Monster is the amazing first book in the Gone spin-off series, which takes place four years after the previous series. The Gone series is my favorite YA dystopian series, and I first discovered it back in 6th grade at my school library. An alien virus on a meteor attacked a nuclear power plant in Perdido Beach, California. When mixed with Uranium and human DNA, it formed a radioactive monster that called itself the Gaiaphage. It made an energy barrier that made everyone 15 and older disappear. Teens and animals also gained superpowers, and animals mutated. Four years ago, after defeating the Gaiaphage the barrier came down, children were reunited with their parents. The FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) was over.
But four years later, asteroids are hitting Earth again, with a worse alien virus. Monster is the story of the teens that mutate into monsters when ingesting the virus, and the story of the corrupt government trying to control them for experiments. Some are heroes, some are out of control. Instead of just Perdido Beach, this time it's all over the world. The only thing more terrifying than the FAYZ is when history repeats itself.
I absolutely loved this book! Michael Grant does not fail to impress! The book follows the perspectives of multiple characters, with the main characters of Shade and Dekka, a character from Gone. I loved how the book includes elements and characters from previous books. Monster is basically Gone dumped with gasoline, and it was incredible. I absolutely loved the plot! After six books, the author still manages to create new elements and revolutionize the already amazing series! I loved the concept before, and I still do. The dramatic battle and action scenes are even more gripping than before!
I really enjoyed the prospect of having to digest part of the rock to mutate instead of it happening against their will. This book really shows options, and how these teens had a choice to swallow the rock, a choice to change their lives. (Shade ate it with peanut butter.) Some are hungry for power, while some want to be the hero. Others were forced to take it by the corrupt government, like Dekka. The diversity of the characters is stronger than in the previous book because each character clearly has their own motivations.
A little detail that I liked was that Monster came out four years after Light, and the book takes place four years later. I like that it kept the time frame the same, and all the events made sense and aligned with that time jump. I also love that this book is a prime example of one of the reasons why we learn history in school, to prevent history from repeating. It will be very interesting to see how the past impacts their decisions. The last time I read the previous book, Light, was two years ago. I appreciated the balance of Monster talking about background information from previous books while not distracting from the main events.
Michael Grant has confirmed the release of two more books in this series, Villain, coming out September 1, 2018, and Hero in 2019. (Why oh why do I have to wait a whole year?)
I highly recommend that you pick up the Gone series, and/or his other series that I loved, Front Lines! Read my review of the last Gone book, Light! My Light review has links to all my Gone reviews. In the Front lines/Soldier Girl series, read my reviews of Front Lines, and Silver Stars! The third book in that series, Purple Hearts, comes out January 30, 2018.
Title: Monster (Monster Book 1)
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars