Book Review: ISLAND 731
So before we head into book #3, PROJECT 731, we need to explore another book that connects part of the dots to the Nemesis story. ISLAND 731 was originally written as a stand alone novel. This will later change into being known as book #0 of the Nemesis series with the return of Mark Hawkins and the monsters of ISLAND 731 starting with PROJECT MAIGO. ISLAND 731 is inspired by the horrific human experimentation in Japanese history during World War 2 called Unit 731. War prisoners, mainly American soldiers, were used for experiments with biological warfare.
ISLAND 731 is about Mark Hawkins, a former park ranger, aboard the research vessel, the Maggellan, to help study The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and how it affects the marine life. When a storm rolls in, Mark and the crew of the Maggellan would find themselves drifting towards an uncharted island with a dark history and inhabited by man eating chimeras and a small girl that is part human part cat. The story was pretty good for the most part, but it seems to drag from time to time. I like that the book kept one of the monsters mysterious through out most of the book and learn more about it close to the end. The monsters are mostly random mishmash of animals, but it makes you wonder who the real monster is, the chimeras that inhabit the island or the scientists that created them. ISLAND 731 had me on edge waiting as to what other mysteries would reveal itself. I will say that if you don't know any history of WW2 then you will find yourself lost at times.
The monster known as Kaiju, is one of the main threats and she is a powerhouse of a monster. Note that I said she because this monster is a mother. Kaiju, a monster that is part human and a mish mash of several other animals, is forced by a mad scientist to do his bidding. What is more dangerous than a mother doing everything she can to protect her children? Well, how about some Big F@#$ing Spiders (aka BFS)? No really, that is not me swearing like a sailor. That is what they are called in the book. They are given a different name in PROJECT 731, but Big F@#$ing Spiders? Well, it does describe what these monsters are, but did the author have to put in the F@#$ in the name? How about Big Ass Speedy Spiders? Then, the anagram can be BASS and when they are in the water, they would be called Sea BASS. So then, the readers can shout, "Kick his ass, Sea BASS!"......... I need to come up with better jokes. The BFS are spiders with snapping turtle shells and a scorpion like stinger and what makes them terrifying is that they multiply like the aliens from ALIENS, except the eggs are injected from their stingers rather than a face hugging parasite. Three minutes later, they burst out of the host's chest and they grow rapidly. No other monster in the book can compare to be as terrifying as the BFS and the name kind of ruins it. It is better to not have a name at all. It is better to leave the name of these terrifying creatures a mystery until the next book when they are given a better name to take seriously.
At times I found the characters to be not very believable or plain silly. I think it mostly has to do with these character’s backstories, but I found myself saying, “That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard,” from time to time.
I definitely say check this book out before you read PROJECT 731. It will give better insight on the characters and understanding of the monsters that are going to appear in the third book. Otherwise, just skim a few pages just to see if it is to your liking. It has a good grasp on the knowledge of the darker side of WW2, but you will find yourself lost at some parts.