Verdict: THE MONSTER REALM is a refreshing fantasy ride into a uniquely imaginative world.
A girl’s search for her missing sister evolves into the unexpected when she discovers an impending war between monsters and humans and that she is the only one who can save the destruction of the two worlds.
Twelve-year-old Lillian sneaks out to the beach in the middle of the night with her friends, Katy and Maisy, hoping to confirm her strange intuitions about her sister Bluebell, who has been missing for two years. Instead, the trio finds a boy named Jack, who leads the girls through a portal to Lanodeka, a magical world designed by and for friendly monsters. But as the realm mysteriously alters, the group’s journey to locate Bluebell becomes dangerous. When Lillian and Bluebell finally meet, Lillian discovers her sister’s sinister war plans between the monsters and humans. Lillian has the power to save both worlds, but it may mean risking her and her family’s lives.
Nara Duffie writes a twisted fantasy in her debut. Duffie molds and shapes Lillian, her main character, and supportive cast by surrounding them with a host of monsters. Having their own distinctive yet quirky qualities, Duffie’s human and beastly characters are well defined. Replete with mythological, legendary, and new creatures, Duffie’s monsters includes the infamous Medusa, brownies, orcs, rocs, elves, goblins, dryads, sirens, and a new one called a rivermander—just to name a few. Divided into three parts, Duffie keeps her third person narrative flowing by incorporating engaging human-and-beastly dialogues while alternating between unanticipated adventure scenes and Lillian’s childhood reflections.
Duffie candidly shares the ups and downs of her literary journey that began when she was seven years of age with the inception of the National Novel Writing Month. Hoping her story and personal writing experience will encourage others to turn their creativity into tomes, Duffie closes by including ten helpful pointers “for kids who want to write a novel.”
THE MONSTER REALM is a refreshing fantasy ride into a uniquely imaginative world.