”it was too late. The book had invitingly opened itself up to me and snapped closed around my outstretched hand, biting me with its poisonous paper teeth. The last thing I saw before I passed out was the book’s mysterious title”
A multitude of threads taking the form of action photographs, illustrations of manifold monsters and extracts from the Monstranomicon, interweave to make the fabric of this fable. Minerva McFearless, the eleven-year-old daughter of a monsterminator, narrates the adventure. Her relationship with brother Max, who plays an integral role in the action and adventure of this novel, is fraught with sibling rivalry a shard of realism that helps allow the suspension of disbelief and that secures the riotous pace in thisnarrative.
On seeing a red moth, the intrepid McFearless duo discover a secret passageway in their house, leading them to their father’s study and to the revelation that he is in fact a monsterminator, one who exorcises monsters of all sizes, types, and veracity. It is in the study that the pair first encounter, the Monstranomicon, a living book, a bestiary of sorts with the added bonus of detailing recipes and methodologies for the slaying or repelling of creatures. Following the kidnapping of their father, Max and Minerva set upon a quest to release him.
The book has a cinematic quality and photographs are reminiscent of early silent films, richly resplendent in exaggerated facial expressions and extreme emotions! The graphic nature of the book, together with short chapters, punctuated throughout by excerpts from the Monstranomicon make this an excellent choice for those who are perhaps less confident readers. The claim of pedestrainism in the language that could be levied against Zappa’s book is an observation made neither entirely with or without criticism. It is this that facilitates the novel’s pick-me-up-and-read-me appeal, but lends it at times a non-distinct feel. The strong cliff-hanger ending leaves one with a monster appetite, wanting to know what happens next, with a sequel forthcoming it is hoped this might soon be sated!