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?
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.