Monsters Unleashed, Part 2

Three years ago, a pair of over-sized dinosaurs trashed the entire city of San Francisco (see my review of Rise of the Titanosaurus here). Fisherman’s Wharf, Haight-Ashbury, City Lights Bookstore, Lombard Street and the Painted Ladies were all destroyed. 

Now, in John Grover’s latest effort Rage of the Titanosaurus, the City by the Bay was slowly rebuilding itself. A new Golden Gate Bridge was put up, although nobody knew exactly what to call it. And Alcatraz, the iconic prison island, was now a science and military outpost. 

Unfortunately, the good folks of San Francisco didn’t totally eradicate their dino problem at the time. Not only was a new Titanosaurus raging across the landscape, but something else had arrived—something from beyond the Mesozoic Era.

The quadrupedal, sail-fin Dimetrodon was arguably  the premier apex predator during the Permian period and was long gone before the first dinosaurs appeared. When the giant-sized synapsid was spotted in San Francisco’s Sunset District, residents with PTSD knew their neighborhood was going to be demolished again. 

The two monsters battled endlessly and with no fear of consequence. Nothing could stop them. There were no comic book heroes coming to wrestle the behemoths into submission—no Shang-Chi, no Ant-Man, no Wasp, nobody. Said the author: “The two mega-giants shrieked and roared, rolling, tumbling in clouds of smoke and debris. They barely noticed the jets buzzing around them as they bit and clawed at each other.”

“Where does the world go from here?” wondered a dispirited onlooker. “This could just happen again and again. Will we have to live forever with the threat of giant dinosaurs appearing at random?” 

These questions (and more) remain unanswered by the end of the book. But that’s okay, I’m sure the author is working on a sequel at this very moment. There are a few tidbits to ponder in the meantime. 

First and foremost, we know there are dinosaur eggs incubating in a subterranean labyrinth below the streets of San Francisco. If I had to guess, I’d say there’s probably a yet-to-be discovered interior world of monsters in the area. Expect some spelunking in the near future. 

And finally, I hate to say it but the writing is lackluster overall. I expected better from the author. Rage of the Titanosaurus is a perfunctory sequel filled with unsatisfying descriptive language and unearned emotional moments. And, as a former resident of the area, I can tell the author’s knowledge of San Francisco comes directly from a popular phone app. 

But who knows? With so many giant creatures running amok, my Google Maps criticism might not be relevant. In the next installment, there’s a good possibility that the entire Bay Area may soon disappear from all maps completely. 

[Rage of the Titanosaurus / By John Grover / First Printing: March 2023 / ISBN: 9798385502981]