Author: Jesse Petersen
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Monstrosity (Book 2)
Publication Date: July 29, 2013
Format: eBook, 224 Pages
ISBN-10: 1476716196 (Pocket Star)
ISBN-13: 978-1476716190 (Pocket Star)
Reviewed by: Anjelica
As one of Frankenstein’s Creatures, Natalie Gray knows that unique parts sometimes make up a great whole. Still, leading a diverse support group for monsters—now including Cthulhu!—isn’t an easy task. Especially not since the internet arrived.
New York City embraces the different and the bizarre. Still, even for such a fun-loving city, the supernatural and monstrous might be a bit too much. It’s been six months since the members of “Club Monstrosity” overcame the most recent spate of anti-monster violence and they’ve reestablished their routine of meeting in a church basement once a week to (ugh!) talk about their feelings. Still, they also know a war against them is brewing.
Natalie and Alec (the werewolf) have begun dating, and the mummies Kai and Rehu are tighter than a bug in a…well, bandage. But when modern means (YouTube, Twitter, bits and bytes) are used to chilp away at the solidarity of these ancient monsters, it’s up to Natalie to save the day. #MonstersInNewYork may be trending on Twitter, but this girl’s trending toward saving the day…somehow.
Quick & Dirty: It’s the age old battle of monsters versus humans, but brand new technology gives provides unexpected leverage.
Opening Sentence: If only the Blob hadn’t died, Natalie never would have been in this position.
The Monsters in Your Neighborhood picks up six months after Club Monstrosity. Natalie and the other monsters have fallen back into their normal routines. She and Alec are nursing their budding relationship and the group has welcomed a new member to the group, a Cthulhu named Pat. They all know it’s the calm before the storm, the first hint? A video of a huge monster ripping the arm off some homeless man in Central Park goes viral on the internet and being as tech savvy as he is, Alec the werewolf is the first to find it. Because she works at the city morgue, Natalie is the one to confirm that this video is no prank. Her boss shows her the body of a hobo missing all of one arm. This video sets the whole group into motion, but one member seems a little off her game.
Linda the swam dweller is usually a sobbing, whining mess at the first hint of bad news. She is easily the single most annoying character I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. Natalie fully expects the full waterworks when she and Alec give the group the information about this video but instead Linda is cool as a cucumber and ready to act. I found it super odd that no one really commented on this. The only one who reflects on the extreme personality shift is Alec who suddenly notices how pretty Linda could be if she didn’t have to wear her “human” make up all the time. It’s a little odd how he takes several minutes to reflect on the colors of her scales and the fierceness she’s been hiding from them all these years. Come to find out, the swamp dweller has a mysterious new boyfriend-another fact no one in this group decides to think too much on until it is entirely too late. As slow as the group is to pick up on Linda’s sudden and extreme character shift, they are super quick on the uptake when Alec goes missing and then shows up a little less than two days later with memory loss.
Now between the video, the missing werewolf and the not so subtle sticky notes with the word WAR written above a VH signature, it’s not too terribly difficult to figure out that the Van Helsing family is up to something. That something is a evil and genius plot that brings this book into the 21st century. Rather than spur up mobs of angry villagers themselves, the Van Helsing family has started a Twitter feed with the hashtag #killthemonsters which starts gaining followers almost immediately after the video surfaces. By posting videos and pictures of Natalie and the others, the Van Helsing’s won’t have to lift a finger to fight, crazy followers will do it for them. That’s right. This war is now virtual.
I thought the use of Twitter and YouTube in this novel were creative and amusing, but it really took something away for me. It is stressed repeatedly in the story, how much the Van Helsing’s hate the monsters. Every detail about this family features the looks of disgust and air of superiority the family feels over the monsters but for all that hate, for all that anger and built up years of aggression, all they are going to do is post some stuff on the internet? Really? Right before the battle they have plans and strategies and I got super psyched up for an intense fight, decades in the making. Peterson manages to get a fairly intense fight scene into the book and I really enjoyed reading it. It was what I had been looking forward to the entire time, but I was disappointed. The fight was short lived and ended in a way that left me feeling extremely let down.
Peterson kept her characters familiar and the plot moved forward quickly. It was a good sequel and I felt that she left an opening for a trilogy, but if that’s the case I hope social media plays a smaller role.
“Why turn on us?” Natalie pressed, this time softer. He glared at her. “Jekyll was the only one who ever kept me from destroying you all in teh first palce. Do you think I wanted to go to that pathetic fucking group every week? To sit in that disguting basement and talk about feeelings and hear you whine about your little problems? If you had been monsters-real monstesr- it might have been one thing, but you all want to be human.” “And you want to kill humans,” Kai finished softly. He shrugged. “Most of the time. Especially since they killed my brother. Any of you could have prevented that. Any one of you could have saved him.” “How?” Natalie asked. “We were trying as hard as we could to figure out who was attacking us. If i had known, I would have done anything in the world to stop her even earlier.” “Ah, that’s right, yourl ittle investigation. Instead of just attacking the person who was following us.” Hyde shook his head in disgust. “So you hate me,” Natlie said. “Fine. But why go after Alec and Kai and Rehu, and why work with the Van Helsings?” “Because it’s easier to kill all those birds with one stone, my dear. The Van Helsings will be easy to take care of when I’m ready.” “Even with the Creature they control?” Natalie asked. He smiled. “You don’t think I have ways to alter that control? Other remotes, timers, a dozen other plans?” Hyde pushed to his feet and when Rehu moved on him he wagged his finger back and forth. “I wouldnt do that if I were you.” Slowly he pointed behind them. Natalie turned and gasped. Linda was standing in the entryway to the room with a basket containg a thic, ancient book and a small white controller in one hand, and a gun in the other. A gun trained on everyone and anyone in the room except Hyde.
FTC Advisory: Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of The Monsters In Your Neighborhood. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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