As you know, I like reposting the reviews I leave elsewhere to generate more buzz. Good writers deserve all the support they can get, so here’s my 5 star review of Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse.
Kaiju fiction has been getting popular over the last few years, and among the writers dedicated to expanding this untapped genre lies Christofer Nigro, whose latest solo work, Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse, embodies all that is great about skyscraper-sized mutant creatures that want to consume all earthly life.
This story is set in Japan, 1954, with the Cold War, as well as the Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Bikini Atoll nuclear detonations as a backdrop for the end of days. The country, its cities, and its citizens are described with painstaking detail, taking care to render the era with an exacting pen. All the Japanese names may at first be confusing to some American readers, but this is kaiju fiction—few people survive more than five to ten pages past their introduction, so there aren’t many lasting characters to talk about.
Megadrak begins with Goro Takiguchi, a fisherman, whose friend is attacked by a mutated bloodworm, soon to be named Glyceracon. These ravenous, fanged annelids descend on a nearby village, draining scores of bystanders dry while he narrowly escapes. The creatures swarm whoever and whatever they come across, leaving havoc in their wake, seemingly the worst bio-organic threat in written history—until the researchers trying to slow and stop their assault come to the conclusion that they must have been feeding on a far larger food source. One with radioactive blood.
Enter the Big Bad, Medadrak, a draconian daikaiju with a sharp intellect and insatiable appetite for destruction. I won’t spoil what it can do, or what it proceeds to do, but I can say it’s everything a Godzilla fan would want, and more, with a dash of scientific terminology to keep the more detail-oriented readers engaged.
Along with Nigro’s extensive kaiju knowledge comes his expansive vocabulary. It’s not enough to say that reading his work might teach people new words; reading his work will absolutely teach you at least a few. His keen mind for synonyms keeps the wording fresh, yet also provides a journalistic perspective, as if this is being described by an academic or reporter, which works really well for this genre.
This occasionally works against the pacing, as some overly formal wording or lengthy descriptions don’t quite fit in the action of some sequences, especially when it comes to dialog. Fortunately, these moments are few and far between.
Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse gives readers exactly what they want. Kaiju fans will get all the giant, city-stomping monster mayhem the genre is known for. Those who are newer to the field will take delight in the smooth introduction, starting with littler creatures and progressing to the bigger ones after you’ve gotten to know the main crew. And yes, there’s a giant monster brawl, because what would a story like this be without one?
Tack on a few scattered moments of mutant humans with extrasensory powers, and Megadrak is clearly the start of a larger universe, if not to say Nigro’s own little kaiju franchise. While no one’s flying around or rewinding time in this particular novel, it’s safe to say this author will deliver on that promise soon. Until then, the Beast of the Apocalypse deserves a place on any monster lover’s shelf.
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