The Dome is Gone, but Gone is NOT back

Monster
two-and-a-half-stars
When I finally read Michael Grant’s Monster I expected to feel a multitude of things.
Excitement, happiness, fear, horror, sadness, all of the things I felt when I first read the Gone series.
However, what I did not expect was to feel disappointed when reading Monster but that is exactly how I felt, disappointed.
I haven’t been this disappointed in something since the terrible The Walking Dead season 6 finale cliffhanger.
It kills me to say this (if this book had been good I would be singing it praises from high heaven) but Monster is a monstrous mess.
The magic seen in the Gone series is just, well… gone.
If I want to get to the root of the problems with Monster I’m going to have to go into minor spoilers for the story so, if you haven’t read Monster yet, I would advise you not to continue.
The premise for Monster is four years after the series ended more meteorites, like the one that caused the mutations that created the FAYZ, are crashing on earth and causing more mutations than last time and a group of new characters Shade Darby, Cruz, Justin and others seek these mutations for their own means.
Along with these new characters we also see many familiar faces as well, with my favourite character in the Gone series Dekka Talent being one of the main characters.
This intriguing storyline and my favourite character from the Gone series having a central role seemed like it a winning combination to me.
It is such a shame then the majority of the book is a complete mess, also considering that the first 70 pages are fantastic.
I was on the edge of my seat during Monster’s opening chapter, which really brought in an outside perspective to the final battle in Light.
After these 70 pages however, the story dissolves into an incoherent mess that left me stunned.
One of the biggest problems with Monster is the title is literal.
The teenagers actually turn into giant super-powered monsters in this book.
Now I understand what Michael Grant was going for here but seeing these teens turn into literal monsters, with ridiculously laughable designs, made me unable to take it seriously.
When Dekka first turns into a monster it is supposed to be an emotional moment because of something horrible that happened when she transformed.
However, instead of feeling sad, I was in a fit of laughter because of how stupid she looked in my head as a monster, based off Grant’s description.
Unfortunately, this is only one of many problems with Monster.
There were so many contradictions to the previous Gone books that it made me wonder if Grant actually forgot what happened in his own book series.
To make things worse, I lost count how many plot holes were in this story.
These plot holes included but were not limited to:

  • Why does the meteorite turn people into monsters instead of give them superpowers? The other meteorite in the Gone series did not do that.
  • Why does Dekka trust that the government will treat her right when she knows they experimented on kids, like Toto, previously?
  • Why will people believe Justin is a good guy who can’t control his actions when he literally screams he’s going to kill them and calls himself Knightmare?
  • Why does the government allow Drake to go around raping, torturing and murdering people? Peaks found him very easily so he cannot be that hard to find and capture.
  • Why is Drake alive!?

The last plot hole I mentioned is by far the worst.
Yes, Michael Grant brings Drake to life in Monster and it makes absolutely no sense, considering how he died in Light.
Grant tries to explain this by saying those altered during the FAYZ by the gaiaphage and Little Pete were able to keep their powers so Drake was able to keep his regenerative powers and survive.
However, he seems to be forgetting the important detail that Drake’s powers stopped working in Light after the FAYZ ended, which was why he died.
He couldn’t regenerate again so how did he survive?
The plot hole is not the only bad thing about Drake still being alive however, because I am sick to death of the psychopaths in this series.
Is Grant capable of writing a villain who is not one?
We have two other psychopaths, alongside Drake, in this one, who are named Justin and Vincent.
I was so bored of this character trope that I got these two characters names mixed up constantly, they were both that forgettable.
Then there is Drake himself, he serves no point in the story.
He is mentioned halfway through, appears briefly at the end in the final fight and that is it.
There was no reason for him to be here, he should have stayed dead.
If you can’t tell by my rant, Drake coming back was by far the thing I hated most about Monster.
And, while we’re on the subject of the villains, who is the main villain of Monster because I couldn’t tell?
In the Gone series there was always a distinct villain who was the main threat.
In Gone it was Caine, in Hunger it was the gaiaphage, in Lies it was Zil and after that the gaiaphage pretty much takes over as the main villain.
There are four characters vying for the title of the main villain in Monster so it is a big jumbled mess in that regard.
Now let’s talk about the new characters the book offers.
In comparison to the Gone series these characters are, for the most part, completely forgettable.
The book is so jumbled with its characters that I forgot some of them even existed.
The only two characters who left an impression on me were Shade Darby and Cruz.
Cruz is a trans girl, adding to the long list of diverse characters in the series, and is a fairly interesting character.
However, by the end of the book she had become far less interesting than in the first 70 pages as her character arc did not go anywhere, due to her power.
Sadly, the same can be said for Shade Darby, the main character of the book, who’s name was originally the working title.
Shade started out as an intense, interesting character who might actually become a villain or some form of anti-hero, due to her obsession with obtaining a power and I was really curious to see how her story would play out.
But then after the first 70 pages her character was dumbed down to just wanting to have a power to help people and she became very boring by the end of the book.
The dialogue in this book is also cringe worthy.
I honestly lost count of how many times I rolled my eyes or groaned at a line of dialogue.
Earlier in the review I said that Monster was a mess and it certainly is as the story jumps between numerous characters like Dekka, Shade, Justin and others.
The problem with this is the book goes on for long stretches of time with a single character making you completely forget about the other characters’ storylines and the jump to different characters did not feel coordinated, like it did in the Gone Series.
However, all that being said, Monster is not an awful book as there are some things I really liked about it.
As I have said before, the first 70 pages are fantastic, with a brilliant opening chapter.
Shade Darby’s initial character in these 70 pages was also excellently handled and later on in the book there is a chapter dedicated to a dream she has, which is just as brilliant as the first chapter.
There is one other thing I liked about Monster, although I think it’s pretty easy to guess… It’s Dekka obviously.
I’m glad she was included in the story because the book would be worse without her.
Although I did not like where the story took Dekka (by turning her into a ridiculous Medusa headed monster) her P.O.V chapters were great and I found myself cheering for her all over again.
She also has a conversation with another character from the previous books that was well handled so her presence and putting her in a central role definitely improved the book.
However, it was not enough to save Monster as the negatives far outweigh the positives for me.
I really am surprised by how much I disliked Monster.
It is easily the worst of the Gone books by a very wide margin.
But, that being that said, I still intend to read the next installment in Grant’s planned trilogy.
Reading Dekka’s P.O.V chapters and the first 70 pages of the book showed me that Grant can still salvage this intended trilogy and, even if he can’t, I know he will at least grant us some entertainment.
Monster is still a jumbled mess though and I do wish that Grant had just let the Gone series lie.
It was already great and did not need another installment, especially an unworthy one such as this.

 

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