Monday, December 19, 2011

Mr. Monster by Dan Wells

**May contain Spoilers to I Am Not a Serial Killer**

Mr. Monster is the sequel to I Am Not a Serial Killer. Although I had not read the previous novel, I had no trouble getting into this story and putting together all of the pieces. It's an intriguing story into the world of a boy trying desperately to deal with demons, both his own self and in the real world.

John has been labeled a sociopath and is basically one step away from being a serial killer. He's already killed one person, but that was to save a town - so does that make it okay? Every day he has to deal with "Mr. Monster," which is what he calls the half of himself that longs to kill. He has a long series of rules that he tries to follow in order to avoid Mr. Monster from taking control, but sometimes it's a struggle to follow all of the rules. In the meantime, he has to try his hardest not to give Brooke - the girl he likes and secretly desires harming - too much attention, which becomes difficult when she starts giving him more attention. On top of Mr. Monster and the complicated Brooke situation, his sister is in an abusive relationship (and John would really like to give the boyfriend a piece of his mind) and now there are dead bodies showing up in town. As John probes FBI agent Forman for information, he begins to wonder if they have a serial killer in the form of a human or a demon - a problem that only John can solve.

This novel does not shy away from pushing the limits on abuse - including animal abuse which made me a little squeamish - and the intricacies of embalming bodies. Aside from that, this is a really interesting novel. It does a great job showing John's struggle to do what's right and to still accept who he is supposed to be. Is he destined to be Mr. Monster, or is he supposed to be John, an average teenager? The novel is very successful in showing that tug-of-war. It did a good job filling in the blanks for people who haven't read that first novel and, at the same time, creating enough interest that you want to go and read the first novel - even though you know how it ends. While I am not a fan of supernatural, the demon aspect of this novel does not turn me off of these novels. It adds a new level of fascination because each demon has his own characteristics.

Everything seemed to work in this novel. There is amazing personal struggle so you really end up caring for the main character - even if he is a budding sociopath. It is an overall intriguing story and worth the read, although be forewarned that it doesn't hold back in terms of concepts that might make you uncomfortable.

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