Review: Monsterland by Michael Okon

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 at 4:43 PM
Review: Monsterland by Michael Okon by Erica Burkholder

At first glance, “Monsterland” looks like a version of “Monster High” or Goosebumps, but as you dive deeper into the book, you’re reminded of the age-old saying, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Michael Okon, the author, is an award-winning writer who has written in genres such as thriller, paranormal and even self-help. 

“Monsterland” starts off with the main character, Wyatt, dealing with the struggles of his parents divorcing, his father dying and his mother’s remarriage. Wyatt is mildly obsessed with a man named Vincent Konrad. Dr. Konrad is the creator of an amusement park named Monsterland, an answer to the world’s struggle with a plague that turned the infected into zombies, along with the discovery of vampires and werewolves. 

Wyatt lucks into tickets to Monsterland and invites his best friends, Melvin and Howard, who love werewolves and vampires. 

Wyatt’s crush and the “it girl” of the school, Jade, also lucks into tickets. Wyatt’s tickets give him access to the world leaders who are attending and a behind-the-scenes tour, but he bails with his brother and Melvin. 

The night at Monsterland will make or break relationships and friendships, changing the lives of all who attended. 

The chapters bounce around from different character viewpoints, featuring Wyatt, his mother, stepfather, best friends, and three monsters in the amusement park. This helps to give the reader a better understanding of the book’s events. 

This also gets the reader to sympathize with the monsters in the park. The monsters are described as closer to their original lore than most supernatural books today.

Okon keeps all the characters, even minor, interesting, and all of the characters have noticeable arcs. Wyatt’s best friends, Melvin and Howard, and Billy the werewolf seem to have the most interesting stories. Jade, Wyatt’s crush, and Wyatt’s father and stepfather are also given interesting arcs. 

Okon adds bits of social statements to his story. He compares Monsterland to Auschwitz and the treatment of the monsters to those who were victimized during World War II. One of the biggest positives for this book is that Okon stays with a more original version of the monsters, but still manages to give them, mainly vampires, his own twist. Okon wrote characters that grow and change, mostly for the better, in his story, and most of them have a make-or-break moment that sticks with you.  

The few negatives about the book are that all of the romantic relationships that form or break were easily predictable, and Wyatt seems to have a typical storyline that follows a well-known mold for main characters. Overall, I’d recommend this book as it is a short read that reminds readers of the Goosebumps series and has interesting characters who find themselves. 

“Monsterland” is a book built on friendship and family and what they do for each other in times of struggle. It also incorporates monsters in a way that makes them human, yet keeps them true to their origin story. 

Erica Burkholder can be reached at ae.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: monsterland

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