Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monster by A. Lee Martinez

Monster: A Novel by A. Lee Martinez. Orbit, 2009. 342 pp, ISBN 978-0-316-04991-7

Hello! My name is Andrea, and I am a guest contributor. I'm also a friend of Emily and Emma. I read a mix of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a ridiculous quantity of manga. As far as non-fiction goes, I tend to like things about animals, particularly birds and cats.

In very simple terms, this book is about two characters who end up having to save the universe from an entity who could best be described as an immortal crazy cat lady. It's basically an adventure novel, but with humor and a large dose of cryptozoology.

The main characters are a guy named Monster and a woman named Judy. Monster works for a branch of Animal Control which specializes in monsters and magical creatures. Judy, on the other hand, works in a supermarket. Their interactions begin when Judy finds a yeti eating all of the food in the freezer isle, and from that point on, fate keeps throwing their lots together. However, the story doesn't turn into a romance. I was actually surprised, since I'm used to the pattern of male and female characters pairing up when they end up in these types of situations. It was kind of an interesting change of pace.

What I loved about this novel was not so much the plot (which was fine), but the mythical creatures that kept popping up everywhere. There are a lot of them, and many of them are quite humorous. They are described in plenty of detail, but the descriptions aren't rambling and don't take over the book. I'm the sort of person who enjoys watching the hunting, gathering and shelter-building parts of the show Survivor, but couldn't care less about the game itself. In a similar manner, I loved reading about how Monster and Judy tried (and occasionally failed) to control the strange creatures that kept disrupting their lives. My favorite creature in the book was probably the imp, which was described as a cat-like creature with big ears and a fox face. I also liked Chester, a paper gnome who was Monster's partner at work. He reminded me of a shikigami, but he was not created by Monster and had a will of his own.

I would recommend this book if you are in the mood for a comic adventure, or if you enjoy cryptozoology in general. I don't know that it is a must-read, but it's definitely enjoyable. The writing style is not too complicated and it doesn't take a long time to read. I read it over the course of a slow day at work.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for humoring me and signing up! This book sounds really entertaining. Somehow it also sounds a lot like the Christopher Moore book I just read, what with the monsters and the hilarity.


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