Monday, August 19, 2013

Monster by A. Lee Martinez, Book Review


As promised, my review of Monster by A Lee Martinez.

The Main character is Monster, a crypto-biological animal control agent…AKA the dog catcher of the magical world) isn’t a lovable character.  Heck, Monster is not even a very likable character. He borders on being a sociopath, with an apathetic attitude towards life.  And he has good reason. He’s in a dead-end job, has a dysfunctional relationship with a succubus who doesn’t enjoy sex with him, and barely makes ends meet. But hey, can’t many of us relate? 

So What's it about?

The story start when monster is called into help Judy: a cynical, unmotivated woman who’s stuck in a going nowhere life. Judy, who’s not part of the paranormal world, finds a Yeti eating ice cream out of the store freezer where she works. Once the job is done Monster goes on with his life, but Judy keeps popping back up with more issues. They are thrown together to save the world from events completely out of their control.

Not everyone will enjoy Monster.  Even readers who have enjoyed Martinez’s other books. While it does have the witty, sometimes dry sense of humor he’s known for, Monster has a deep thread of sadness that seems to run through the book.  It starts with the characters and their complete apathy, almost as if they themselves have given up on life, and continues with the theme of magic dying in our world (a fact that most people just can’t see).

My Take?

For me, I liked Monster.  It was a fun read, probably because I love unlikable characters, but I also appreciated a UF without a romantic subplot. (Judy and Monster don’t even particularly like each other).  Monster was a fast read and the plot moves along at a nice pace. The secondary characters were interesting. Chester, a paper gnome and Monster’s partner.  Monster’s succubus girlfriend. Even Judy’s alpha female sister, who ends up having to fend off a sphinx on her commute into work one morning. I’d love to see some short stories by Martinez with these characters.

So, while I would recommend this book to people who love UF but might be looking for a change from the series and romantic plots, please be might hate it. 

“BUT…what about the ending?  You said the ending had issues in your last post…”

No I didn’t forget.

The Ending. Yes the ending left a lot to be desired. The main drama of the book…you know the fate of the universe didn’t have enough drama to it. I’m not sure if it was the apathy of the main character infecting my own psyche by the end of the book or the fact that the ‘conflict’ seemed anticlimactic.  Whichever it was, by the end of the book I found out that I didn’t really care if they achieved the goal and saved the world.

photo via: Jake Waage
But if you’re on the fence about whether to read this book, don’t let the idea of a disappointing ending stop you.  I enjoyed the ride, and found the story fun and funny. Martinez did a wonderful job in world building and I became engaged with the world. I did go out and get Gil’s All Fight Diner, so we’ll see how that one goes.   I’ll have to wait and see if A Lee Martinez becomes one of my go to authors.

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