Ryushi, a planet where just over 100 humans live, farming Rhynth that they then ship back to other human worlds. The planet is hot and dry, the heat from twin suns giving it a barren landscape, where the only valuable thing for humans is the Rhynth, four legged beasts not too disimilar to terran Rhinos. However, with the cargo ship due to collect the shipment a rancher discovers something strange, a spider-like creature with a tail, dead near part of his heard.
Dachande, a blooded yautja (Predator), is on a ship heading for Ryushi with numerous young ready to prove themselves in battle. But the battle they seek is one of their creating – a robotic pod is sent ahead of their ship carrying eggs that will in turn create their prey. Little do they know that the humans will turn this hunt from a rite of passage to a fight for life.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I picked up this book. I’ve enjoyed both film franchises and played some of the many games relating to both of these movie greats, but never read any of the books or comics relating to them. Although I enjoyed this book, it really doesn’t bring much new to the scene – admittedly I’m reading it over 13 years after release and since then many new details have come along.
The book follows two main stories: that of the humans on Ryushi, their life and how the arrival of two different alien species tears them apart; and that of the yautja, their point of view and how what they do fits in here. The human side of the story is fairly well written, although a little shallow at times, and really does all it needs to do in the setting up of the Aliens vs Predators. The human characters are also shallow and no real effort has gone into giving them depth, although the main character, a female named Machiko Noguchi, has a history and although developed within the story, she still feels two dimensional. The yautja also suffer from this fate and it’s the main character of Dachande that is at the forefront of the development.
I really didn’t know what to think about the yautja parts of the story, they seemed okay, but if you look further into it you’ll come up with a host of questions, mainly – why do they think humans are so formidable? The reasoning given on the most part is entirely from a human perspective and isn’t ‘alien’ enough.
On the plus side, his book does give plenty of action and introduces plenty of possiblities, some of which will hopefully rise to the surface in the two sequel books. I particularly like the image of the yautja battling the aliens and for the most part it is what I wanted to see in the AvP film (although from the trailer it looks like we’ll get it in the sequel). On the down side, it’s a shallow story with shallow characters.
Despite this I enjoyed it quite a bit and have already started on the sequel. It’s the ideas that hook me with this sort of thing, especially when I enjoy the source material so much.