Official Review: Muriel's Monster by Martin Slevin

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Everydayadventure15
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Official Review: Muriel's Monster by Martin Slevin

Post by Everydayadventure15 »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Muriel's Monster" by Martin Slevin.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Struck with the devastating news of a severe illness, 15-year-old Muriel escapes to the Crucible of Creation. Within this mysterious place, Muriel discovers a unique cast of characters who teach her valuable lessons of self-discovery and observation. As her condition becomes more serious, the experiences help her to cope with the diagnosis and discover a higher level of thinking.

Muriel’s Monster, by Martin Slevin, is an allegorical tale that blends reality and fantasy in a creative narrative. The journey through the Crucible correlates with the reality of what’s happening physically to Muriel and explores the events happening internally and externally.

I loved the characters within the Crucible. From the donkey with the kind eyes and the humble hippopotamus to the wise wizard in the magic castle and even the quirky language teacher, the cast was diverse, and each presented a lesson for Muriel to ponder. These lessons were often philosophical, and Muriel did not understand many things in the beginning. Throughout her journey, however, she opens her mind and can apply the lessons as she matures. As Muriel learned new things, I was able to start putting the pieces of the allegory together. I enjoyed each revelation as I understood what was happening and even Googled a few things to confirm my suspicions.

The book is very artistically written with instant transitions from Muriel’s conscious thoughts to the fantasy world and often from character to character within that world. While some of these transitions added stylistic value to the book, other shifts required a page break to indicate the change of time or location. For example: at one point, Muriel is looking in the mirror at her home, but in the next paragraph, she is in the office of the medical consultant discussing the latest news of her condition. There were also several transitions in the very first chapters of the book that switch from Muriel’s movement through the Crucible to an entirely different perspective of the Monster growing in the Twisted Mountains. These switches were jolting and a bit distracting as the book progressed.

With some editing issues throughout, I was going to give this book a solid 3 out of 4. The concept was creative, and I enjoyed following Muriel’s journey and character growth. By the end, I had put together most of the symbolic bits and was settling in for an emotional ending. I noticed, however, that the second section of the book became more repetitive as the end approached. Then the final chapter gave another detailed discussion of what each part of the Crucible represented. It was tedious to have to go over everything again when the author had already given quite a few clues throughout the story. Therefore, I decided to give a rating of 2 out of 4.

Still, the book had many engaging portions and humous anecdotes mixed in with many philosophical lessons. This book should be an excellent read for those who enjoy allegory, fantasy, and loveable talking animals. There is no sexual content and very mild language. The only concern I would point out is Muriel’s friend, who mentions that she’s going to “do it” and in another conversation reveals that she’s “done it,” but no details are explicitly given.

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Muriel's Monster
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Juliet+1
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Post by Juliet+1 »

What a shame that this book rather fell apart at the end when it had started out so well. Sounds like a terrific read. And I do so love humorous fantasy.

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Post by Everydayadventure15 »

Juliet+1 wrote: ↑
03 Feb 2020, 16:39
What a shame that this book rather fell apart at the end when it had started out so well. Sounds like a terrific read. And I do so love humorous fantasy.
There were many scenes that I loved in this book. I think you would still enjoy it; the ending before the recap was very good. Thanks for stopping to comment!

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Post by NetMassimo »

I wonder if the authors felt the need to stress certain concepts through repetitions because the novel seems targeted mainly to young adults. Thank you for the valuable analysis you offer in your review.
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Post by xoxoAnushka »

The transition issue you've spoken about in the above review seems to be turnoff me. Amazing review btw!!

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Post by AvidBibliophile »

You had me at “humble hippopotamus” but the creative use of allegory and symbolism is intriguing too! Too bad for the scattered issues here and there. Such a struggle for anyone to cope with a devastating diagnosis, at any age, so I bet there are many readers that will be able to resonate with those aspects as well. Thanks for a lovely review!

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Post by Julius_ »

I like that you mentioned about the creativity of the contents. However, with editing issues, I'll have to pass it. Thanks for the review.
We're all philosophers. When there's a tough choice to be made, when faced with the facts of birth,love or death or simply when thinking about what we want to do with our lives.

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Post by SunVixen »

AvidBibliophile wrote: ↑
05 Feb 2020, 02:30
You had me at “humble hippopotamus” but the creative use of allegory and symbolism is intriguing too! Too bad for the scattered issues here and there. Such a struggle for anyone to cope with a devastating diagnosis, at any age, so I bet there are many readers that will be able to resonate with those aspects as well. Thanks for a lovely review!
I'm interested in this “humble hippopotamus” too. Thank you for great review.

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Post by silvafaerie »

Thank you for the honest review. Based on your recommendations I probably will not read.

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Post by espo »

The idea of an allegorical tale is quite intriguing, I have to say, even more so if that's painted as a symbol for escape for a girl who's diagnosed with a severe illness. It's a shame that the book became repetitive toward the end. Thanks for a beautifully written review.
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Post by Prisallen »

It's too bad that the second half of the book was so repetitive as it sounds as though it would have been interesting otherwise. I really enjoyed your informative and well-written review!

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Post by sanjus »

Thanks for a deep insightful analysis of the book in your review. I too feel bored reading the same thing again and again. However, the author might want highlight the things by repetition.
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Post by Amy747 »

The talking animals sound like my kind of characters. Its a shame the book was a bit confusing or boring at times because the concept of traveling between reality and fantasy lands sounds interesting.

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Post by Shabram22 »

It's great how the author mixed reality and fantasy. Thanks for your review. I'm not sure yet if this book interests me much.

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