Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Prequel: Firestorm Book Review

Capture2011’s Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was a surprisingly good reboot of the original franchise, most famous for that epic ending to the first film way back in 1968. Technology has come a long way since then, and Andy Serkis and co lead the franchise into a whole new direction with their performance capture. With the movie a success both critically and commercially, it was a no-brainer that a sequel would be coming, and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes will be released on 17 July 2014. (To find out what you can look forward to in the new Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes movie and for a chat with its star Andy Serkis, click here!)

With the sequel taking place over a decade after Rise, there’s a lot of ground to cover between the two movies. To fill that gap, Titan Books have released Firestorm, the official prequel to Dawn. Written by Greg Keyes, Firestorm has the tough job of getting everyone up to date on how we get to the events of Dawn, the developments between humans and the apes, and how exactly things end up so bad. It’s a roller coaster ride of tragic proportions and one you won’t want to put down.

What’s It About? Firestorm focuses on a lot of characters that aren’t in the movies but still play a hugely significant role in the direction the apes take. I’m sure many of you have seen the trailer for Dawn and it mentions a deadly virus, which is the main plotline here in the book. Whether it’s the difficulties in a local ER or the wider picture from the government, Firestorm follows many different viewpoints and allows the reader to once again get a healthy dose of both sides of the story – humans and apes. This is one thing that Rise did so well, not just relying on one dimensional characters, but giving you reasons to support both sides of this potential war. Here we once again get taken on a journey of discovery, still trying to understand the movements of the apes and why they do what they do, and that’s something really fascinating. The ‘Simian Flu’ has a hugely significant impact on the world and here we get to see first hand how so much suffering is brought about.KOBA-V_(6)

Verdict: I found Firestorm to exceed all expectations when it came to action, development of characters, and the depth it went into regarding the background of the apes – especially Koba. There are so many new dimensions given to some of the apes that it’s almost sad that these details may well get restricted to a book. Hopefully the new movie touches on some of the journey that Koba has taken in particular, as it gives you a whole new outlook on a situation. Keyes does a stellar job of maintaining a balance, but the most intriguing parts are where you get inside the heads of the apes, as you don’t get nearly as much communication in the movies, and understandably so. While there are links to Rise here, there’s a freedom to explore that only a book can give.

Final Words: As with any book related to a movie franchise, Firestorm isn’t essential, but it’s certainly one of the best ones in recent memory. It has the same intriguing vibe that Rise gave and manages to be as tense and action-packed as the movies. Reading the prequel will only enhance your enjoyment of the sequel, and it has made me even more excited to see Dawn when it arrives in cinemas. Keyes does a fantastic job here of capturing everything that was right with Rise and running with it.

Firestorm is out now from Titan Books.