26th Jun2014

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm’ Book Review

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Greg Keyes | Published by Titan Books | Format: Paperback, 320pp


Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a movie that for some there was no need.  Remakes and re-imaginings are often hated from the moment they are announced and with the fact Planet of the Apes had already been re-worked into a real mess by Tim Burton, why bother? When Rise was released, all questioning stopped, the movie was a hit and a surprisingly good one at that.  Now that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is almost among us the question turns to just what happened between these two movies and what changes society? The answer lies in Greg Keyes novel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm.

Firestorm continues not long after the events of the first film.  With a search taking place in the forest for Caesar and his group he strengthens his numbers and organises them for survival, dealing with the human threat the best he can.  The humans have their own problems though in the form of the Simian Flu that has spread and is slowly taking hold of not only San Francisco but cities all over the world.  As society breaks down and the origins of the outbreak are leaked by what is left of the press, both the humans and apes have to find their place in a world that is changing forever where the apes may just have the upper hand.

The trailers for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes shows a world heading into war between apes and man, to get there though there has to be a setting of the scene for this battle to begin.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm does a good job at this fuelled by the reader’s desire to know just what is going to happen.  It’s interesting to see how the apes cope with the new world that is forming around them, they have a desire just to be left alone and to finally have a home but they also notice that the human world is restructuring around them.  Caesar is a character that has had a family before, but in many ways was a character that had to fend for himself.  To be a successful leader he has to learn to work with others, this is something that is also examined in Firestorm as he has to adapt, learn to listen and learn to understand what it takes to become a respected leader within his community.

As well as Caesar we also learn more about Koba, the ape from the first film with the damaged eye who tended to come across as angry and dangerous.  We learn about his past as a performing ape, but an intelligent one who can sign and could communicate when people chose to listen to him.  His mistreatment by humans goes a long way to explaining where his anger stems and why he does what he does.  Koba’s actions in the trailer show how important he is to the plot of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and in many ways he is one of the “Firestorms” that are important to the new movie.

On the human side of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm we see an examination into the destruction of their society.  As the Simian Flu slowly takes the world city by city, San Francisco is one of the first to be hit hard as it is the origin of the virus.  Hunting the apes down is an attempt to cover this up, and this cover up shows the very nature of the problem for the humans.  The Ape issue was of human design as was the creation of the Simian Flu so the fall of the human dominance in society in many ways is not down to the apes who they try to blame but themselves.  Caesar may rise and create his dominant ape society, but he is only filling in the vacuum the humans create.

Reading Firestorm then watching the trailers for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes it’s easy to see that this book has brought story-lines together from both movies and made sense of a lot of the questions that will be asked.  Koba’s attack we see in the trailer shows a good use of his history, and this is something that works in Firestorm’s strength because it is here we learn about his skills.  For fans this is a book that not only strengthens the story from Rise, but connected events up to Dawn in a well thought out way that leaves you looking forward to the continuation of the rise of Caesar and the battle of ape vs. man.

***** 5/5

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm by Greg Keyes is available now from Titan Books.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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