Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Beast (Darkdeep #2)

Condie, Ally and Reichs, Brendan. The Beast
September 24th 2019 by Bloomsbury Children's Books
ARC provided by the publisher

Timbers is safe because of the efforts of Nico, Opal, Tyler, Emma, and Logan in The Darkdeep, and now the friends just want to get back to normal. That's not easy to do when creatures keep appearing even when the kids are not going into the pool at Still Cove. As Torchbearers, they all know they need to keep the various creatures at bay, because no one else in town seems to understand how serious the threat is. This is apparent when Colton Bridger of the Freakshow shows up in town with his crew, intent of capturing the Beast for the show. The town has gone into Beast Fever, with t shirts, hamburgers and other tourist items for sale, and Emma wants so desperately to keep the producer away from Still Cove that she signs up to be an unpaid worker. There are some further clues about Torchbearers unearthed in town, and the green blob in a jar talks not only to Opal, but starts giving information to the others. More and more creatures make their way into our dimension, and the Torchbearers are told they need to "Repair the Seal" in the Rift. But how? During Halloween, there are an impressive number of creatures on the loose, but no one except our heroes realizes that they are a danger. Luckily, Tyler is able to save the day and keep the Beast from harming anyone. The Rift is still open, the blob seems more and more evil, and the Torchbearers are barely able to conceal the supernatural happenings. How long will they be able to keep Timbers safe?
Strengths: I'm late to the trend of Stranger Things (I don't have a television, and I'm not about to PAY for programs.), but it must be a Big Deal because I've read several books that compare themselves to the program. Unexplained evil on the loose, children saving the day-- that's a whole lot of middle grade stories, but the fresh twist in The Darkdeep and The Beast is fighting monsters. I do have students ask for books about this topic, and there haven't been a whole lot. The monsters are well done (always good to delve into people's darkest fears), the small town setting adds another level of angst and politics, and the inclusion of a paranormal show trying to cover an event that they suspect is fake but is actually real is a fun twist.
Weaknesses: I don't find monster books scary at all. Of all of the things that could happen in the world, this is about the least likely. I also don't believe in ghosts or space aliens, but even those seem more believable. Since my students get worried about things like killer clowns on the loose, however, this shouldn't be an issue with them.
What I really think: I always need more scary books, so I'll definitely purchase.

Bwahahaha! $3 at the thrift store. This dress makes me so happy!

Ms. Yingling

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