City of monsters by D.C. Green
Monster School, bk 1. Ford St, 2013. ISBN 9781925000078.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended for capable readers. Fantasy. From Ford St Publishing, comes D.C. Green's latest book for children, the first in a new series. Now let me see... let's take some gnarly grommets, angst-ridden kids with attitude, misfits of various descriptions and some seriously divided peer groups and mix them all together in a monster mash of hilariously epic proportions.
Enter PT aka Swamp Monster who turns up at Monster School and somehow, almost by default, becomes part of the Dead Gang. Amidst this incongruous group of oddballs (even by monster terms!) PT aka the Heir Apparent of Monstro City is both intimidated and accepted by a vampire, an abnormally huge spider, a zombie, a shape shifter, a mummy, a troll and forest goblin - none of whom are 'accepted' by the ruling class of Mafia goblins. After all, PT (Thomas Regus) is a 'hume', that is, a human and so far outside the norm of Monster School as to be viewed in the normal scheme of things as... well, basically... dinner!
With Monstro City being ruled by Lord Boron, both Regent and PT's tutor, PT is stifled and appalled by his confinement to the dark quarters of the Palace, his father and brother having disappeared (amidst rumours of vampire intervention) and his mother in a strange deep coma.
Rebelling against his everyday life - really? A teenager rebelling? Go figure! - PT connives at an escape to Monster School to undertake his own education regarding his kingdom with both extremely amusing but also heroic results.
Readers, young and old, will recognise many students/young people, with whom they have interacted and relish the humour and innate sense of justice expressed through the characters and their actions.
Look out for the next instalment - this one will be a real winner with both boys and girls. The characters are endearing, despite their monstrous attributes and the reader becomes fully engaged with the whole adventure - and who can resist a fully grown dragon? Magnificent, dangerous and wise, Kalthazari completely dominates the climax of the adventure and provides the segue to the next instalment.
Highly recommended for capable readers from 10+ (the characters' 'voices' will need some careful reading).