Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash

I was lucky enough to win a copy of this in a giveaway.  It was a very quick read, nothing really different from what I expected, basically exactly the type of story you'd expect from the title.  I feel there were some things that were missed that could have definitely added to the story, but it did feel just like a horror movie would be, the way the things were missing was like what might be missing from a movie compared to the book. 

There were parts of the story told from different viewpoints, but in a way, who I felt was the main character was Wyatt Baldwin.  He's a high school student, and he lives in the town where one of the new theme parks called Monsterland is getting ready to open.  The story takes place in a future when a disease has caused some people to become zombies.  It's pretty much contained, the zombies are being kept in detention types of camps.  And  now are being brought to be part of the different theme parks that are being set up all over the world.  But in this future world, they have also found out that vampires are real, and have been just kind of hiding out, on the sidelines of the human world.  And when the creator of the parks is out searching for a Sasquatch or Bigfoot, he finds that werewolves are real.  They capture the werewolves that they find, which is easier because they have really dwindled in numbers.  So this theme park has a section where people can see zombies walk around, from a safe distance/viewing area.  There is a jungle ride where they will be able to see the werewolves, again from a safe area, and the park uses artificial moonlight to get the wolves to change.  And the vampires, because they have been around humans all the time already, they just have caps put on their fangs, and then they have a little town where people can go mingle with the vampires and even watch them as part of a rock band. 

Wyatt and his friends get free VIP passes to the opening night of the park.  And, as you would expect from a story like this, something goes wrong, monsters will get loose, and chaos ensues.  As I mentioned at the beginning, it was really a lot like a movie would be. 

I do feel there could have been some more character development and explanations.  There was one of Wyatt's friends that everyone called by his full name, all the time.  I'm sorry, that's just weird.  It reminded me of the movie 21 and Over where they kept calling the one character by his full name, Jeff Chang, the whole movie.  Only, it could be something I missed as I read, but I'm not sure why they did that?  I do like what happened with his friend Melvin though.  We also had some drama with Wyatt's family, his mom and stepdad - who we also got some of his viewpoint, and then a surprising bit with Wyatt's dad even. 

While I get the point trying to be made about the detention camps, and that the big gate reminded them of the Auschwitz Concentration camp gate that said "Work will set you free", I feel like that may have stretched a little for the actual type of book this is.  To me the cover looked like the Jurassic Park gate, and yes, they did draw comparisons in the book to that, like they should have.  And really that fit the story much better, so they probably could have stuck with that.  Comparing zombies, werewolves, and vampires to real people who were in death camps seems a little bit in poor taste. But that's just me.  I could be overthinking it. 

All in all it was a quick, horror movie style read, interesting even while predictable for the most part.