Fourteen-year-old Matt Archer spends his days studying Algebra, hanging out with his best friend and crushing on the Goddess of Greenhill High, Ella Mitchell. To be honest, he thinks his life is pretty lame until he discovers something terrifying on a weekend camping trip at the local state park.
Monsters are real. And living in his backyard.
But that's not the half of it. After Matt is forced to kill a strange creature to save his uncle, he finds out that the weird knife he took from his uncle's bag has a secret, one that will change Matt's life. The knife was designed with one purpose: to hunt monsters. And it's chosen Matt as its wielder.
Now Matt's part of a world he didn't know existed, working with a covert military unit dedicated to eliminating walking nightmares. Faced with a prophecy about a looming dark war, Matt soon realizes his upcoming Algebra test is the least of his worries.
His new double life leaves Matt wondering which is tougher: hunting monsters or asking Ella Mitchell for a date?
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*
Matt is on a camping trip with his Uncle when a Yeti like creature attacks them. Using a knife from the tent, Matt kills it and saves his Uncle, forever changing his destiny. The knife is no longer Uncle Mike's-it it Matt's and he has just been recruited as a monster hunter for the US Government.
This book gets off to a very good start, straight into the monster attack and Matt's new destiny. No waffle, no boring crap, no long rambling introduction or history lesson. I liked that. When the scene switches to Matt obsessing over Ella at school I thought 'oh no, here we go with the YA cliche story' but it didn't go like that. It is a brief interlude from the monsters to introduce Ella. No love triangles, no mass teenage angst or other YA tropes thankfully, just three mature kids and a monster story. I think it is because Matt, Will and Ella are so likeable and you can relate to them that it works. Will is the rich boy with a talent for sport but his family never spend time with him and Matt's dad abandoned him and his family at birth, leaving Mike as the substitute father. Having him deployed to Afghanistan is a blow to Matt, and the reader because I love Mike! You can't help feeling sympathy for both boys. Matt's sister comes into the book more as it goes on and she is really good fun to read about. The characters really make this book such an engrossing read. It is the same when you start to meet all the army guys-I liked all of them! It's unusual to care so much for all the people in a book with such a large cast! Except for Ella's idiot boyfriend of course. He needs a damn good slap...
"I'm sending you out into the woods with a knife to kill eight foot tall Wookiees!"
The book is a great mixture of monster hunting tension and excitement, and stupid funny humour, which is exactly what I love in my books. Add in the different monsters, the magic knife and shamans and you have a really good plot. The teenage monster hunters aren't always smart and they do mess up a lot, which keeps it realistic in a sense, and it makes the action scenes quite gripping. The story rolls along at a good pace without any boring bits to slow it down, and there are no massive information dumps to confuse. The author does a good job in describing what teenage boys would think, talk and act like in these situations, which makes it easy to bond with Matt and Will, yet they never appear immature or moronic, which makes a nice change.
"Parker's team is in China...dealing with the mutant pandas."
I also enjoyed the chance to see a book with the Green Berets featuring heavily in a supernatural setting. One minute we are chasing Yeti things in Montana, then we are at an army camp and then the jungles of Peru with mutant crocodile things. The change of settings keeps the monster hunting fresh and interesting. There are plenty monsters and battles to keep the reader interested and you never really know what is going to happen next..
Overall there are no complaints or niggles about this book which I enjoyed enough to buy for my paperback collection this week. I'm not a huge fan of YA but the characters in this book are mature and fun, and it is a book aimed at older YA and adult readers so adults will enjoy this just as much as the YA audience. If you like monsters, action, horror elements and humour in your YA then give Matt Archer a try!