BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Bea Reviews Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash & Michael Okon

Bea's Book Nook, Review, Monsterland, Michael Phillip Cash
Publisher: Michael Phillip Cash
Source: the author in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 3rd, 2015 
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.

Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong?

Bea's Book Nook, Monsterland, Review, Michael Okon
Series: Monsterland #1 
Publisher: WordFire Press
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: October 13th, 2017 
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Kobo | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Welcome to Monsterland, the scariest place on earth.

When world markets are decimated by a crippling plague, philanthropist, and billionaire businessman, Vincent Konrad decides to place monsters in a theme park setting to promote education and tolerance. Copper Valley is chosen as the primary site for the park in the United States.

Wyatt Baldwin, a high school senior is dying to go to the opening and when he lands special passes to the park, he and his friends are expecting the experience of a lifetime.

After all, in a theme park where real zombies, werewolves, and vampires are the main attractions, what could possibly go wrong?

My Thoughts:

I received the Cash book, unsolicited, a few years back. Then I received another book of the same name, the Okon book, a few weeks ago and it reminded I had the first book so I read this one. Then I went to start the book arrived recently, and realized it's the exact same book, but different publishers and the author changed his surname. Apparently it was picked up by a new publisher and the new revised version is the start of a new series. The original version is a stand alone, while the new one is now the first of a series. There were some minor changes including small plot changes. I read the Cash version cover to cover but mostly skimmed the Okon one. 

The story was slow, with the first two thirds of the book mostly laying the groundwork, introducing the characters and the species, setting up the park and getting characters in place. The pace was steady but glacial and the action didn't start until about page 150. The teens were  realistic, behaving impulsively, erratically and thoughtlessly. Wyatt, one of the leads, is rude to his stepfather and both rude and mean to his friend Melvin. So much so that I wasn't sure why Melvin put up with it and hung around with him. Granted Melvin could be annoying but Wyatt's behavior was uncalled for. His part in the story took an unexpected turn and his character ended up both vicious and yet just and loyal. 

Wyatt showed a pretty clear head when events at the park got out of hand. And more, he showed some compassion for the beings at the park:

Really, what was so special about this place? he thought for a minute. Each of the main attractions were tragic examples of life gone wrong through sickness or disease. (page 139, the Cash version)

Some of the characterization was cliched, particularly that of Victor, the man behind the park. Actually, he was a mix of surprises and cliches, but mostly he was one dimensional. I would have liked more back stories on the plague that we hear about and the various beings. Cash did do a good job making me both care about them and be leery of them. Though I'm not sure why anyone thought putting all these potentially dangerous beings under one roof, so to speak, was a good idea. And their imprisonment raises all sorts of ethical and moral questions which Cash/Okon only lightly touches on. The books are aimed at teens and they are certainly able to handle the concepts and problems raised. Perhaps future books in the series will address them.

"Monsterland" was an intriguing concept with intriguing beings but the characterizations were weak and the pace was glacial. With a couple of exceptions, it was not a scary story. The horror, for me, was the people being locked up but the story itself was not frightening.

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