Bit by bit over the past couple years, Raffael Coronelli has been writing one of the more original takes on the kaiju genre in fiction. That world exists sometime after our present world has perished and the titans that are linked to the spirit of the earth – titans that play some role in both our salvation and destruction – have largely disappeared back into myth and religion. The stories (Daikaiju Yuki, Y2K: Yuki Conquers the World, Mowka, and now this collection) tell the tale of this fantastical world in small doses from multiple perspectives, with not one of the volumes thus far topping 250 pages. It’s an interesting but enjoyable way to present a new sci-fi/fantasy world – a world that is deep, well-drawn, and familiar yet also full of new discoveries. The manner in which Coronelli presents the world in these smaller, but regularly released volumes allows us to keep up with the story while also not becoming overwhelmed by any one particular chapter. With the latest release of the ongoing saga, we get four standalone stories set within the realm of Daikaiju Yuki, set some years prior to the events of the original book.
The title story, Scythian Frost, starts us off on the best possible note. Set in an arctic outpost, the story focuses on a trio of men who walk out onto the frozen tundra looking for a fabled temple that is rumored to house a dormant kaiju god. It’s a dark, somber story about men at the edge of the world venturing into the unknown. My kind of jam. This is the best story of the collection.
Also strong is story two, Outrigger, which is an oceanic adventure over troubled waters. A two-man vessel takes a ship over sleeping leviathans, disbelieving the maritime horror stories of their existence in these waters. But they probably should’ve charted a different course. Outrigger is thrilling and features a pair of unlikely kaiju antagonists that I quite enjoyed meeting.
Lair of the Devourer is a jungle river adventure looking for a fabled crocodile kaiju while threats of local warlords threaten all involved. This is the one story where I really felt like it could’ve benefited from a longer length and more depth. It’s not bad, but there’s a rushed quality to the story that’s not present in the first two stories.
The shortest story is Thyrus the Beast of Umbria (previously published in the Mokwa paperback), an action/horror chase sequence with a mother and daughter on the run from giant wolves in the night. I really like this one. It’s short but satisfying.
The collection finishes up with The Pantheon Arrives! which is about the escape from a place of work under attack by kaiju, with the desperate hope for the arrival of the land’s protector kaiju. This is the weirdest of the bunch, complete with bizarre clam kaiju and a ‘wait what?’ twist regarding its characters that has me asking a lot of questions. More than any of the other stories (including my favorite, Scythian Frost), this one seems to build the most lore for the world of the series its set in.
I quite enjoyed the collection. As with all anthologies, you’re going to have your favorites and least favorites, and I definitely have my picks. But on the whole it’s very solid. Coronelli has grown considerably as a writer in the two years since Daikaiju Yuki, here crafting some truly special science fiction/fantasy. For kaiju geeks like myself, the Scythian Frost collection is a real treat, giving us one strange story of adventure and wonder after the next.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of fiction and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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