Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Book Review: Tom Blake on Strange Metamorphosis by award-winning children's novelist P.C.R. Monk (and giveaway)

Strange Metamorphosis by P. C. R. Monk
Review by Tom Blake
This book is an
indieBRAG winner

Please see details at the bottom of post for a giveaway!

This book is the story of a boy, intelligent and eccentric, called Marcel. He has a difficult decision to make about his life: to take the apprenticeship at Villeneuve and follow his father’s footsteps, or to take the scholarship at a renowned technical college in Paris, without any guarantee of success. Quite a predicament.

After much deliberation, Marcel confides in the alleged magic oak tree. The decision seemingly becomes less important after something magical happens to Marcel, throwing him into an unexpected buggy world.

Given the quest to find royal jelly to change back into a human, Marcel is left to fight for survival as a small human but rapidly turning into a bug. The quest makes him learn about himself, make (bug) friends and fight the enemy.

When I chose the book, I didn’t quite know what to expect, being a mystery/thriller/horror author and reader. But I decided to give this book a chance to see if I could find a new genre to enjoy.

Beginning the book, I felt comfortable reading it, feeling it was a genre which I’ve missed out on. I enjoyed the setting of the South of France, and I liked Marcel’s unconventional personality: indecisive, shy and gullible, but with much potential in life. Which is very believable of a fourteen-year-old boy.

As I read on, I enjoyed the idea of Marcel being turned into a bug and fighting to turn back into a human, such an original idea. But as I read on, I couldn’t help but think of James and the Giant Peach and A Bug's Life and some other books and films. That point isn’t negative, because although similar in some ways, I felt Strange Metamorphosis has its own themes, an innovative story, different to all the other bug life kind of stories. I also liked the wide variety of bugs throughout the story. They were not obvious characters and type of bugs for Marcel to interact with; I think that is what I liked most.

The main objective of the story and for main character Marcel is pretty straightforward, with the occasional side track of a story. I didn’t dislike the simplicity of ‘boy searches for the royal jelly’ but I do think that there could have been more to it; then again I would think that being a mystery thriller reader.

Throughout the book, I could tell that the author P. C. R. Monk is a very intellectual individual and experienced within the writing industry. His writing flowed fluently and the tone of the book was also fun. But at times, I felt that the style was too formal as well as Marcel’s language. As I was reading I couldn’t imagine the Marcel in my mind uttering the words I read. This also questioned my initial thought that this was a book suitable to children as well as young adult. The plot and genre would be suitable for children, but the way in which it is written it is for YA.

Finally I would like to mention the front cover. It’s very interesting and having constantly taking a glimpse of the front cover as I read; it urged me to read faster to get to the part where he becomes a bug.

Overall I am glad that I took the time to read this book, it was a nice change from the usual genres I read. It was a book that was simple yet intriguing, with a wide range of characters and an original writing style from Mr Monk.

Author P.C.R Monk

Read about the author P C R Monk on his website and his bio here. Apart from winning a BRAG Medallion award for Strange Metamorphosis, Mr Monk has also been awarded a Children's Literary Seal of Approval.

The author is kindly giving away a copy of Strange Metamorphosis. Please leave a comment here on the blog if you would like your name in the draw. 
*Facebook users* may also comment here for a chance to be entered.

Tom Blake is the author of Endurance and The Author. His genre lies mainly in thrillers and horror. This is Tom's debut for The Review and you can follow him on FacebookGoodreads, Twitter and on his website.

T. J. Blake


  1. A fab review Tom, looks like a fun read for youngsters AND their oldies!

  2. The hint of intertextuality and reminder of another young man with a similar dilemma makes me want to check this book out--and the cover: fantastic!

  3. Not my usual genre but the review does make it sound extremely intriguing, and for that reason I will just have to give it a go!