Saturday, October 15, 2005

Here Be Monsters - Alan Snow (Reprise)

Cover Image

Alan Snow's Here Be Monsters! is a fun book ! The illustrations are detailed and fascinating, and the story is interesting. The Monsters of the title are described in 'Johnson's Taxonomy of Trolls and Creatures' which is provided at the start of the book:

Box Trolls - "A sub-species of the common troll, they are very shy, so live inside a box. These they gather from the backs of large shops. They are somewhat troublesome creatures - as they have a passion for everything mechanical and no understanding of the concept of ownership (they steal anything which is not bolted down, and more often than not, anything which is). It is very dangerous to leave tools lying about where they might find them."

Cabbageheads - "Belief has it that cabbageheads live deep underground and are the bees of the underworld. Little else is known about them at this time, apart from a fondness for brassicas." (They are people who wear a cabbage strapped to their head - hence the name - and rarely speak above a whisper.)

Trotting Badgers - "Trotting badgers are some of the nastiest creatures to be found anywhere. With their foul temper, rapid speed, and razor-sharp teeth it cannot be stressed just how unpleasant and dangerous these creatures are. It is only their disgusting stench that gives warning of their proximity, and when smelt it is often too late."

Rabbit Women - "Very little is known about these mythical creatures, except that they are supposed to live with rabbits and wear clothes spun from rabbit wool." (In fact they are women in rabbit jump-suits (think of Anya's costume in 'Fear, Itself' (BtVS 4:4) but less fluffy) who believe rabbits are their ancestors.)

Cheese - "Wild English Cheeses live in bogs. This is unlike their French cousins who live in caves. They are nervous beasties, that eat grass by night, in the meadows and woodlands. They are also of very low intelligence, and are panicked by almost anything that catches them unawares. Cheese make easy quarry for hunters, being rather easier to catch than dead sheep."

You'll find illustrations at Read this book - it's funny and crazy, and Arthur, the young hero, is both very brave and quite foolish. As it's also titled 'The Ratbridge Chronicles Volume 1', I'll be interested to see what happens in volume 2 !


Kelly said...

Thanks for the review, Michele! I do want to read this one. The trotting badgers sound scary :)

Michele said...

Actually the trotting badgers were seriously underplayed ! By far the scariest characters were the Members (of the Cheese Guild) - they're human (more or less) and the villains of the piece... I certainly wouldn't want to meet one of them down a dark alley !

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the book. And just to let you know that the trotting badgers do play a greater role in book 2. Take care and thanks for the blog. alan

Michele said...

Ooh ! My first ever author-comment - I'm as excited as a child... Thanks for the tip about book 2 - I will be looking out for it (I'm signed up for newsletters from OUP so I'll know when it's due out). And you're welcome for the blog - I enjoyed the book a good deal.

hornblower said...

I wish book 2 would come out soon! My son is getting SO impatient! Do you have any news about that on your side of the pond?

Michele said...

Not as yet - I've had a quick look at the OUP site and not found anything about book 2.