Review by Shrabastee -- The Different Kinds Of Monsters

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Shrabastee
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Review by Shrabastee -- The Different Kinds Of Monsters

Post by Shrabastee » 12 Apr 2018, 06:11

[Following is a volunteer review of "The Different Kinds Of Monsters" by Seth Chambers.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Where do monsters live? In some dark, hidden places, unbeknownst to humankind? Do they look hideous and repulsive? Or do monsters live among us, even within us? And what if you cannot tell it as a monster by looking at it, since it looks just like you and me? These are some of the questions The Different Kinds Of Monsters by Seth Chambers raises to the readers.

In the book, three different storylines go on side by side, ultimately converging as a single one. The first narrative, depicting the life of an Allosaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur, takes place sometime in the late Jurassic period. Her glorious life with all her achievements, ambitions and wishes ceases to exist as she meets an unfortunate end. But is it truly the end for her? What happens after her fossil remains are excavated?

The other two narratives show the life of Dylan Armitage, a school teacher in Chicago. One deals with the present-day scenario, where his father claims to have been attacked by an Allosaur from the prehistoric era; while the other one is a throwback in time, narrating Dylan’s childhood, spent mainly on the road, as his family keeps moving from place to place for various reasons. No matter where they go, an articulated skeleton of Allosaurus fragilis named ‘Emily’ always shows up in one of the nearby museums. Is Emily the big and brave protector- as Dylan imagines her to be -to save him from all sorts of monsters he meets in his life? Or is she a monster herself, stalking the Armitage family through time and space? Or is Dylan himself a monster, hence pursued by the ‘big bad dinosaur’? These questions are answered as Dylan’s past finally meets up with his present.

The recurring theme in the book, as the name suggests, is different kinds of monstrosities observed among us. While the giant dinosaur skeleton is readily referred to as a ‘monster’ by more than one people in the story, not many of them recognize the true monsters living alongside them- be it an abusive father, a cold and distant son, a child-molester, or a teacher lusting after his young female students. Also, since the timeline for the story is September 2001, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre creates a horrid backdrop to the other heinous occurrences in the story.

Throughout the book, characters are portrayed in a realistic way. The pervert teacher’s dialogues and actions made me shudder in disgust. While in case of some other apparently ‘evil’ characters, I could sympathize, and even felt a surge of pity for them. Another thing I like about the book is that the narrator’s character has not been shown as a flawless one at all. Many of the things he has done in his life feel wrong, yet his faults go on to prove that he is only a human.

The plot is absolutely engaging, and the hint of supernatural makes it all the more addictive. Once I started, I just felt compelled to keep reading.

I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would have rated it a full four stars, had it not been for a number of typing errors. Also the last section of the book suddenly becomes a bit too action-packed and dramatic for my choice, though it might not be a problem with other readers.

Although marked as a Sci-Fi/ Fantasy book, the story is purely allegorical. On the surface, it deals with the life story of an individual with a twinge of supernatural; but as the book goes on, the darkness hidden inside some outwardly nice people is revealed. The book shows that nobody in this world is entirely white, or entirely black, they are rather grayish in nature. May be a monster lurks inside all of us, even if we are not ready to admit it. The ending of the book raises a very important question to the readers – one might go and destroy the outside evil forces, but how do we even recognize the monsters that are hidden within us? And even if we do recognize them, how do we destroy those inner monsters?

******
The Different Kinds Of Monsters
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kfwilson6
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Post by kfwilson6 » 16 Apr 2018, 11:51

What age group do you think this is appropriate for? The cover made me think it was for a younger audience, maybe young teens, but your description makes is sound like it is for a more mature audience. There seems to be quite a good lesson here about not knowing who someone really is on the inside.

Thanks for the review.

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Post by Shrabastee » 19 Apr 2018, 06:05

kfwilson6 wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 11:51
What age group do you think this is appropriate for? The cover made me think it was for a younger audience, maybe young teens, but your description makes is sound like it is for a more mature audience. There seems to be quite a good lesson here about not knowing who someone really is on the inside.

Thanks for the review.
You are welcome. Like you, I also took up this book thinking it would be a science fiction story, probably like 'Jurassic Park'. But then I found the tone of this story to be quite dark and ominous, especially since the protagonist himself does not at all behave admirably. This is in no way a children's book, in fact it could have a disturbing effect on adults as well. Nonetheless, what horrors are revealed throughout the book are real enough issues, such as domestic violence and child molestation. I suppose the readers should be prepared for those, and yes, that certainly calls for a mature audience. Also, the book is likely to make the readers re-judge and reevaluate their own thoughts or actions, because very often our behaviour might also seem 'monster'-like; may be not to ourselves, but to people surrounding us. I think one has to have a pretty strong mindset to acknowledge the monsters inside.

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Post by teacherjh » 03 May 2018, 14:55

I could see this being a movie.

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Shrabastee
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Post by Shrabastee » 05 May 2018, 10:40

teacherjh wrote:
03 May 2018, 14:55
I could see this being a movie.
Yes, it could be adapted as a movie. But in that case I'd like to see how the director deals with the different time-frames, a lot of flashbacks have to be there! Otherwise, yes- suspense, thrill, several shady characters and a raging, stalking dinosaur - it has the whole package! :D

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Post by Lunastella » 01 Jan 2019, 19:55

The recurring theme in the book, as the name suggests, is different kinds of monstrosities observed among us. While the giant dinosaur skeleton is readily referred to as a ‘monster’ by more than one people in the story, not many of them recognize the true monsters living alongside them- be it an abusive father, a cold and distant son, a child-molester, or a teacher lusting after his young female students. Also, since the timeline for the story is September 2001, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre creates a horrid backdrop to the other heinous occurrences in the story.


Although marked as a Sci-Fi/ Fantasy book, the story is purely allegorical. On the surface, it deals with the life story of an individual with a twinge of supernatural; but as the book goes on, the darkness hidden inside some outwardly nice people is revealed. The book shows that nobody in this world is entirely white, or entirely black, they are rather grayish in nature. May be a monster lurks inside all of us, even if we are not ready to admit it. The ending of the book raises a very important question to the readers – one might go and destroy the outside evil forces, but how do we even recognize the monsters that are hidden within us? And even if we do recognize them, how do we destroy those inner monsters?

These are the monsters I'm most terrified of. The real ones, hiding behind sheep clothing. I think your conclusion of the book as an allegory is quite accurate and, definitely, we are all human and, hence, flawed. But we should strive to fight our oun inner monsters.
A magnificently insightful review, you really made me question some things and I'll definitely add this book to my shelves.

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Post by Bavithra M » 02 Jan 2019, 01:19

This is a my favourite genre. Planning to read the book. Great review and thanks for that.
Bavithra M

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Post by Shrabastee » 02 Jan 2019, 01:24

Bavithra M wrote:
02 Jan 2019, 01:19
This is a my favourite genre. Planning to read the book. Great review and thanks for that.
Thanks for the comment! I believe you will enjoy this book.

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Post by LV2R » 06 Jan 2019, 06:07

The book sounds a bit scary and dark with revealing people's bad behavior and throwing in the dinosaur skeleton of Emily showing up in nearby museums of wherever Dylan and his family move. The author must have written the characters well for you to shudder while reading the book, yet intriguing to keep you reading.

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Post by Shrabastee » 07 Jan 2019, 03:13

Lunastella wrote:
01 Jan 2019, 19:55
The recurring theme in the book, as the name suggests, is different kinds of monstrosities observed among us. While the giant dinosaur skeleton is readily referred to as a ‘monster’ by more than one people in the story, not many of them recognize the true monsters living alongside them- be it an abusive father, a cold and distant son, a child-molester, or a teacher lusting after his young female students. Also, since the timeline for the story is September 2001, the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre creates a horrid backdrop to the other heinous occurrences in the story.


Although marked as a Sci-Fi/ Fantasy book, the story is purely allegorical. On the surface, it deals with the life story of an individual with a twinge of supernatural; but as the book goes on, the darkness hidden inside some outwardly nice people is revealed. The book shows that nobody in this world is entirely white, or entirely black, they are rather grayish in nature. May be a monster lurks inside all of us, even if we are not ready to admit it. The ending of the book raises a very important question to the readers – one might go and destroy the outside evil forces, but how do we even recognize the monsters that are hidden within us? And even if we do recognize them, how do we destroy those inner monsters?

These are the monsters I'm most terrified of. The real ones, hiding behind sheep clothing. I think your conclusion of the book as an allegory is quite accurate and, definitely, we are all human and, hence, flawed. But we should strive to fight our oun inner monsters.
A magnificently insightful review, you really made me question some things and I'll definitely add this book to my shelves.
Thanks for your comment, Andrea! This book really makes us think. I am sure you will enjoy this if the dark themes do not bother you much. I agree that we all are fighting constantly to overcome our own monsters. This book made me realize that we all are probably monsters to someone or other at times!

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Post by Shrabastee » 07 Jan 2019, 03:17

LV2R wrote:
06 Jan 2019, 06:07
The book sounds a bit scary and dark with revealing people's bad behavior and throwing in the dinosaur skeleton of Emily showing up in nearby museums of wherever Dylan and his family move. The author must have written the characters well for you to shudder while reading the book, yet intriguing to keep you reading.
Indeed, Sara! It was scary to see Dylan's past catching up with him. It was like you cannot escape your destiny! I think I have read somewhere that the author wrote this during a troubled time in his life, and the darkness is very evident in his writing. Thanks for the thoughtful comment!

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Post by Espie » 08 Jan 2019, 23:06

Your questions are profound and relevant. As what at least one wise person has said, "what we hate in others is a reflection of ourselves." Knowing and stating what's ideal would often be easier than doing what's needed, though. Thank you for your thought-provoking review.
"Life has many different chapters for us. One bad chapter doesn't mean it's the end of the book."-Unknown
"To err is human; to forgive, divine."-Alexander Pope
"Put GOD first; He'll bless your efforts with success."-Proverbs

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