Have you ever finished reading a book (or a series) and wished it had been told from a different character’s perspective—Tiger Lily instead of Wendy, perhaps, or Jane instead of Tarzan?
That’s sorta how I felt when I put down Monstrous Escape, the third and final (?) novel in John Grover’s titanic Kaiju Overlords series.
In all three books, the story swirled around Jason Bagley of the U.N. Special Forces. He was the presumptive hero of the series—a fearless fighter pilot, a doting family man and a steady influence to everyone under his purview. Without a doubt, he was the nicest man since Atticus Finch.
But there was another character who could easily have been the hero. John Temple had a compelling personal story before he joined the U.N. team. He also had a growth arc that took him from cocky pirate to selfless savior.
Grover’s kaiju trilogy would have been wildly different with Temple as the protagonist—in a good way, I think. But don’t be mistaken, I’m not asking for a rewrite. I’m just saying that a John Temple series would’ve been cool. He could have been the boss hero instead of the “woman in a refrigerator.”
As with all final books in a trilogy, Monstrous Escape wraps up with an explosive climax (for a quick catch-up, read my reviews of Behemoths Rising and Giants Reborn). In addition, if you’re like me, you’ll dig (!!) the unrelenting giant worm action. Added bonus: the giant centipede action ain’t too bad either.
One thing I really liked about the Kaiju Overlords series was the way the author gave an emotional kick to all of his characters—two of them even found time to get married.
One of these emotional moments came a split second before the unthinkable endgame. Two colleagues suffering from the same post-apocalyptic funk attempt to articulate their feelings to each other. “I can’t keep losing everyone I care about,” said one.
What followed was an intimate and awkward conversation forever unfinished between a man and a woman. Were they sharing a romantic moment (maybe) or were they trapped in a state of torpor (probably). Knowing now how the series ends, the conversation remains ineffably sad.
[Monstrous Escape / By John Grover / First Printing: August 2021 / ISBN: 9798451452585]