THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY by John Scalzi – Audiobook Review

by Michael

This entire review of John Scalzi’s newest book, The Kaiju Preservation Society, exists solely because of the author’s Afterword. He said that this was “the right novel, at the right time, for me” and frankly, I felt that for myself as well, after listening to Wil Wheaton’s voice, read Scalzi’s words. I have never written a review for an audiobook. This is my first endeavor in this, so I hope you bear with me.

A quick background on myself; I spend anywhere from 2 to 6 hours a day on the road for work. Years ago I started listening to audiobooks to help pass the time. It wasn’t until the early part of 2020 that I came across John Scalzi’s work. Once I discovered him, the works of John Scalzi kept me company those first few months of lockdown. I took advantage of working from home and listened to The Interdependency series, along with the Lock In Series.

During the fall of 2020, my new (and newly expecting) bride and I found ourselves moving. Before the move, I had to do some work painting and remodeling the kitchen before our moving in. I filled the lonely hours working on our new home with Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series.

So it’s probably fair to say I’m a fan. Not only that, I consider Wil Wheaton’s voice reading John Scalzi’s words to be ** **chef’s kiss. ****

In fact, this novel was my first ever preorder on Audible.

I’ve struggled for months to find an audiobook or audiobook series that could pull me in like the Old Man’s War series had a year and a half ago, but up to this point, had failed. So I was excited about this release.

Ultimately, I’ve come away happy and satisfied. The Kaiju Preservation Society goes by quickly. The audiobook version in total (including credits) is just over 8 hours total. It felt like half of that, and in my experience, if an audiobook goes down that quick and smooth, reading the book itself has the same feel.

This was a book I needed.

The main character, Jamie Gray, felt like a guy I could just hang out with. He reminded me of people I know at my job. It was strange to have a vague familiarity with a fictional character that I’m only just meeting. His self-deprecating “I lift things” was a feeling I have near-daily recently. There’s just something about having that sense of one’s self, and Wheaton gives it the perfect delivery every time.

The take on the existence of kaiju, not just as an actual living animal, but as something that has influenced our world, was one I hope is explored even more down the road if a sequel is ever produced.

The villain of the story is so expertly written as the type of asshole that we all know, we can relate just not to this character’s distaste for him, but to our own as well. (It has been a minute since I smiled at a character’s demise, but Mr. Scalzi accomplished such a feat)

The story is set at the end of 2020 and at the beginning of 2021. So COVID, Presidential elections, and all that fun stuff. Scalzi references it all, and while there are a few things I may have rolled my eyes at when referenced, this book is clearly meant to be based in our world. I’ll be curious to see how this book is received in the next 5-10 years.

The reality is if someone reads The Kaiju Preservation Society years from now when they were too young to remember the lockdown and what everyone went through, this novel’s reality-based aspects will read as fictional as the rest of the elements. That’s a whole curious thing to take in and consider.

I will say that the last third of the book felt rushed compared to the previous two-thirds. It doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the story by any means, but the pace shifts and there are a few times where things feel muddy compared to earlier in the novel. Not to mention the resolution felt a bit quick to tie everything up quickly with a nice bow.

I also need more of helicopter pilot Martin!!

If you can’t tell, I’m writing this to be vague, and that’s on purpose. This book is enjoyable, and while I’m sitting here telling you my opinion on why and how it is so, I don’t want to take anything away from you. If that’s wrong of me, I apologize. Ultimately, I want this review as it were, to sit as the deciding factor on if someone is debating on reading or listening to this novel.

Because I’m here to tell you, if you’re a fan of kaiju, John Scalzi, Wil Wheaton, or just a fun sci-fi adventure, then you have nothing to lose.

Official Summary:

The Kaiju Preservation Society is John Scalzi’s first stand-alone adventure since the conclusion of his New York Times best-selling Interdependency trilogy.

When COVID-19 sweeps through New York City, Jamie Gray is stuck as a dead-end 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 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 panda, and they’re in trouble.

It’s not just the Kaiju Preservation Society who’s found their way to the alternate world. Others have, too. And their carelessness could cause millions back on our Earth to die.

©2022 John Scalzi (P)2021 Audible, Inc.

You can find The Kaiju Preservation Society on Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperback, and more here.

If you enjoyed this review, check out my other reviews.

The Kaiju Preservation Society

4.8

Story

4.8/5

Performance

4.9/5

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