Friday, September 27, 2013

Review: Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell

Title: Monster on the Hill
Author: Rob Harrell
Genre: Fantasy Graphic Novel
Release Date: 6 August 2013

In a fantastical 1860s England, every quiet little township is terrorized by a ferocious monster - much to the townsfolk's delight! Each town's unique monster is a source of local pride, not to mention tourism. Each town, that is... except for one. Unfortunately, for the people of Stoker-on-Avon, their monster isn't quite as impressive. In fact, he's a little down in the dumps.

Can the morose Rayburn get a monstrous makeover and become a proper horror? It's up to the eccentric Dr. Charles Wilkie and plucky street urchin Timothy to get him up to snuff, before a greater threat turns the whole town to kindling! Monsters of all ages are sure to enjoy this tale about life's challenges, the power of friendship, and creative redemption, packed with epic battles and plenty of wild beasts!

I have a special weakness for graphic novels, especially fantasy stories that look to play with conventions - and Monster on the Hill most definitely did.

Rob Harrell's penned an incredibly fun, quirky, and silly story about Rayburn - the monster that belongs to Stoker-on-Avon. I loved the whole subversion, right off the bat, that the monsters terrorize the town and the townsfolks LOVE it. They run and scream, and when it's all over, they are absolutely delighted. Unfortunately for Stoker-on-Avon, Rayburn has a bit of depression going on. He doesn't want to do much of anything, and his sighs and grumblings are bringing down the whole town.

When a disgraced doctor, and a plucky kid go to help him out of his funk, it's a surprise to all of them what they find along the way to getting Rayburn's monsterly abilities back! Friendship and adventure await them as they travel to visit an old school buddy of Rayburn's. I really enjoyed the interactions between Timothy, the Doctor and Rayburn. More than once I laughed out loud, chuckled to myself, and just grinned about something they'd done or said.

The story and dialogue tickled me with it's sly, dry, and slightly sarcastic humor; propelling me through the book. Though we're in the 1860s, there's plenty of anachronistic mentions that made some of the jokes even funnier. By the end of the journey, I was simply delighted to have been able to read this book. If you like silly, goofy, quirky and plain old fun - no matter your age - I'd definitely recommend this.

Grade: B

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