12A – 141mins – 2017 – 3D
In my time as webmaster of The CR@Bpendium, I have noticed that a guilty tendency of mine is to lavish blockbuster sequels in franchises I adore with 5-star ratings. The Force Awakens and Rogue One, for instance, were always destined to be looked upon kindly by me, a long-time Star Wars fan. Yet more casual movie watchers may recognise issues, however minor, with both films which would impede a perfect score in the eyes of the general public.
… Keep Scuttling!
Written by Greg Keyes, 2014
Published in the UK by: Titan Books
Released in the promotional campaign leading up to last summer’s cinematic bow of the sci-fi/action sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Firestorm is far better than a movie tie-in novel has any right to be.
Bridging the decade-long gap between Rupert Wyatt’s superb reboot Rise… (2011) and Matt Reeves’ theatrical follow-up – a period in which human civilization crumbles as the Ape community continues to grow in number, strength and intelligence – Greg Keyes has crafted a gripping and emotional read.
The story – written from both sides of the conflict – feels fresh, exciting and unpredictable, and the characters, thanks in particular to their often troubled backstories, make for complex and three dimensional beasts. I found myself far more sympathetic to Dawn’s most contemptable antagonist having glimpsed what he had been through. Nods to both recent films and the classic original series helps Keyes solidify the in-universe continuity and induce knowing smiles.
It’s just a pity that lazy proof-reading from publishers Titan Books has led to a number of glaringly obvious and easily-corrected typos throughout the 300page novel. Such unprofessionalism sadly pulls you out of the action, even when the narrative is so strong, reducing a five star novel into, at my generous best, a four star product.