Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book Review: 'Monsterland' by Michael Okon

Michael Okon has a rich imagination, a gift that comes from being grounded and secure with life as being lived. That he is able from that strong stance to create stories embellishes his evident gifts as a writer. Michael has stated, `Ghosts have been a popular subject for millennia, appearing in countless stories, from "Macbeth" to the Bible, and even spawning their own folklore genre: ghost stories. Ghosts are perhaps the most common paranormal belief in the world. Part of the reason is that belief in ghosts is part of a larger web of related paranormal beliefs, including near-death experience, life after death, and spirit communication. The idea that the dead remain with us in spirit is an ancient one, and one that offers many people comfort: who doesn't want to believe that our beloved but deceased family members aren't looking out for us, or with us in our times of need? Most people believe in ghosts because of personal experience; they have seen or sensed some unexplained presence.'

In his current exceptionally well-crafted novel Okon takes a step further in the arena of monsters or the undead or whatever you care to label those creatures which go slurp in the night –MONSTERLAND. And the surprising aspect of this particular novel is the growth in nuance of descriptive poetic prose. His opening chapter in the Everglades might well be a romantic soliloquy about the duck and the coming of the moon to rise over the sun – and of course the changes in the creatures of his focus into monsters! It is a great intro chapter that leads into a wonderfully spiky monster bash.

Or as he cogently outlines the story, ‘Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. Wyatt Baldwin’s senior year is not going well. His parents divorce, then his dad mysteriously dies. He’s not exactly comfortable with his new stepfather, Carter White, either. A friendly debate with his best friends Howard Drucker and Melvin over which monster is superior has gotten stale. He’d much rather spend his days with beautiful and popular Jade. However, she’s dating the brash highschool quarterback Nolan, and Wyatt thinks he doesn’t stand a chance. But everything changes when Wyatt and his friends are invited to attend the grand opening of Monsterland, a groundbreaking theme park where guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville. What could possibly go wrong?’

It is a dream team work for Young Adults and for those older adults to kick back and get with the current mania for themes of the undead. A winner for Michael Okon. Grady Harp, October 17
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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