– Ryan Lockwood,Author of Below
“With Michael Crichton passing, Steve Alten, author of the popular Meg franchise, has enjoyed a monopoly since 1997. This changed in 2014 with the emergence of Max Hawthorne’s Kronos Rising, a gripping yarn about a hungry pliosaur terrorizing a coastal community. The success of Kronos Rising proved there’s plenty of room for at least two big ‘fish’ in the sea as far as crafting monster stories is concerned.” -Geek Ireland
Then there’s the monster. The first clue readers get about its size comes from Amara researching a fragment of the creature’s tooth. According to her calculations, the whole tooth would weigh about 8 pounds. The approximate size of the monster, when we finally encounter it, is more than twice the length and width of a typical city bus. This titanic beast is fast and vicious — at one point it takes down a massive bull sperm whale with little effort. However, the greater monsters in the book are the humans who want to hunt the beast down and kill it. “Kronos Rising” is a solid read. Hawthorne is good at writing action sequences and keeps the story moving at a brisk pace. Reminiscent of “Jurassic Park” or “Jaws,” “Kronos Rising” shows Hawthorne really did his homework to bring the creature to life in the story. He occasionally writes from the viewpoint of the monster in a way that pulls readers in. It’s a good adventure story and a pretty easy read, which doesn’t slow down or bore the reader. ”
KRONOS RISING is written very well, in the manner of a veteran writer who knows how to weave a mesmerizing story. The wording appears carefully chosen, and each sentence blends with the next like an intricate design on an ornate tapestry. This allows the story to flow quickly and smoothly, which in turn makes the 500+ pages fly by. I was finished with the book before I even realized it.
The characters are well thought out and believable, damaged individuals with personalities many of us can relate to on various levels. Jake and Amara both carry old wounds, both mental and physical, which makes the reader care about them. On the other side, the villains (aside from the creature) are devious and self-centered, obsessed individuals who focus more on personal gain rather than what’s right versus wrong. So in addition to the man-versus-nature dynamic, the reader also gets a nice dose of good-versus-evil. I like this combination, as it gives several focal points to the story.
KRONOS RISING has plenty of action and some downright terrifying scenes. I can’t even count how many times people wind up staring at the creature’s massive jaws as they are about to crunch down on them. And every time, I inwardly cringed. As much as I love to be on or under the water, I have to confess this possibility (being eaten alive by a sea predator) is always in the back of my mind. As unlikely as it is, the thought of it makes me shudder. Thus, each scene of these scenes in the book elicits a powerful emotion for me.
With heart-stopping intensity and insane action that will leave you begging for air, KRONOS RISING is a major win for me. I recommend this to anyone and everyone looking for a good read. Hawthorne is a major talent, and I cannot wait to see what he does next. In the meantime, pick up a copy of KRONOS RISING today; you won’t be disappointed. It is available now in a variety of formats.”
While it must be said that creature feature novels tend to be of a significantly higher standard than what is being churned out by the SyFy Channel et al, that isn’t exactly a glowing seal of quality when you consider just how low the bar has been set by TV movies. Just because a story has been published on paper, as opposed to via the medium of film, doesn’t mean it is any good. Indeed, there are plenty of trashy monster novels out there that are less valuable than the paper they are printed on in terms of storytelling. Thankfully though, Kronos Rising is not one of them. Kronos Rising tells he story of a prehistoric marine reptile (a pliosaur to be more specific) which has inexplicably shown up in the modern times and started terrorizing a coastal community. At first glance, said plot isn’t a whole lot different from Peter Benchley’s Jaws which was first published in 1974, albeit with a hungry reptile in place of a ‘rogue’ great white shark. However, the old saying, “It’s not what you have, it’s what you do with it” springs to mind in relation to writer Max Hawthorne’s novel. In order to keep things fresh, Hawthorne uses a wide variety of interesting techniques to help Kronos Rising stand out from the crowd. Throughout the course of the book, we are treated to intermittent ‘flashback’ chapters which take place during the time of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago which, gradually, reveal clues as to how and why the mighty pliosaur has suddenly appeared in the 21st Century. There are also chapters which are written from the perspective of the beast itself which portray it as a living, breathing creature as opposed to an unrealistic monstrous eating machine. These sections elevate the pliosaur from being a simple plot device to one of the book’s main characters. While readers may not necessarily find themselves rooting for the giant predatory marine reptile, they can at least sympathise with it to an extent and understand why it does what it does.
As far as the human element is concerned, the roster of characters contains a varied assortment of people with all sorts of goals and agendas in order to keep things interesting. Outside of our two main protagonists, a well-meaning and likable police sheriff with a dark past and a feisty marine biologist, we meet everyone from corrupt politicians and big game hunters to sadistic mercenaries and morally conflicted whalers. While some of these characters do toe the line perhaps a little bit close to being what could be considered archetypes, there is enough ‘page time’ and character development to go around meaning that they feel like actual people as opposed to cookie cutter cut outs designed to act as little more than pliosaur fodder.
Of course, all the well written character development in the world would be of little use in a book about a gigantic prehistoric predator run amok in the modern times if they were not accompanied by exciting set pieces. It is in this department where Kronos Rising excels. Between high speed chases, fist fights, shoot outs and underwater battles between giant denizens of the deep, there is no shortage of action sequences to be had, with the very best ones saved for the last few chapters as the story escalates toward its epic conclusion. While there are plenty of monster stories out there that feature lots of wanton carnage and gore (with credit to Kronos Rising, it resists the temptation to go overboard with the blood n’ guts, which keeps things from becoming farcical), what sets Max Hawthorne’s novel of maritime horror apart from most modern creature features is that the author displays a sense of respect for the source material. Hawthorne has clearly put in a lot of research into his chosen topic in an attempt to make it seem as realistic as possible. While the concept of a pliosaur surviving into the modern times is unlikely at best and ludicrous at worst, Hawthorne lays out his case for it in such a way that everything seems reasonably plausible within the context of the book – a masterclass in the suspension of disbelief. Kronos Rising is reminiscent of the work of Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park, Congo) in that it weaves together an exciting and gripping yarn which, despite depicting fantastical subject matter, doesn’t insult the reader’s intelligence by appealing to the lowest common denominator.”
– Krank.ie Review
This past spring has seen the rebirth of Godzilla as he stormed his way back into theaters. Next summer, Universal Studios plans to unveil its latest entry in the blockbusting Jurassic Park franchise–Jurassic World! Throw in recent releases like Cloverfield and Pacific Rim, alongside novels like Steve Alten’s Meg series, and it seems that the kaiju (basically prehistoric giant monsters) genre is far from extinct.
Hawthorne definitely demonstrates this as he unleashes an inconceivable threat that time forgot onto an unsuspecting modern world. Written in the same vein as Jaws and Meg, Kronos Rising takes every Loch Ness Monster myth and sea monster rumor up to eleven and beyond. His story deals with a fictional Florida fishing town that suddenly finds itself under siege from a creature out of time’s abyss. Identified as a surviving specimen of pliosaur, the predator wreaks havoc of primeval proportions as it lays waste to the docking marina and the fishing piers that are the town’s lifeblood, snacking on more than a handful of unlucky boaters, fishermen, and later, monster hunters along the way.
What truly makes this story hit home on an intrinsic level is the treatment Hawthorne endows his creature. He presents it as more than just a mindless eating machine. It is one of the greatest super predators in Earth’s history, able to engulf a T-rex, or a great white shark without breaking a sweat. At the same time, it’s a cold, calculating, almost sentient entity. Hawthorne doesn’t personify his creature, but he does a great job of presenting certain events from its point of view. You can almost imagine it plotting its next attack, figuring out how best to tackle its prey, human and otherwise. It adds a sense of urgency to the story.
This treatment extends to Hawthorne’s characters as well. From Jake Braddock, a sheriff with a troubled history, to Dr. Amara Takagi, a marine biologist crusading to defend all sea creatures from man’s folly, to the domineering and sociopathic Karl Von Freiling, a mercenary animal collector with a surprising connection to Amara. In addition to deciding how to deal with the primordial threat in their midst, each character brings a backstory and their own demons who they must confront, raising the tension exponentially.
Kronos Rising is no mere, everyday horror story; it is a tale that balances and combines every possible literary conflict without missing a beat or losing its purpose. And that purpose is to scare the living hell out of its readers. Be warned, if Jaws made you afraid to venture into the ocean, Kronos Rising will make you never want to go near a pool, bathtub, or spa ever again.”
I thought Kronos Rising would be another unrealistic example of this genre: predictable, over the top, and simply inaccurate, but the book was, in fact, a complete surprise. It is a classic setting: a small American town on the east coast, where things are simple and straightforward and haven’t changed in some time. Jake Braddock is the town sheriff, a former Olympic fencer who lost his wife in a tragic accident and has made some bad choices in his life, but now he’s on the straight and narrow and does just fine dealing with simple, small-time crimes, until that all changes. People are starting to disappear out on the water and at first it seems like there might be a man-eating shark on the loose; the evidence seems to point to something bigger, much bigger. And when an uneaten part of a rich senator’s son shows up, things really begin to heat up. The media gets involved, wanting to know what creature is behind the attacks. Braddock enlists the help of a pretty scientist who has shown up with her crew from the World Cetacean Society; she has some evidence revealing that the creature is not just big, but enormous; a surviving relic from the time of the dinosaurs known as the Kronosaurus queenslandicus. It is hard to believe, but the evidence is irrefutable. The media has a field day with this announcement, not believing them until the giant creature shows up in the harbor and wreaks havoc upon its residents. The rich senator calls in an elite group to take care of this creature, enlisting the help of Braddock and the scientist, though the sheriff knows they’re getting in way over their heads.
The characters in Kronos Rising are well developed, each with their own complicated backgrounds that have a strong bearing on their current lives. The key to a good story is conflict, and this book is full of it, as the characters come into conflict with each other, which, at times, feels a little contrived, but nevertheless makes for addictive, page-turning reading. Max Hawthorne has also done his research into marine biology and ocean life, which all helps make his characters more knowledgeable and interesting and the whole world more believable, even if there is a giant monster eating people in it. The writing is compelling and action-filled, so even though the book is well over 500 pages long, it is still an addictive read. While the last third of the book goes off the rails a little, and some of the characters become almost caricatures, overall the book is a great addition to this genre, worthy of sitting on the shelf next to Peter Benchley’s Jaws. 4.5 stars (out of 5)”