A wild, romping adventure with nods to Frankenstein, The Maker of Monsters is a joyfully imaginative children’s story with very human themes of friendship and acceptance at its heart.
Young Brat lives as a servant in Lord Macawber’s castle. Having been on the castle's remote island ever since he was washed ashore as an orphaned baby, Brat is quite used to his master’s strange experiments. Without human friends around, Brat’s only company is Lord Macawber’s army of ’creations’; stitched-together creatures brought to life through the act of necromancy. Most of the monsters are terrifyingly dangerous and locked in cages on the various floors of the castle, but Brat forms loyal friendships with a couple of the more placid mini monsters.
When Lord Macawber brings to life his most fearsome monster ever and intends to send his army on a vengeful attack of a nearby city, it falls to Brat to find a way to warn and save the inhabitants. What follows is a fast-paced adventure as Brat races against the clock (and against a whole heap of other obstacles, including prejudice, imprisonment and a city that creates outcasts at every opportunity) to stop the monsters wreaking havoc.
I enjoyed the mix of magic and mayhem, the harmless humour and the breadth of imagination poured into the characters and setting. But the real heart of the story is Brat’s own journey to face the metaphorical monsters within himself. Never having been met with true acceptance or kindness before, Brat’s story demonstrates the transformative power of positive human connection for both individuals and wider society.
A fun, gothic adventure filled with thrills and imagination, The Maker of Monsters will surely be a winner for readers in Years 3-6.
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