I was really curious read to "Monster Republic" by Ben Horton when I first saw it. The cover and bold font promise action and the challenge written on the front cover "Have you got the guts?" only spurred me on. Here's the blurb:
An explosion in a nuclear power plant.
Kids patched up with scavenged body parts and bionic implants.
A growing army of superhuman soldiers programmed for destruction.
Cameron Riley is about to discover that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...
I can see this book as the perfect gift for boys who don't like reading. It's got action, it's not too long, the font is relatively big and at the end there is a comic version of everything that has happened in the story. I love the illustrations by Christian Scheurer.
The story centres around Cameron Riley. He's an athletic guy who genuinely seems quite sweet. Cameron's going out with prettiest girl in his class, Marie Lyons. Unfortunately, he has also made himself a bit of an enemy with the school bully Carl Monkton. My favourite character in the book is Smarts, a blind kid that cracks sight jokes. Things are simple in Cameron's world, that is until the day of the accident...
When a school trip goes wrong, Cameron awakens to see "mechanical components exposed through tears in his skin" and "the emotionless O of the mouth of a gun barrel". Obviously he's scared about what has been done to him. Cameron trusts a stranger to help him escape from the place that has done this to him. After being shunned by his family, Cameron finds hope in a group called the Monster Republic. There are others like him and he's not doomed to have to live alone. However, he must still stay hidden from the public. But what if the Monster Republic isn't everything it's cracked up to be?
The pace of this book is quite fast which I like. It meant that it was hard to put down as there was constantly something I wanted to see resolved. The ending left me on tenterhooks. Cameron is offered something by the man who took away his old life if he'd only change sides. This book is the start of a series. I'd like to see the story progress in the sequel and see how Cameron feels about the man who has changed his life forever. On the negative, I just wish a little more had happened. I could have done with the book being a little longer.
Overall, I would give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.