Top positive review
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A world of magic and dust
on June 18, 2007
Monster Planet completes David Wellington's zombie trilogy. A trilogy that became more and more supernatural as it went on and in this book we are treated to a story that steps away from the traditional zombie tale far more than the previous efforts. Monster Island and Monster Nation could only hint at the extent that magic would end up playing in this culmination of this saga.
The story takes place twelve years after the zombie plague began and most humans have been wiped out. We are reintroduced to some familiar characters and several new ones. Where the the first two stories were devoted to single liches (zombies who remain intelligent and have special powers) plus an ancient druid and mummies, in this story it starts to become clear that Nilla and Gary were not alone in their state of undead power. The Tsarevich is the most powerful lich of all, able to control massive armies of the undead. He not only controls them but has created other liches as well, Generals in his new army. He too, like the Gary and Nilla, has a love/hate relationship with Mael Mag Och, the ancient druidic ghost whose has been called upon by his ancient god to destroy the world. He has his own agenda and much like the other two that have come before he has a strong tendency to frustrate Mael to no end.
David Wellington has crafted a very involved and detailed mythology in this trilogy. His characters in this book, particularly Sarah and Ayaan, are rich and vibrant and are brought to life with a story that is complex and full of unique takes on the zombie genre.
Certainly, if you are reading this book I will have to presume that you have read his two previous novels and enjoyed them enough to complete the trilogy. If that is the case then you are probably someone who can step away from the traditional Romero works, even if you (like me) love those stories just as much. David has added several new layers on top of the standard stuff here, which allows the story to take off in totally new directions.
If I am to find fault in this book, it is the same fault I have found in the other two novels of the trilogy--some of the elements the author is asking me as the reader to suspend disbelief over are a little bit hard to swallow. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say, this realm is rather fantastical. I would dare say that the Monster series, especially this book, weaves a narrow path between horror and fantasy storytelling. Some elements do work and make good sense (such as human cultists who worship the liches and look forward to death so they can better serve them) while others are pretty over the top (some of the varied lich abilities are a pretty big stretch).
I guess the key thing to recognize is that despite the tagline on each book being "A zombie novel" the title of each includes the word 'monster'. The monsters in these novels are a bit more diverse than just zombies, as characters such as Erasmus, The Least, and Amanita clearly point out. Magic permeats everything and not only the dead have it, but the living as well.
Overall, I have to give the series the same amount of stars that I gave this book. I liked each one of the books primarily because David Wellington knows how to create interesting and compelling characters that are vivid and fun to read about but at the same time he takes risks, stretching the stories in ways that sometimes works and other times does not, at least for me. I will have to admit that he does pull it all together nicely in the end though, as fantastically wild as this saga became in this third and final act.