Club Monstrosity Review
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Forget what you learned from reading the Twilight books. It can’t be easy to be a monster in today’s society: trying to deal with the stress of day-to-day life with the added complication of hiding the things that make you…different. Or at least that’s the case for the characters in Club Monstrosity, the monstrous mystery by author Jesse Petersen.

Twice a week, Natalie Grey, one of Frankenstein’s monsters, meets with her support group—a group of fellow monsters who are trying to survive in New York City. The members of the group aren’t particularly friendly toward each other. In fact, they barely tolerate each other. But when the group’s leader, The Blob, goes missing and The Invisible Man meets an end that’s strikingly similar to the one that was written for him by H. G. Wells, the other members have to overlook their differences and work together to evade their own violent deaths.

Though the monstrous set-up of Club Monstrosity may sound like that of a quirky kids’ book, this isn’t a book for kids. Instead, it’s an odd indie mystery, with classic monsters standing in for the usual amateur sleuths.

The eccentric characters give the book its appeal. After all, it’s fun to imagine old gothic characters like Dracula and the Wolfman wandering the streets of modern-day New York, going about their business like any other New Yorker. Unfortunately, though, the characters aren’t given the depth and personality that they deserve. Natalie, the main monster, doesn’t seem to have much of a personality at all. The other members of the group—from the stuck-up mummy girl and the whiny swamp beast to the womanizing werewolf (who’s too often chuckling for no apparent reason)—are generally more irritating than endearing. And I’m still not sure why the immortal vampire is aging and going gray, when the rest of the monsters still seem young and vibrant.

The story, meanwhile, has more distracting subplots than necessary for such a short (194-page) book—including an awkward romance between two of the characters that feels too simplistic and altogether unnecessary. At the same time, the mystery seems a little too obvious—especially for anyone who knows a thing or two about monster fiction. And it all comes together quite abruptly, leaving a number of loose ends that may or may not be tied up in future installments of this new series.

The clever set-up of Club Monstrosity may spark your interest (as it did mine), but the unexceptional characters will most likely have you wishing for some kind of outrageous outburst to add some excitement to the story. Perhaps, now that they’ve had a bit of a shake-up, these not-so-monstrous monsters will come to life in upcoming installments—but most readers will quickly lose interest in the tedious troubles of these monsters in therapy.

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