, it loses its impact. And the headshots – I get that the guys are Seals and all, but the sheer amount of headshots takes them from ‘cool’ to ‘eh, another one bites the dust’. A little bit of variety, if only in the descriptions themselves, would have went a long way in making it a stronger read.
John Dennehy’s Pacific Rising was a great introduction to kaiju novels, and I look forward to reading more. Both kaiju novels and more work from Dennehy himself. While this wasn’t the best that it could be, Dennehy’s undeniably talented at delivering no holds barred action. His military background serves him well in Pacific Rising as well. If you like military thrillers and high-stakes action, you’ll appreciate a lot of Pacific Rising.
While I can’t give Pacific Rising a glowing recommendation, I think if you like your monsters big and chompy, you’ve got to give it a try. It’s entertaining and easy to visualize. Lots of squishy people get squished. And sometimes, well, you just can’t ask for anything else, can you?