Book: Return to Exile by E.J. Patten
Genre: MG Fantasy (of the urban sort)
Rating: ★★★☆ ☆
For: Local Author Blog Tour
From: I bought this one at an event last Christmas at "my" library wherein I actually sat by Eric while he signed books! So that's kinda fun, yes?
The story is that last fall when this book came out the author (E.J. Patten aka. Eric) was recovering from surgery and wasn't able to promote it as he would have liked. Thus, this sort of delayed blog tour was formed thanks to Diana from Book Adventures who put it together, and we are now reading and blogging and touring it!
Let me just say right up front that this book is full of monsters! Chuck full of them! So if you love monsters, you can't go wrong with this book. If you are scared of them? Well, I say you read it anyway! :)
In this story we have Sky Weathers, a boy just turning 12, who idolizes his eccentric uncle who has been his best friend his whole life. This uncle suddenly disappears on Sky's birthday, even as Sky and his family are moving to a new house. This, to say the least, is a bit disturbing for Sky and he plans to figure out what's up.
Meanwhile, all sorts of other strange things are going on. There's the bullies at school who are a bit strange. There's also the teachers at school who seem sort of off. There's this strange mark that Sky has on his hand that acts up now and then which confuses him. Even his Mom and Dad are acting weird.
Of course, then there's the monsters that attack him when he went to investigate where he thinks his uncle might be!
Basically, this book is one crazy event after the other where Sky and his new friends have to save the day several times over. To me it was sort of a mix between ghost (or shall we say monster!) busters, and an alien (or monsters) "men in black" sort of feeling... with kids in the starring roles of course. These kids who hunt the monsters are called Hunters, which is where the series title, The Hunter Chronicles, comes from. Yes, of COURSE this is the first of series!
The only problem I had is that there's so much monster detail! Sometimes I felt the story itself got lost among all the explanation about the monsters... and the pacing suffered a bit for it. However, I think kids will find this quite fascinating. In fact, there's a fun monster handbook included at the end so they can get all the explanations in one place. Oh and wait! There's lots of riddles too. So monster loving AND riddle loving kids will be pleased!
My daughter (just turned 13) also recently read this book, and while I think she liked it for the most part (it did take her awhile though, it's a long one!) she did mention that she didn't like the ending. This made me prepared for something not so good to happen, yet, I actually found the ending quite satisfying.
Bottom line: I liked it! It's a fun, very adventurous story that I think lots of monster loving kids will really enjoy.
Be sure to check out the other reviews on the blog tour!