Review: The Maker of Monsters

Published by Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2nd May 2019
Illustration: Meg Hunt

The Maker of Monsters is a terrifically fast-paced, action-packed story, with a wonderfully realised cast of characters, which kept me engrossed throughout. 

Brat works for his master, the banished Lord Macawber, in his castle on an island, isolated from any other human contact.  His only companions are two of his master’s failed creations, Sherman and Tingle.  Brat’s master is driven by an all-consuming need for revenge, disguised as a desire to rescue his daughter, which makes him cruel and unable to see the terrible mistake he is making … until it is too late!

The horrific, yet somehow pitiful, monsters that are created through Lord Macawber’s magical ability all have one single-minded goal:  the destruction of mankind.  Brat must overcome his paralysing fear of water in order to warn the citizens of the Domed City.  The monster Army’s pursuit of Brat and his friends, led by the aptly named Wrath, is genuinely tense and scary.  Just when it appears all hope is lost, an unlikely rescuer appears.  Molly is a wonderful character, readily accepting of Brat and his companions.  She is brave, loyal and full of a sense of adventure.

And I’d rather die trying than live wondering what might have happened if I hadn’t tried …

Brat, Molly, Tingle and Sherman find themselves in a terrifying race for their lives … to get to the Domed City before it is overrun by the monsters.  A real sense of danger permeates the action as the monsters close in, which kept me on the edge of my seat, willing the companions to succeed, against all the odds. 

I adored both Tingle and Sherman who are incredibly loyal, brave and affectionate with hearts of gold, proving themselves to be true friends and giving Brat the courage he needs at some difficult moments.  They also inject the narrative with some humour to lift some of the darker parts.  Brat is an incredibly sympathetic character who I absolutely adored.  He has a real sense of justice and is determined to right the wrongs of his Master, no matter the cost to himself.  Even though he is full of self-doubt and can’t see his own courage through his fear, Molly can:

Brave is doing something even when you’re frightened.

I found the themes in this story, including the misuse of power by those in authority, denial of freedom, the destructive force of revenge and the power of friendship to overcome adversity, incredibly thought-provoking:  they would make for excellent discussion.  Who are the real monsters in this story?

This is an immensely exciting story with plenty of suspense and nail-biting moments.  A definite must-read for fans of action-packed adventure with an expertly placed sprinkling of humour at just the right moments!

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