I don’t think it’s too far off-base to say that no one really expected 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes to be any good. Did we really need a prequel to the other films? Wasn’t Tim Burton’s remake bad enough? But when the film hit theaters, we were all pleasantly surprised to find it was actually quite good, and left us wanting more. Because the film was a hit, bringing in nearly $500 million at the box office, a sequel was quickly put into production and is set to be released in July. If you’ve seen the trailer, it appears that this next film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, is set some ways into the future, deep into the war that will decide who has dominion over the earth – man or beast (Spoiler Alert! The monkeys win.) But that means there’s quite a bit of story left untold. Luckily, Titan Books has released Firestorm, the sequel to the prequel that’s a prequel to the sequel, to help fill in the gaps.
If you didn’t follow my prequel-sequel description there, essentially Firestorm is a bridge novel, that tells the story of what happens in between Rise and Dawn. It mainly deals with the spread of the virus, the breakdown of civilization, and the survival of the apes that went on a rampage at the end of the first film. The story follows a handful of people – a doctor, a journalist, a couple of primatologists, a mayoral candidate, and a band of mercenaries – in the final days of humanity.