Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies (An Awfully Beastly Business) by The Beastly Boys

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Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies (An Awfully Beastly Business) by The Beastly Boys

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A sea monster needs repair in this second entry to the series. On the whole it is just as good as the first entry, but bears such a striking resemblance we are left feeling cheated.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: July 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
ISBN: 1847388388

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Meet Ulf again. Never has a boy been so brave in his work in defence of a sanctuary for monsters. But who am I to say whether he's braver than the norm? I don't have much experience with young werewolves.

Yes, in this second book in the series Ulf is still being looked after by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Beasts, the RSPCB. It's still an immense, sprawling reserve for copious monsters – the endangered, the rare or just the plain old big and nasty (such as the biganasty itself). Here there's another new addition, a huge sea monster that's been brought along, injured and dying, but still so venomously lethal she cannot possibly be treated. Or so it would seem…

Here, too … Hold on, why should I be the one to sound like a stuck record? Please, just look at my review of volume one and transpose it all to what we have here, for this book is ridiculously, disappointingly, similar. Take as a case in point my comments that there was nothing beyond a flavour for technobabble and an autopsy scene to count against it being readable for the target audience. Here there's the exact same fondness for long terminology, but instead of the autopsy we get brain surgery.

You'll see how I accused the first book, for the adult reviewer at least, of being quite predictable. This one would actually be less so, were it not for the huge swathes that mimic the first volume's action and set-up. It never struck me, however good the first book may have been, when someone perhaps was willing to wish for 'more of the same', that that might be such a dangerous request. There is a small sense of everything here being bigger, with just a bit more of everything. The scenes in book one that were obviously designed to set us up by introducing the series and its personnel and locations have been replaced by more, high-octane thrills – but that is the only instance where this book does not cover the same old ground all over again.

This then is a wasted opportunity – beyond how it teaches me not to judge franchise books from just the initial entry. The first book left me and I'm sure an awful lot of other readers eager for the rush of the second. However if the sense of déjà vu is going to be so strong each time, we will have to think of rationing these books for ourselves.

There's again little that's wrong here, in and of itself – it's still a well-put-together volume, with a fun story and sheer joyful entertainment. There's the slightest of morals in the way the baddy humans are so much more monstrous than the monsters themselves, but its reason for being is sheer enjoyment. This it achieves practically on a par with the first book, although here several sentences are highlighted in odd font and capital letters FOR VERY LITTLE REASON.

Such out-and-out recycling cannot but have an effect on the valued Bookbag rating. We can still give the book four stars, as it is another sterling read, but you should brace yourself for the cry of 'mummy, I've already read this one!' just a couple of hours after purchase.

We would like to thank Simon and Schuster for our review copy.

There are more monsters adventures for the same age range in the series beginning with Monster Makers: Electrotaur and Slashermite by Ali Sparkes, which does know when not to return to former glories.

Buy Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies (An Awfully Beastly Business) by The Beastly Boys at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies (An Awfully Beastly Business) by The Beastly Boys at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies (An Awfully Beastly Business) by The Beastly Boys at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Sea Monsters and Other Delicacies (An Awfully Beastly Business) by The Beastly Boys at Amazon.com.


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