07 August 2013

Review: Monster on the Hill

Monster on the Hill
Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rob Harrell is behind Adam@Home, a syndicated comic strip I'm basically unfamiliar with. When I got this book and looked at the cover, my assumption was that it would be a fantasy comic that probably had a lot of heart and didn't do too much for me.

Wow, was I wrong.

Monster on the Hill portrays a society in old England (or is it Olde England?) where the small towns are terrorized by monsters. Terrorized is the wrong word, however, as most of the towns love having a monster wreak havoc upon them, as it's a great tourist attraction. Then there's Stoker-on-Avon, who has a monster, but he doesn't really do much. He hasn't attacked in decades, and the local economy is basically in shambles because people would much rather go to the towns where monsters actually attack. So the townspeople send out one of the local scientists to seek out the monster, figure out his problem, and perhaps get some attacking going again.

It's a surprisingly high concept for a book geared toward kids, and while it's fun for all ages, a lot of what's going on might be lost on kids not fully aware of classic dragon tales and such. That isn't a criticism of this book, however, which is hilarious in its setup and execution, with a lot of fun, random nods to basic stories and classic tropes. It has a message, of course, but it's not in your face, it doesn't beat you over the head. It's just there and it's pretty awesome along with anything else.

This is absolutely a book more people should read. I do hope it doesn't get lost in the shuffle, as it's one of my favorite things I've read this year. Highly recommended.

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