RAIJU: A KAIJU HUNTER NOVEL - 2009
By K.H. Koehler
Publisher: KHP Publishers
PB - 162 pages
Kaiju is Japanese word that basically means "strange beast" or "monster". The word is now usually only used as a description for a specific genre of entertainment - the giant monster movie. As Americans, we know the main Kaiju most of all: Godzilla.
K.H. Koehler’s new novel RAIJU is a Kaiju story. When I first took a look at the book, I was definitely a little leery. These kinds of stories have truly been done to death, and there is very little originality in the genre as a whole. Yet, I am happy to say that Ms. Koehler has made it work.
When this short novel opens, we meet our main hero Kevin Takahashi who has just moved to New York City. We learn that in the previous book, Kevin’s home was destroyed by a rampaging Kaiju and that he is now just struggling to come to terms with his mother’s death. Unfortunately for him, he has angered Snowman, a goth bully at the school. It’s a nice change of pace that the bully is a goth rather than a clichéd jock.
What makes the novel stand out is Ms. Koehler’s portrayal of modern day high school life. We believe in this world that she has created. Unlike some other young adult novels, this one doesn’t pander to it’s audience. What we get is a fairly realistic portrayal of a precocious and geeky teenager just trying to survive every day high school life.
For a good portion of the book, we just see Kevin’s fairly normal world. Then the Kaiju attacks and anything goes. Koehler’s handling of the action scenes are very well done and put me in the mind of some of the better summer action films of previous years. Through the use of well drawn characters, Koehler makes us believe and care about the people in this world.
I enjoyed RAIJU and I would definitely pick up another of Ms. Koehler’s books in this series. If you enjoy GODZILLA movies, but wished they concentrated just a little bit more on character than this book is for you. I can’t say it’s a perfect book, since we’ve definitely been down this road before , but at a brisk 160 pages, I practically finished it in one enjoyable setting.
This review copyright 2010 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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