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 The Monster Librarian Presents

Reviews for Killer Animals, Kaiju, and Creatures of Legends Titles for Young Adults


Bats, rats, crabs, and spiders:  whether they are big or small, they can create fear and terror. These stories play upon our basic fear of some of nature's neatest little critters.   This section also includes those monsters that are not supernatural in origin. The fear of the creepy crawlers starts young and below are killer animal titles for young adults.


Valley of Dragons: The Sasha Strange Chronicles by K. H. Koehler

K. H. Koehler Books, 2011


Available: ebook(Kindle, Nook, Kobo)

         The third and final volume in K. H. Koehler's tale of steampunk, time travel and dragons is just as good as the previous two.  As in the second volume, there is a reorienting chapter at the start, and then the tale continues.  Sasha Strange, Lord Quinn, and now Dr. John Ulysses, struggle to survive long enough to finally devise a machine to return home.   The only things standing in their way are the primitive conditions, their egos and the Valley of Dragons. 

         K. H. Koehler maintains the tone established by the earlier parts of the story and keeps you with the adventurers as they struggle through one calamity after the next.  As in the previous two parts, the descriptions flesh out the world and immerse the reader.  The characters continue to develop nicely throughout this part of the story as their relationships deepen, creating new conflicts as a result.  This forces the heroes to find ways to work with each other despite themselves.  The author uses a variety of conflicts to keep the action tight and the pacing fast as the past and the present face off in the final encounter.  All in all a great finish to the tale!  Other works I have read from her are Slayer, The Blackburn and Scarletti Mysteries, Volumes I & II,  Scarabus, The Dreadful Doctor Faust, Planet of Dinosaurs: The Sasha Strange Chronicles, and Sea of Serpents: The Sasha Strange Chronicles. Recommended for adult readers.

Contains: Adult situations, Gore

Reviewed by:  Aaron Fletcher




Planet of Dinosaurs: The Sasha Strange Chronicles by K. H. Koehler

K. H. Koehler Books, 2011


Available:  ebook(Kindle, Nook)

         Time Travel Steampunk.  This is a fun read from K. H. Koehler.  The story begins in 1889, with the heroine, Sasha Strange, on the verge of being married off to the boorish brute Lord Sirius Quinn.  To the chagrin of her father, Sasha is only interested in science and the freedom to explore away from high society.  Lord Quinn gets drunk and passes out at the dinner at which their engagement is to be announced— an announcement that surprises everyone, including Sasha.  Sasha retreats to her laboratory to lament her fate, and to show off her latest experiment, the Tuning Machine, to her part-time assistant, Toby.  A twist of fate sends Sasha, Toby, and Lord Quinn through the vortex of time and place to another world, populated by dinosaurs and a tribe of people known as the Sen, with no way back to 1889.   

         Planet of Dinosaurs is the first book of a trilogy about Sasha and her traveling companions. I really enjoyed reading this work and am looking forward to reading the next two parts, Sea of Serpents and Valley of Dragons.  The author does a great job of description and setting the tone throughout, using period dialogue effectively and without breaking the flow of the story.  You really get a sense of each character as an individual.  I am not a fan of dinosaur stories, but there is enough science, history, and action mixed in that I had a good time with this one.  Other works I have read from her are Slayer, The Blackburn and Scarletti Mysteries, Volumes I & II,  Scarabus, and The Dreadful Doctor Faust. Recommended for adult readers.

Contains:  Gore, Graphic Violence, Adult situations, Adult Language

Reviewed by:  Aaron Fletcher



Sea of Serpents: The Sasha Strange Chronicles by K. H. Koehler

K. H. Koehler Books, 2011


Available:  ebook(Kindle, Nook, Kobo)

         K. H. Koehler has put together a great second stage to her tale of time travel, steampunk and dinosaurs.  This volume picks up where Planet of Dinosaurs ended complete with a short summary to reorient the reader.  In Sea of Serpents, Sasha Strange, Lord Quinn, and Toby, sort through their relationships to one another while overcoming adversity and trying to survive in a land full of dinosaurs.  They journey to the sea shore in hopes of finding Dr. John Ulysses, who may be able to get them back home. Sasha sets her scientific mind to understanding their new world.  Lord Quinn wants to kill everything he can.  Toby just wants to help Sasha find Dr. Ulysses and survive.  They all want to get back home. 

         This is the well-written prose that I expect from Ms. Koehler.  The descriptions are complete enough to get you into the environment without being overdone.  There is plenty of action and conflict, both of the physical and emotional kinds.  The characters are well thought out and their distinct personalities continue to drive the story forward.  The character development is very good as the relationships between the three main characters gets more complicated.   Other works I have read from her are Slayer, The Blackburn and Scarletti Mysteries, Volumes I & II,  Scarabus, The Dreadful Doctor Faust, and Planet of Dinosaurs: The Sasha Strange Chronicles.

     Recommended for adult readers.

Contains: Adult situations, Gore

Reviewed by:  Aaron Fletcher





Raiju: A Kaiju Hunter Novel by K.H. Koehler *New Review

Tokusatsu Press, 2010

ISBN-13: 9780982676103

Available: Pre-order

    Kevin Takahashi is a 16-year-old refugee from San Francisco living in New York City with his dad.  San  Francisco was destroyed by a kaiju, or monster (think Godzilla).  A shark had eaten so much polluted fish that it changed into a monster called a Karkadon and came ashore in San Francisco Bay, wiping out more than half the city.  Kevin’s life changed forever that day. 

    Aimi is a rich girl who is at the last stop in a long line of private schools.  She’s a sickly, small girl, made to seem even smaller by the Goth makeup and clothing she has chosen to wear.  Kevin defends her from a bully on his first day in a new school and is smitten.  There’s a lot more than first love going on between these two teens, however.  Then a kaiju appears in the city and Kevin is the only one who seems to be able to fight it off!

    In his fear and confusion, Kevin seeks out his landlord, Mr. Serizawa, who tells Kevin about his destiny, which is wrapped in Japanese Shinto myth. Kevin is a Keeper… a keeper of the gods. He is reluctant to believe it, but knows what he sees with his own eyes.    Can Kevin fulfill his destiny and still be a 16-year-old boy?  What will happen to his new friends and his new love?

    I loved this story.  It’s a Young Adult novel full of the requisite teen angst, woven around a beautiful Japanese mythological story of the origin of mankind.  It is also a story of young love gone haywire.  What I really liked, though, was that Ms. Koehler has managed to subtly pass on a lesson about taking care of the planet, and the subsequent consequences of not doing so.  It is the quintessential kaiju story and anyone who loves Japanese kaiju stories will like this book, regardless of their age.

Review by Colleen Wanglund


We present a second look review  of Raiju: A Kaiju Hunter by Jim Cobb whose reviews can also be found at

    Kevin is a survivor of a great disaster in San Francisco. A giant monster had leveled the city, killing Kevin's best friend among thousands of others. Kevin and his father move to New York City for a fresh start. Unfortunately for Kevin, making friends at his new school while avoiding getting into trouble is the least of his worries. He soon learns he is a Keeper, destined to play a central role in the war of the Kami. Keepers have the power to call forth their own Kami, huge and immensely powerful creatures. Side benefits are flaming hands and, at least in Kevin's case, a mystical katana.
    As Kevin tries to sort through this new development in his life, he has bigger problems. He's fallen in love with the school's coolest and most beautiful girl but she's attached to the school's toughest bully. Will she like Kevin if she learns his secret? And what is it that she is hiding about herself?
    In Raiju, the author has perfectly captured the voice of Kevin, who narrates the story. At the outset, Kevin is the epitome of the "rebel without a clue". He is angry, suffering from survivor's guilt, and frustrated with how trouble seems to seek him out. As the story progresses, he develops into a fully realized reluctant hero. To be honest, this is how Peter Parker would be if he were played by James Dean. While the character development is outstanding, the book really shines in the "Hulk Smash!" battle scenes. Giant monsters duking it out is just full of awesome.

Ms. Koehler has a hit with this book. Rousing action, teen angst, and just enough Japanese myth to whet our appetites without becoming a history lesson. In short, this book rocks!
Review by Jim Cobb


Note: This review is part of Monster Movie Month at

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The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 2009

ISBN: 9781416987987

Available: New

    In The Monstrumologist, twelve year old Will Henry is thrust into danger when a grave robber brings a horrifying creature to his mentor, Dr. Warthrop, in the middle of the night. Dr. Warthrop is a monstrumologist, a monster-hunting doctor, and now Will and his mentor are in a race to find and stop these creatures before there is more bloodshed.  


    The Monstrumologist is an incredibly well written book that contains elements of mystery, horror, and adventure. Yancey fills this book with both atmosphere and gore.  Written in a gothic style, there is no romance here, only a world of darkness and dread. The relationships of the characters, especially between Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop are complex and develop throughout the story.  The difficult language will be a barrier for reluctant readers, though- this is a book for advanced readers and not for the faint of heart. In short, The Monstrumologist is a wonderful, old-fashioned horror tale, and since it is the first in a series, readers can expect to see more from Yancey soon.  Readers advisory note: The Monstrumologist would make a good stretch title for those who are attracted by action and darker themes and are looking to read something more complicated and nuanced in the writing style. Highly recommended for middle and high school libraries and public library YA collections.

Contains:  Gore and violence


We offer a second look at The Monstrumologist from Ben Franz.

The Monstrumologist is the first book in a continuing series. Rick Yancey explores the life and times of Dr. Pellinore Warthrop through the eyes of his young assistant/foster child Will Henry. Dr. Warthrop is a monstrumologist, devoted to studying the physiology and physiognomy of monsters. Through Will’s authoritative journals, we discover that they were quite prevalent in his childhood.

In this initial volume of The Monstrumologist series, Dr. Warthrop and Will must do battle with the Anthropophagi – a headless primate version of a shark. A nest has developed in their New England town’s cemetery, and Dr. Winthrop must enlist the help of hunters such as the cold-blooded Jack Kearns, to assist in the eradication of the monsters. The Monstrumologist is a fun, absorbing look into the dark recesses of the human mind.  Recommended for advanced young adult readers, and older.

Contains: Violence and gore, cannibalism, medical dissection.


Reviewed by Ben Franz




Raptor by Paul Zindel

Hyperion Books For Children, 1998
ISBN: 0786823747

Available: New and Used

    When Zack and his Native American friend Ute explore the cave where Zack’s paleontologist father was mysteriously injured, they discover a strange nest with very large eggs. Zack, thinking they might be worth a lot of money, takes an egg with him despite Ute’s warnings that he should leave it be. Ute is right, of course. As soon as she and Zack get the egg home, it hatches into (surprise!) a baby raptor, and not thirty minutes later, its mother comes by looking for junior. And all of that happens in the first fifty pages! Teens will love the fast pace of this book. It opens with a gruesome raptor attack, so there’s no waiting around for dinosaur action, and there’s a thrill in every chapter. I also loved Zack’s eating a live grub to impress Ute’s wise old grandmother. Why, you may ask, is a supposedly extinct raptor roaming around the Utah desert? Well, that’s the book’s big mystery and I won’t spoil it for you.  Situations are extremely contrived, the characters are painfully flat, and the writing is awkward, overdone and melodramatic. The scenes involving raptors attacking people were well described, fun to read and surprisingly gruesome. Personally, I rooted for the raptors to chomp Zack and Ute and end this silly novel early on, but teen readers, especially boys, will eat this story up. Contains: gore, violence, adult alcohol use.

Review by Horror Master





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