Friday, 3 March 2017

Book Review: Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash


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?

My Review: 
I so much wanted to love this book. The cover is great in that 'gates of jurassic Park' kind of way, it sounded like just my thing-a themepark with monsters, and it was recommended by friends. Sadly I didn't like anything much about it and only finished it because it was short!

A plague has turned innocent people into zombies and nobody knows what to do to contain them until rich doctor Vincent Conrad decides to open a theme park and keep the dead as a 'safe' exhibit for curious people to look at without putting themselves in danger. The zombies are fed regularly and kept away from the human population. Then, wild werewolves living happily in the swamps are added to the exhibits along with starving desperate vampires who have been unable to find prey and get offered a new life. Monsterland is about to face its Grand Opening to an excited public.

The characters are frankly appalling. The story centres on Wyatt, his family and friends. Wyatt and his whiny brother Josh do nothing but fight and cause trouble for their mother and trodden-on stepfather Carter. Carter is the only one I actually liked and despite treating the kids well, they show little gratitude to him. Then we have Wyatt's idiot friends Howard and Melvin who are an insult to nerds. All these three do is have an ongoing fight over which is the best monster at the park. It goes on and on and on until I'm ready to scream and feed them all to the zombies. Add in the wonderful teenage love angst and I was gritting my teeth. Yes Wyatt the nerd has caught the eye of gorgeous Jade whose boyfriend is school bully Nolan. Her equally gorgeous friend for some insane reason fancies one of the other nerds too. I can't remember their names.

After a full 114 pages of teenage fights and angst, nothing much was really happening. We get bits about the vampires and werewolves who are captive and hating their new environment. The vampires volunteered to come to the park for the regular meals but are being turned into creatures to be ridiculed for entertainment instead so they want out. The angry werewolves are also determined to escape. These bits were a lot more interesting that Wyatt and friends but their story gets to play second fiddle to angst which was disappointing.

When we finally get into Monsterland there is a lot of wandering around, more about Wyatt and Jade and finally we get to the werewolf exhibit. It was reasonably interesting and it's the start of the disaster as the werewolves escape and start taking their revenge. However the twist in their story was obvious from the minute the wolves in captivity were first described! The vampires I kind of found a bit pathetic overall and the dramatic scenes of them rebelling were pretty poor compared to the werewolves. I especially wondered how on earth one of the nerds managed to get a pencil through the ribcage of the vampire to kill it. Oh please! And there was so little zombie action!

If I had been writing this, the story would have begun with everyone at the Monsterland gates, no dumb romances and teenage angst or wasting time on stupid things. I would have split the group in three, each at one monster exhibit and switched the action between them as hell broke loose. And my version would have been scary. Very scary. It was a nice idea but for me the execution was sadly lacking. I won't be trying anything else by the author.  

Read December 2016. 
star rating photo: 1 star orange-1star.jpg

14 comments:

  1. It's sad that you didn't like this more. I can totally see you and I going on an trip to an amusement park that features real monsters - that would be fun huh?

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    1. Oh yes, that would be a fun day out! I would visit a park like this just to scare myself but I'd be very alert for trouble!

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  2. That's too bad - it sounds like a great concept. I haven't read this one, but I did enjoy 2 of his earlier novels, Brood X & Stillwell.

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    1. If it had been adult characters instead of dumb teens it might have worked better. I was disappointed as I'd looked forward to reading it. I hate that!

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  3. Bummer! This one did sound really good. Sorry to hear that it wasn't executed properly tho. I hate when that happens! I hope your next read is better

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    1. I think it's one of those books you'll either love or hate...sadly I fell into the latter!

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  4. A pencil through a vampire's ribcage all the way into his heart? That's quite a talent that kid has, haha. I think I got this as a freebie, but I've seen a lot of meh or negative reviews for it. I like the idea of the park, but everything I've read about the characters makes it sound like this wouldn't be for me. The werewolf and vampire stuff does sound more interesting, that's too bad it was such a secondary thing. I like the sound of your version ;-)

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    1. My version would be the scariest park visit EVER! Heh! I'm twisted like that...A few people recommended it to me but I would've read it no matter what as the concept sounded so good. It's a pity I didn't like it but such is life! And reading...

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  5. Sorry this one was such a disappointment. It really sounded like it should have had a lot of potential.

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    1. Yeah it's a shame...it was such a good idea. Ooh I'd love to visit theme parks with monsters in them...or dinosaurs...

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  6. I saw that cover and I was like ooh that's what I'm talking about! Got the Jurassic PArk vibe. Sorry to hear it wasn't better. Irritating character are the worst. Too bad- sounds like it had potential!

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    1. I hate irritating children in real life as well! I have no patience when I see parents letting kids misbehave in public! I'm a bit of a psycho when I venture outside...

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  7. Sounds like an amazing premise - too bad the execution was so lacking. What a bummer.

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    1. I know other people liked it. I just couldn't get past the dumb characters!

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