Saturday, 16 January 2010
Review: Monster Republic - The Divinity Project by Ben Horton
Released: January 1st, 2010
Grade rating: C
An explosion in a nuclear power plant. Kids patched up with scavenged body parts and bionic implants. A growing army of superhuman soldiers programmed for destruction. 'No', whispered Cameron to the monster in the glass. And he watched it shaking its hideous head. 'That's not me. You're not me'.
I was pretty excited when I heard that this book was like Terminator meets X-Men. What a premise! Luckily, Monster Republic delivered the non-stop action promised, and moved along at a very quick speed. As a bonus, Random House have included a few pages of art at the back, which made imagining the characters and settings that much easier.
Cameron is a normal teenage boy, with the usual mix of secondary school friends, and the hots for a girl in his year. He's not a character that stood out to me at first, but all that changed when he woke up after surviving an explosion at a power plant. He became a leader, a warrior, and someone to be feared. Cameron's new life as part-machine, part-boy struck me as a metaphor for growing up, with his new responsibilities and decision making teaching him some valuable life lessons.
Rora, a fellow member of the Monster Republic for rejects, is a good match for Cameron, and takes him under her wing. She comes across as the leader of the group, and risks a lot when she decides to trust Cameron. Carla, a mish-mash of machine parts and students, plays the main villain well, even though she coincidentally always turns up at the right place at the right time.
Monster Republic didn't hook me immediately, and it took me quite a while to warm to it. I felt detached from most of the characters, which I think is down to me not being able to easily empathise with their situation. I did enjoy all the action scenes, and the story itself was fantastic, but for me it just had that special ingredient missing.