Monster Republic by Ben Horton

Rating 9.1/10
Monster Republic is a book with a beating heart (even if itís a heart wired up to the electrics).

Fantasy Book Review Young Adult's Book of the Month, October 2010

Ben Horton’s debut novel Monster Republic isn’t like other books.  Monster Republic isn’t a book you sit down and read... Monster Republic is a book you sit down and watch.

The story follows popular, sporty, teen Cameron Reilly on a school trip to a nuclear power plant... that comes to an explosive end.  He wakes to find his life (and face) changed forever, as he is now, part teen, part machine.

We follow Cameron on his mile-a-minute journey as he goes from fourteen-year-old... to freak. He deals with frightening new enemies and gets caught up with a weird clan known only as The Monster Republic.

Like its protagonist, this book is a hybrid: part print, part games console, part movie.  Hybrid it may be, freak it isn’t.  With his writing style, Horton takes us from sentence to cinema.  His sparse (and some gruesome) descriptions reel us in (‘Imagination-By-Numbers’ lets us fill in the rest), as we are lead through a landscape of deserted night-time streets and maze-like laboratories.  Pair this with the dialogue (the s-s-s-s-s-stammer of Tinker or the cutting insults of Carla) and from page one, Horton’s world is alive in your very own mind cinema.

Horton continues the film/videogame theme by giving a blow by blow account of Cameron’s battles: ‘lightening fast’ punches, ‘backhand blows’ and ‘casual yet devastating spinning kicks’.  These all point to a beat ‘em up rather than a book, with the reader half expecting the words KO! or LEVEL UP! once the fights have ended.

Monster Republic is a book with a beating heart (even if it’s a heart wired up to the electrics).  Cameron’s just a normal teen and that’s what’ll stick with you until the very last page (by which time you’ll be desperate for book two... yes, did I mention... this is book one in a series!).

Verdict:  A fast-paced, exciting read for people who like books, people who don’t like books, people who like film, people who don’t like film, boys, girls, people who breathe oxygen... you get the idea.

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