Author: A. Lee Martinez
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Read an Excerpt (<-click first and then access the Open Book feature)
Watch out for deadly garden gnomes, yeti’s that loathe vanilla, trolls, and possessed cats while the fate of the universe rests on the shoulders of three unlikely people: a disgruntled Cryptobiological Containment & Rescue Services (CCRC) worker, a paper gnome named Chester, and Judy, an incognizant mundane Food Plus Mart worker. (by the way, she’s great at stacking cans of vegetables). Not exactly the A Team when saving our collective butts. But hey… it’s all we’ve got.
Monster is not your ordinary kind of guy and in between his supernatural color changes, definitely brings new meaning to the word apathetic. But you’ll adore him. The two failings of this incredibly interesting character are his conscience and his selfishness. These are a point of conflict for Martinez. Which is why Chester fills the role of sensei so nicely. Not that Monster listens that well to him. Will he end up doing the right thing? Will he help Judy step up to the plate and fulfill her destiny? Or will he just do his job, swig back a beer, and veg out in front of the TV while the universe collapses around him? Monster’s man-cave guttural mentality is immensely endearing, and watching him stumble over basic rights and wrongs will bring a smile to your face.
Martinez has taken whimsy, humor, and sci-fi and melded it into one big Scooby sandwich of a story that you’ll rub your belly and belch loudly after devouring. The efforts of Monster, Chester, and Judy to outwit their arch nemesis Lotus, snag the universe stone, and continually battle summoned cryptos is like riding The Colossus at Magic Mountain and having a few wheels break off mid-flight. Scary, but fun. I LOVED Monster. I was constantly amused and amazed at how Martinez makes his world building so effortless. How the heck does he do it?
The pace is continually zippy and entertaining, the text snappy as Martinez unabashedly gives us a window into his quick fire mind. I was strongly reminded of Christopher Moore, but I have to say it (don’t kill me after the fact) that I think Martinez is hella funnier. Way. The Post-It's, the dialogue, And inventive. And I strongly suspect he ate up comic books as a young sprat. I now consider myself a lifelong devotee.
A Fiendishly Bookish Review