16th Jul2014

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The Official Novelization’ Book Review

by Paul Metcalf

Written by Alex Irvine | Published by Titan Books | Format: Paperback, 320pp


At the end of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm by Greg Keyes it was evident that the Simian Flu was taking over, the human race was in self-destruction mode and the apes had finally found a home that could sustain them and most importantly keep the dangers of man away.  Moving onto the novelisation of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Alex Irvine years have passed, as far as the apes are aware man is gone (from San Francisco at least) and even though life is hard, they are building up a sustainable life.

The life they have built for themselves though is soon shattered with the appearance of humans, leading to one of their own being shot and wounded.  Much to Koba’s disgust Caesar looks to show strength but not violence, warning the humans to leave and not come back.  The humans soon return though looking for Caesar’s permissions and help to work on getting electricity back on in San Francisco by restarting the old dam system.  Agreeing to work with the humans to get the power back on, Caesar’s aim is to make sure the humans get what they want then leave, but Koba has other plans and will do anything to start a war by any means necessary.

The most noticeable thing about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The Official Novelization is the shift in power, San Francisco has been through its apocalypse and the humans exist in small numbers.  Although the apes aren’t exactly a huge force they now have the dominating power that the humans would rather not face.  The real danger is the power struggle in the ape’s ranks.  Koba has his reasons for hating humans and they were revealed in Firestorm as well as the previous movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  His distrust of the humans are understandable and it comes as no surprise that he wants them gone.  Although not all humans are bad, and the survivors certainly aren’t the ones that abused to him they are the same ones that broke his spirit and trust, to him they represent a time he finally gave up, something that he will never forgive or forget.

The humans have the same struggles, though some do trust the apes and look to a future where they can work together, there are ones that distrust them and want them gone.  To the humans it’s easy to blame the apes not only for the flu, but for everything else that goes wrong for them.  If there is a weakness in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes I’d argue that it is the human side of the story.  The real struggle for dominance is in the ranks of the apes, if the humans never made an appearance in the story I doubt we’d really care that much, they have little importance in the new world order.  It is interesting though and does relate to the original Planet of the Apes when we notice just how weak the humans are.  The humans may have guns and weaponry, but the apes have the intelligence to use the weapons too.  If anything humans are arrogant in their belief that they are the dominant force, the new world in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is not controlled by them, the dominant force is now ape.

Reading Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: The Official Novelization by Alex Irvine is interesting because more can be said in written word than is put on the screen.  An example of this is in the original ending that is included in the novelisation but has been changed in the movie.  The cut ending is interesting because it hints at a future of war and conflict, but I can also understand why it was removed as the ending provided is more focused on the apes themselves and not on what is to come.  Whatever version you prefer though it’s easy to see that there is plenty to come after the new dawn, and this is a future where humans have no real importance at all.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Alex Irvine is available now from Titan Books.

****½  4.5/5

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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