21 February 2010

Monster Republic

by Ben Horton

Random House. Junior/Young Adult. Paperback rrp $17.95

A school excursion to the nuclear power plant turns into tragedy. A large number of students are killed, including Cameron Reilly. Except Cameron isn’t dead and neither are the others.

Taken to the nearby private hospital, Cameron and his classmates become experimental subjects for Doctor Fry. When the modified Cameron fails to function as expected, he is temporarily discarded. This provides the opportunity for Rora, a strange foxlike girl, to rescue him.

Rora introduces Cameron to the Monster Republic, a group of child ‘rejects’ from Dr Fry’s work. Part human, part machine, part animal. Each child has special enhanced capabilities but their monstrous appearance forces them to hide away from the town’s people.

Cameron tries to return home only to find his own family think he is a monster and the eminent Dr Fry is the pride of the community, generously arranging a memorial to the dead students. The Monster Republic must decide whether to escape while they can or turn and make a stand.

The plot line is predictable but that doesn’t detract from the story. There’s action aplenty and graphic novel pages included to whet the visual appetite.

Monster Republic is an excellent choice for boys 10 – 14 who like games first and reading second. The cover is guaranteed to attract their attention away from the screen and encourage them to turn the first page.

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