Surely an unexpecting employee discovering a Yeti in the freezer of the local supermarket is a great way to start a book, but when there are three Yeti – one whose head is exploded via baseball bat, two overtired employees, one blue man, and one paper gnome all in the first chapter… well color me intrigued. From start to finish, Monster had me hooked.

It’s not everyday that you discover magic exists, or maybe it is when you’re a light cognizant such as Judy is. What Judy is about to find out, along with crpytobiological rescue agents Monster (the blue man) and Chester (the paper gnome) is that she is not just a light cog – she is so much more. Like the key to saving humanity from facing the rest of life as… cats.

Judy has always been something of a screw up, but one night throws everything she’s known for a loop and now she’s constantly being bombarded by cryptobiologicals and being kidnapped by a billion year old Lotus – the individual who thinks turning all of humanity into feline’s will restore order to the universe. Lotus already knows that her place of power is threatened by Judy, and not wanting anyone else to have the power she knows, she is willing to do anything to keep Judy from ascending into that power. Just one problem, Monster. He gets thrown into the mix completely by chance, and Lotus has her work cut out for her trying to figure out the additional man’s place in the events to come, not to mention holding onto a power that’s begun to turn on her.

Monster on the other hand did not sign up for the craziness that became of his introduction to Judy, but he figures out that Judy needs his help. Monster might not be the smartest man alive, and he certainly can’t seem to figure out what is going on with Judy, but he and his trusty partner Chester do what they can to help. Monster just needs to keep his girlfriend – who is comically enough, from the pits of hell – from killing him.

Angels, winged horses, large purple worms (that transport you by swallowing you), a mysterious slab of rock, a mini garden gnome versus imp battle, and a larger cat versus imp battle (those darn fighting imps) are just a few of the bits of the exciting puzzle that is Monster.

Firstly, I have to say I came across this book entirely by luck. Much as we’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover, I definitely bought this book for its cover. I mean, it advertises yeti capture on the cover. I couldn’t say no to that! In light of the fact that I enjoyed the book immensely, I’m considering this one of my best finds yet!

Monster made for a great reading experience. I was so curious to see things come together that I just kept reading and reading, and when I couldn’t read because I had real life stuff to deal with, all I could think about was getting back to the book. I loved the story, the characters, the creatures, the magic… everything. I have only one bone to pick, and it’s with the ending. I have a love/hate relationship with the end. I swore it was going to end one way, or more I hoped it would end the way I wanted it to, but it didn’t. The ending works, and I don’t think it takes away from the story at all, its just not what I anticipated.

That being said, Chester. I just want to talk about Chester for a minute, becase I loved him. He had some of the best lines. Chester takes the body of a paper gnome who can change shapes, but he is actually a non-corporeal entity from another dimension. He’s also a serious smart ass. I’d just like to share my favorite Chester line…

I’ve been coming to this universe a long time now, and in all this time, I’ve seen some very stupid behavior. But then I reminded myself that you’re just bags of meat doing the best you can with what you’ve got. And from that perspective I guess you’re doing all right, even if mostly driven by the same selfish instincts that compel all blobs of marginally sentient protoplasm. It’s just what you are, and I try not to judge you for it.

Bags of meat and sentient protoplasm. I love it.

Bottom line, Monster was a great read. It was a lot of fun and it kept me interested the whole way through. I look forward to reading more from A. Lee Martinez in the future.

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