Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: The Creature Department

The Creature Department
By Robert Paul Weston
Published 2013 by Razorbill

Elliot Von Doppler has always wondered what exactly it is his uncle does in his job at the mysterious DENKi-3000 company. He is thrilled when his uncle finally invites him, along with another student from his class, Leslie, to visit the factory. What Elliot and Leslie discover is beyond their wildest imaginings - and the magic they discover is in terrible danger. Can Elliot and Leslie help Uncle Archie save the company?

I requested this e-galley because I'd enjoyed one of Weston's books before (Zorgamazoo, though it was a bit odd) and because I'm still trying to read more middle-grade. Like the first Weston book I read, I found this one rather odd.

I'll admit, I was initially disappointed that this book was not written in verse (as Zorgamazoo was), simply because I love reading novels in verse. Once I got over this disappointment, I tried to engage myself with the book at hand. Unfortunately, I had a difficult time with that. I really wanted to like this book - I'm always looking for more fantastic middle grade to recommend to readers at my library (and, yes, I'm aware that I haven't read even close to everything that's been published in the last few years). The premise of this one was interesting but a bit tired. Of course, the kids are the only ones who can rescue the company from the imminent takeover by an evil conglomerate.

I guess my main problem with the whole thing is that it all just seemed a little much. The kids having to save everyone, the introduction of the actual creatures, the fact that the company looking to take over DENKi-3000 is actually being run by the creatures natural enemies - it all just seemed a little too forced and a little too silly to me. Additionally, this book suffered a bit from pacing. At times, it seemed repetitive and it felt overly long to me. I'm not sure how many readers will have the patience to keep going with this book at the less than exciting pace it takes.

Overall, a disappointment for me. Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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