By Jesse Petersen
Published on April 29th 2013
Published by Pocket Star
Published by Pocket Star
Natalie’s one of Frankenstein’s creations and works in a New York City morgue. So of course she needs therapy. She and her friends—er, fellow monsters—have formed the world’s most exclusive, most dysfunctional support group. What could go wrong?
Undetected in the modern world and under pressure to stay that way, Natalie Grey, Dracula, Bob the Blob, and others (including the fetching wolfman Alec) meet regularly to talk about the pressures of being infamous in the Big Apple. Topics include how long it’s been since their last sighting, how their “story” creates stereotypes they can’t fulfill, and—gasp—sometimes even their feelings. But when their pervy Invisible Man, Ellis, is killed in a manner reminiscent of the H.G. Wells novel, it’s clear someone’s discovered their existence and is down for some monster busting.
Led by Natalie—and definitely not helped by Hyde’s bloodthirsty tendencies—the members of Monstofelldosis Anonymous band together for security and a little sleuthing. And maybe—maybe—if they don’t end up dead, they’ll end up friends somewhere along the way.
I didn't really know what to expect in reading this book, but I ended up loving it! Club Monstrosity was a fresh, unique look at traditional monsters in a contemporary world, and combined the best aspects of a crime/mystery stories, romance, and comedy into an engaging story.
The book follows Natalie, a creation of Dr. Frankenstein himself, and a group of other monsters (vampire, werewolf, mummy, swamp creature, etc.) who all take part in a Monsters Anonymous self-help type group to talk about the problems of being a real, legitimate monster in modern New York. The little touches that modernize the monsters -- Natalie works in a morgue to help explain away her constant smell of rot, Kai the mummy is constantly moisturizing, Alec the werewolf has to shave all the time -- are savvy ways to bring these classic characters into a contemporary context.
The who-done-it part of the book has plenty of false leads and red herrings before the villain is revealed, and while that storyline comes to a close, it spawns plenty of other plot points for future books. I didn't really guess the bad guy while reading, which is always good, and I liked the slowly growing romance between Natalie and Alec as they learn they've got more in common than you might think. They work well together as a team and balance each other out, so I'm excited to see what's in store for them next. Natalie's character growth is pretty awesome in this book, and is written in a way that doesn't seem too artificial or repetitive.
My complaints are pretty minor about this one. There were a few POV shifts that were somewhat jarring -- we read most of the book from Natalie's perspective, but there are a few scenes that shift to follow Alec, which left me a little confused at first. All of the characters are distinct, although some of the more minor ones come off as a bit one-note. (Linda, the swamp creature, for example, spends most of her time crying and being upset at being thought of as a monster. It's pretty much her sole personality trait.) While the leads, Natalie and Alec, get fleshed out, I'd like to see more depth to the secondary characters, too, and hopefully this will be accomplished in later books in the series.
This was a fun, easy to read book that keeps the action moving from start to finish. Despite the serious subject matter -- monsters being killed by an unknown attacker -- the book is mostly lighthearted in tone and doesn't ever really stop being fun, or funny. There are a lot of little pop culture references, especially in the beginning, that may seem dated with time, but right now, they're spot on. There's a lot of adult language, so I'd recommend this for slightly more mature readers. A follow-up book is slated to come out over the summer, and I'm already pretty excited to read it.