The Monsters of Otherness (Erec Rex Book 2) by Kaza Kingsley
Short Review: Strong second installment in Kaza Kingsley’s Erec Rex series combines imaginative adventures with some solid life lessons. Simon Jones is still a fabulous reader.
Long Review: The Monsters of Otherness begins with Erec back at home with his family, far from the magical world we got to know in the first installment of this series (The Dragon’s Eye). Never fear, we quickly find a reason to go back to Alypium. Once there, Erec finds himself faced with a choice. Either he can take on the quests required of him to become King or step aside to let the evil Stain brothers take the thrown unchallenged.
There are a lot of things afoot in this story. We have missing baby dragons, rioting crowds who seem to hate Erec and an assortment of new monsters. Kingsley has done a nice job of pulling Erec (and the rest of us) back into the Kingdom of the Keepers. Erec still has his friends along for most of the ride, but as we get deeper into the book – more of the challenges rest squarely on Erec’s shoulders. Erec is not greeted with the adoring fans he expected – but rather brainwashed mobs who think he is a fraud. He has remember that he has people who believe in him, perhaps most importantly himself.
I like the way Kingsley sneaks in lessons about not judging others by either their appearance or by what others tell you. While I don’t appreciate heavy-handed morality in stories, Kingsley has truly woven the message into the fabric of her tale.
My six year old son loved this book – plowing through it faster than I could keep up with him. He did warn me that something sad happens near the end. When I asked him if it made him cry, he replied with ‘almost’.
Jones delivers another beautifully read story with distinct voices and an appealing style of narration. I think I would listen to him read just about anything, judging by how he handles this series. I recommend you join him for this fabulous fantasy.