Friday, September 2, 2011

MONSTER (We Capture Yeti!)

"I thought I asked you to stock the ice cream," he said.
"No need," she said. "Yeti is eating it all."
He raised his head. "What?"
"Maybe not all of it," she said. "Doesn't seem to like vanilla."

So begins our first glimpse into the life of Judy, a light incog (can perceive magic/magical entities but forgets them again just as quickly) and her association with the Cryptobiological Containment and Rescue agent Monster, a technicolor man with varying superpowers, an origami assistant, and the girlfriend from hell.

Perhaps the plot is a bit predictable, but the cast and the witty, droll dialogue keeps it fresh and interesting. No boy-meets-girl, girl-hates-boy, girl-and-boy-fall-in-love. The closest you get to that is a little purring. Literally. A. Lee Martinez manages to strike a resonant chord with twenty-somethings (perhaps) not living the life they would like to lead. Monster and Judy are surprisingly down to earth - not everything is sunshine and puppy kisses in either life. Two humans who don't even like each other, then, have to team up to save the world before magic is gone, or humans are gone, or we're all drinking from saucers of milk.

One arresting feature of the book (find it online here) is the bright yellow cover that led me to pull it off the bargain shelf. Sporting a demon-horned skull and crossbones, the cover looks like a phone book ad. Unlike some books, the cover delivers on its promises; the sort of "you can't be serious" additude that appropriately matches the content inside.
Overall, while you can see plot turns coming as easily as you can bends in the road, the cast and characters are fresh and original. The book is clever, witty (even snarky), imaginative and fast-paced. Martinez creates real human characters with real human dilemmas and feelings, even if their situations are a bit bizarre.

Check it out. And watch out for the neighborhood cat lady.

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