Monster Hunting for Beginners
Farshore Fiction, 2021
204pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99
Monster Hunting isn’t as easy as it looks. And Jack should know. Because an ogre has just appeared in his garden and tried to EAT HIS AUNT. (She was the winner of the World’s Worst Aunt competition, but that’s Not The Point).
After (sort of accidentally) defeating the ogre, Jack finds himself apprenticed to a grumpy, 200-year-old monster hunter called Stoop and heading off to Cornwall, where more ogres are causing havoc. All he has are his wits, his catapult and a magical – sometimes unreliable – book called Monster Hunting for Beginners.
Jack’s a bit worried he might not be the hero everyone’s waiting for. But then again, how many terrifying, bloodthirsty monsters can there really be?
Any book that has a warning that it contains ogres, bogeymen, zomblings, and crusted hairy snot nibblers as its blurb and is written from an author from Ireland, the land most often associated with these sorts of creatures is bound to capture the imagination of its intended audience. Add in an ordinary, everyday little boy who is little, clumsy, wears glasses, has weird hair and who is not built for trouble -so pretty much like most of the readers -who narrates the story as though the reader is part of it, and there’s a deeper attraction already. But add to that textual effects like illustrations, short chapters, and font changes that make this ideal for newly independent readers and it is not surprising that Jack has lots of positive reviews and a large fan base already.
Jack is the sort of everyday hero that young readers relate to because their superhero role models are a touch out of reach, and they can appreciate that even they started somewhere. Overlaid with the adventures is wit and humour and all sorts of tips like looking for a secret door or tunnel if confronted by a monster and nothing else has worked, this is the first in a new series that will appeal to those who love their good vs evil stories and who secretly see themselves in the role of the conqueror whether they are 8 or 800!.