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

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Bea Reviews A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong

Series: A Royal Guide To Monster Slaying #1
Publisher: Puffin Canada
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository  | iTunes* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

Monster hunting isn't for the faint of heart—the first in a brand-new middle-grade series by NYT bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong.

Twelve-year-old Rowan is next in line to be Queen; her twin brother, Rhydd, to be Royal Monster Hunter. Rowan would give anything to switch places, but the rule is, the oldest child is next in line, even if she is only older by two minutes. She resigns herself to admiring her royal monster hunter aunt's official sword and having tea with dignitaries with her mother, the queen. But a tragic event breaks up longstanding rules, and now Rowan finds herself in hunt of a dangerous gryphon.

Accompanied by a feisty and determined baby jackalope and a giant wolf that barely tolerates her, she sets off on a journey that will see her join forces with other unlikely allies: a boy who has ambitions of his own to hunt monsters, and a girl from a nearby clan with hidden motives for befriending Rowan. It will take all of Rowan's skills, both physical and diplomatic, to keep this journey on track. The future of the kingdom depends on it.


My Thoughts:

"A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying" was a fast-paced adventure story that was also sweet and gentle. There's kidnapping, death, and treachery but also strong familial bonds, caring, loyalty, and compassion. Told from the point of view of Rowan, destined to be the next ruler, we get to know Rowan well, but not her twin, Rhydd. He's less well fleshed out than his sister, and their uncle Heward is a cardboard cliche.

Rowan and her twin Rhydd are bound by societal rules and expectations, to their dismay, but soon they learn about being careful about what you wish for. The book has gentle lessons about kindness, acceptance, compassion, expectations, girl power, and perseverance, but it's not a moralist story. Those themes are woven into grand adventures that are full of danger. Rowan was quick-witted, capable, impulsive, stubborn, and a blend of naivete and maturity, innocence and wisdom. She made mistakes and usually learned from them and grew. At times she seemed older and more mature than I expected for a twelve-year-old.
 
The "monsters", magical creatures really, were very well done and my favorite part of the story. Jacko the jackalope was fierce and adorable, and my heart bled for the warg, Malric. Armstrong took traditional mythological creatures, tweaked them a bit, and made them interesting. The back of the book has a mini field guide to magical creatures, with illustrations, as written by Rowan.

"A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying" was a fun, slightly improbable, but enjoyable fantasy with delightful illustrations. 

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