Monster Slayers, written by Lukas Ritter, is a companion novel to A Practical Guide to Monsters.
My synopsis of this YA fantasy-adventure novel will be less telling as the back cover summary. The reason? Because I didn't read it before I read Monster Slayers and got some surprises that I wasn't expecting, some of which I feel were given away (or hinted at) on the back. So my suggestion is for you not to read the back cover either and instead just start devouring this thrilling, diverting read!
Here goes: Evin longs to be a hero of myth and legend - to battle monsters and seek different lands. He's shared this dream with his brother and best friend Jorick - yet remains stuck in his small village. But right when he decides that he is going to leave and seek out the chance to be daring and courageous, the opportunity meets him first. Tragedy strikes Evin's village and all the residents of his town are snatched away right before his eyes by terrifying monsters. Now, he and Jorick must figure out how to rescue their family members and neighbors - and be the heroes Evin's always wanted to be.
So, that's all I'm gonna say about the premise. ;)
I was already pretty interested in reading Monster Slayers because of how awesome Nocturne ended up being. Now that I have read two books in this series of companion novels (to the Practical Guides published by Wizards of the Coast), I can honestly say that though they have the Dungeons & Dragons label, you don't have to have ever played the role-playing game or know anything about it. I sure never have, and I have now thoroughly enjoyed both of these books!
Within the first few pages I was already connecting with Evin and soaking up the fantasy world, which is filled with magical walls, swords, daggers, monsters, swamp witches, elves, and wizards. There is something truly fun and entertaining about letting yourself be swept up in the advanture and escapism of fantasy like Monster Slayers.
Quickly, suspicions and mysteries are introduced to add to the already excellent, rip-roaring rescue mission plot. Monster Slayers is packed full of frightening fight sequences that are easy to read and almost impossible not to be involved in - especially since Evin is so likable and relatable.
I found Monster Slayers to be a recommendable, fast-paced, quick read - the quest seeming unachievable - which makes it all the more suspenseful. The monsters aren't cheesy - at least not in my opinion. They call to mind mythology and legends - and they are actually pretty darn freaky.
The biggest thing that all you bibliophiles need to know is that there is a HUGE "Whaaaa?" moment that occurs in an awesomely unexpected way that both changes and enhances everything that has happened in the novel so far. It is a big, intelligent, shocking, insanely cool twist that you really just can't miss, and which I can't say much more about.
And then later on - even when you think you've gotten a pretty good handle on what is going on - Monster Slayers throws yet ANOTHER revelation at you - making my appreciation of what started out as a straightforward, fun rescue mission novel into much more.
I thought Monster Slayers was great and is a must-read for all you fantasy lovers.
It made me all the more intrigued in what Wizards of the Coast has in store for the next Practical Guide companion novel.
I think you will be too!