Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the author for review consideration.
Dark forces are converging on the sleepy town of Autumn’s Hallow. Monsters in the woods, mad scientists on the loose and sinister minions lurk. Four young friends must band together to uncover a secret plot that threatens them, the town they live in and the people they love. It’s up to Blaine Davis, Daschle Gaunt, Shelley Merry and Drake Harker, heirs to a fantastic collection of powers to stop an evil that threatens to consume the world. Can the Monster Squad thwart the evil Victor von Frankenstein in time? It will take friendship, courage and smarts to find out. (Summary via Amazon.com)
This first book in the Monster Squad series is pretty great. It’s filled with a little bit of everything–monsters, aliens, robots, supernatural powers, evil scientists, plucky preteens, and more. In Monster Squad: The Iron Golem (and I’ll admit I had to look up what a golem is), Blaine, Dash, and Shelley start to notice strange things happening to them and their small town–and the creepy Grimm Academy students aren’t helping. Interspersed with these modern-day chapters are flashbacks to the 1930s, in which Mina, Peter, Edge, Lonn, and Ian discover something mysterious near Area 51.
One of the things I loved about this book, especially about the chapters set in the past, were the small details that made the scenes come alive. Each of the characters was interesting and unique (although some of them were really over the top!). I also loved the many references to famous horror/monster literature, especially in the characters’ names: Mina Harker, Blaine Stoker, Shelley Merry, Bellamy Poe, Tempest Van Helsing, and so on. I’m sure if I had read more of these books (I’ve read Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and half of Dracula before I gave it up), I would have gotten more out of these references, but they were fun nonetheless.
Reading this book now, I kind of wanted more out of it–more subtlety, maybe, or more complexity?–thus my rating of “forgettable.” But let me tell you, if I had read this book as a kid, I would have loved it! Blaine, Dash, Kevin, Shelley, and Drake are fun characters, and their adventures are sure to interest any kid, boy or girl, who’s into monsters, aliens, and supernatural powers.
Rating: Good but Forgettable