You’d think if you’ve read one book about an amusement park where guests interact with vampires, are chased by werewolves and walk among zombies, then you’ve read them all.
That’s because Michael Okon has a lot of cleaning up to do since the end of his weird and wacky Monsterland. The sequel, Monsterland Reanimated (Wordfire Press), is aptly named. Many creatures and villains you so lovingly met in book one have been restored to life and given fresh vigor, which they use in the continued quest of their sinister leader, Vincent Konrad, to achieve world dominance.
While Monsterland Reanimated can be consumed as a stand-alone without the benefit of the original, I suggest you read the first book first to better understand the characters and the chemistry as book two opens.
AN APOCALYPTIC STATE
In MonsterlandI, the brilliant and unnerving Dr. Konrad creates theme parks where monsters are the main attractions. His intentions sound noble until they are not. By the time we are finished (cover your eyes if you haven’t), the monsters have escaped, wreaked havoc on the world and leave us in an apocalyptic state with few survivors.
As we pick up the pieces in Reanimated, Wyatt, the teen protagonist, and his stepfather Carter are trying to comprehend the enormity of the situation from the vantage point of their small town, which is in close proximity to the site of America’s now-defunct Monsterland park (there were several around the world). The streets are practically deserted, and the world as we knew it is just that – as we knew it. Are Wyatt and Carter about to embark on a less searing Cormac McCarthy-type, desert-like tale of discovery and survival through the emptiness? Not if Okon’s dark humor can help it.
It appears the bulk of their town has perished. But with radio transmission sporadic at best, they strain to hear reports from around the world: martial law in France, armies mobilizing in the U.K., no radio contact in Germany, European Union fragmented, military coups in Italy, Spain and Portugal. Economies shattered. Governments collapsed. Airports closed.
Oh, the White House? Burned to a shell.
Wyatt and Carter gather the remaining citizens of Copper Valley, CA to discuss a strategy and venture beyond town to assess the greater impact. But other forces are at work.
UNUSUAL AND DISTURBING TECHNOLOGY
Apparently, one Dr. Frasier – new to book two – reanimates Dr. Konrad via an intricate technology that is able to take his severed head from book one (saved in the underground below Monsterland by his loyal servant Igor) and bring it back to consciousness. Carrying out Plan B, the doctor has some unfinished business of his own. Helping the horror are an army of mummies and a life-sucking purplish ooze called the Glob.
While Okon’s works by design are short and sweet, he does have time to build some interesting character interactions:
Wyatt struggling to accept his stepfather Carter, a salt-of-the-earth guy offering life guidance but keeping his distance. Carter tries hard to help Wyatt open up about the atrocities from book one and Wyatt’s part in diffusing them, and put his demons to rest, so to speak.
Wyatt’s friend Howard coming of age with his love interest Keisha, who tries to help him overcome his awkwardness and insecurities as they affect their relationship.
Konrad and his assistant Igor, the stereotypical sidekick who was loyal to Konrad to a fault in book one, but sees his relevance quickly diminishing in the doctor’s grand schemes.
Once again, in Monsterland Reanimated, Okon’s imagination runs wild with a zany plot, fast-paced writing, and a unique blend of gore and sarcasm. And once again, it works for the reader.
“People can identify with my characters, because I have a familiar yet very different set of rules for each of them,” Okon said in a recent BookTrib interview. That seems to hold true — whether they are man or monster.
Michael Okon is an award-winning screenwriter and novelist. He’s written nine books including the bestselling Brood X, Stillwell, Monsterland,Witches Protection Program, The Flip, The After House and Battle for Darracia series. He resides on the North Shore of Long Island, NY. He writes full-time, with his screaming kids in the background.
Jim Alkon is Editorial Director of BookTrib.com. Jim is a veteran of the business-to-business media and marketing worlds, with extensive experience in business development and content. Jim is a writer at heart – whether a book review, blog, white paper, corporate communication, marketing or sales piece, it really doesn’t matter as long as he is having fun and someone is benefitting from it.