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From Goodreads: "Creatureton University" 4 Out of 5 Stars
Our journey has ended and I have finally finished Anthony Paolucci's trilogy, and boy do I have a lot to talk about. When I first started the series (see my Book 1 Review), I said I was surprised that nobody approached the author to option the series as a movie, but as I was reading the third entry I feel like the pacing might be better suited for a television show on Netflix or Freeform. I'm embarrased to admit it, but as I was reading, I kept forgetting that I was reading and not watching a television series. In hindsight, that mindset explains a lot. The pacing of the novels, especially the first and third are structurally different than that of more traditional novels (such as Elementary's short third act, High's abrupt ending, or University's expository act breaks) and I think that's because their structure models that of a television series-- similarly to how Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain trilogy reads.
Overall, the tone of this novel picks up from the previous book, channeling Fantastic Beasts fused with The Mortal Instruments, but now heavy Deathly Hallows vibes are prevalent throughout the novel. I thought Creatureton High was a more mature step, but University takes it a step further. I loved this and it felt like the most natural progression for the series as each time we graduate to another education grade we mature ourselves.
Leeching off this notion, maturity can also be seen in Paolucci’s writing. I’d have to say that between all three novels, Creatureton University has to be the most well-written. For instance, there is a lot less of “telling,” more “showing,” (the only instance I can remember that “tells” more was the arguments/deterring relationship of Logan and Selene) and there are a few passages with profound commentary on things such as love that were beautifully written. Additionally, Locasta is a lot more believable as a character (well, aside from her love for Logan which seemed sudden). Unfortunately, in comparison, Bo-Lyn seems to take Locasta’s place in the over-the-top zany character department.
But I digress; my only real cons with the novel are for one thing, there are a lot of meetings between characters and groups of characters. More often than not I found myself wishing for less prolonged exposition. Also, there’s a tendency to reference pop culture outright like films, comics and such in an attempt to ground the world in realism and help the reader visualize certain things. Often I do this in my writing too (and in this review lol) but it I’ve notice it actually takes me out of it. Especially when the story stops to explain or point out these references like the section about The Expendables. But that’s just me, it’s very plausible that tweens and teens would find these helpful, so in that sense it could work as a benefit for the novels target audience.
Now as far as pros go, I loved the concept of bio-essence and as a whole the third act was absolutely riveting— it felt like a mix of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Legends of the Hidden Temple and Cube 2: Hypercube. I was told the author was inspired by The Golden Child as well as Indiana Jones and I totally see that too. Also I like the idea that Sally can control the hybrid and essentially switch her appearance to a more human one. I always felt it was strange that she was stuck “a hairy beast” when traditionally werewolves could revert back, but I just assumed the vampire DNA was what was stopping the ability to switch back. Honestly I’m surprised this wasn’t explored in the previous novels. And lastly, although I wasn’t a big fan of Henry, there is a great twist and pay off with his character that helped strengthen the novel.
I’d have to say, while I enjoyed this book just as much as the other two, I’d give the edge to Creatureton High— but the third act alone of University is certainly made it reading the entire trilogy, something I highly recommend doing as this series deserves more buzz than silly mainstream books like Twilight or other similar YA novels.
~ Richard L. Haas
From Goodreads: "Creatureton High" 4 Out of 5 Stars
As I mentioned in the review for the first novel, I’m surprised that the story hasn’t been picked up by a film crew or something because it certainly has the feel of a good young adult storyline. And yes I do want to mention I know the author, but this is as unbiased as it gets. Overall, the book was pretty good. I’m a bit hesitant on saying whether the first or second was better because, while they are of course similar, they are very different as well.
For the most part, Creatureton High was a bit more mature than Elementary— but not in a don’t-let-your-kids-read-it kind of way. It’s like comparing the first Harry Potter novel to the last; and I have a feeling the final book will be similar. They certainly are appropriate for middle and high school readers. I noticed a lot of good lessons being taught in the book such as a paragraph explaining how differences can enrich a relationship and being the same can make it dull. These did not feel shoehorned in and felt pretty natural, which is actually pretty difficult for most authors who write for a younger audience. And, all jokes aside, it actually does has a better love story than Twilight— it has so much more depth.
That being said, the book was rather enjoyable for adults as well. The villain, Mad Mulligan, reminded me heavily of a good mix between Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts movies, and Voldemort in Harry Potter. This thought extended to the dynamic of witches and warlocks being divided by him. I really appreciate the dynamic as it provides deeper character development for everyone involved. And funny enough, I got crazy political flashbacks when Mulligan is said to be “telling [his followers] what they want to hear... manipulating them, and they don’t even know it.”
The book has a hard task to accomplish structurally. I’d compare this to the likeness off The Matrix or original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy where the first film was obviously meant as a self contained story and the second was meant to continue the story and lead into the final story. I say this is a hard task because you know that the ending of the second book will ultimately not resolve the main plot that was just set up. In turn this can affect other parts of the novel, such as set up. The opening for me was a bit too explanatory— a lot of telling more than showing; however it evened out with some of Logan’s character development and then again with the rising tension when the kids noticed something about Glinda was off. I thought the tension there was well executed. The momentum had a few rollercoaster moments of downtime such as the kids hanging out or the Dead Ball game, but overall it was a pretty fun ride.
Although there were some aspects of the book I wasn’t a big fan of (such as relying heavily on pop culture references or Locasta seemingly being weird for the sake of being weird), I honestly couldn’t recommend this series more and am very excited to read the final book. At the end of the day, this series is a great addition to the genre. It’s definitely something I’d want my future kids to read.
~ Richard L. Haas
From Goodreads: "Creatureton Elementary" 4 Out of 5 Stars
After reading this book I honestly believe it should have already received a film adaptation and I'm shocked that more people haven't discovered it. The book itself is like a good mixture of the themes and atmosphere of things like Harry Potter, Hotel Transylvania, Halloweentown, even a Monsters University etc. (I'd assume the sequels as well but I haven't read them just yet). I won't go into too many details because I don't want to ruin the story with spoilers, but I will mention a few things. One of my favorite things in the book is the concept of Automatic Writing, which of course in modern pop culture is simply when someone channels a spirit who uses that person's hand to write something, but Paolucci's idea of one person (or monster) channeling a spirit to deliver a message to another person. I love that. The characters are written very well where you can pretty much identify with each of them. Surprisingly, I found myself identifying with Logan more than Sally. Which is admittedly very different from what I would assume most people would identify with. Although it was a bit long, the intro to the novel was insightful and helped paint the imagery and tone of the rest of the novel. In that aspect, the choice to tell the story in the first person worked perfectly because otherwise it may feel as dry as the exposition in The Silmarillion could be. On the flip side, at times I had a hard time believing I was reading something told from the point-of-view of a thirteen year old girl-- monster or not. However, I believe this is more because I know the author personally so at first I kept imagining him instead of Sally. But I will say, that feeling did go away for me towards the middle of the novel. Holistically the structure was very interesting. We start with what is essentially a prologue, to a long first and second act, but once we get into the third act, the book is nearly over. Personally for me the end battle was something that I wanted to read more of. I hear that the tone shifts to being a bit darker in the next two, so maybe my thirst for more of that story-line will be quenched. Overall this is a great book and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction. And I'm not just saying that. Read it for yourself!
~ Richard L. Haas
From Amazon.com: "My Soul to Keep" 5 out of 5/Good
I'm not often impressed by the" young adult " ebooks but this story is one of my favorites. Easy reading and interesting.
~ Kindle Customer
From Amazon.com: "Gabriel Thorn: A Faerie Tale" 5 out of 5
As a fan of fantasy in general and like the masses loving works by Martin, Rothfuss, Tolkien, and even recently Brett with Demon Cycle, I tend to be willing to take a shot at something new, versus some other genres I read. So I took a shot on Gabriel Thorn. One it was free on my kindle which kind of made it a no-brainer. To say I was treated was an understatement.
In this authors rookie publish, he managed to create a world I cared about, characters I cared about, and most importantly an outcome I cared about. I once said to a friend, I judge a book to be good, if it qualifies on two fronts. Does it make me need to turn the page? And when I finish my reading session, to contemplate the world I was just in and contemplate with worry or celebration the characters. Gabriel Thorn by Anthony Paolucci did this in spades. In a refreshing aspect, this isn't a series. It was just a book, it told a story, and it told it well. If I were to compare his writing, I would compare it emotionally with the struggles of self and the place of self in the world with some of Anne Rice?s works. Which is to be a compliment as I hold her Vampire Chronicles in high regard.
I will be reading this again, and I suggest you read it as well, especially while we wait another decade before either Martin or Rothfuss publish their next books.
From Amazon.com: "Creatureton Elementary" 5 out of 5 stars/Not Bad
This was a decent story. The characters were interesting and has a pretty good story. This book is for younger teenagers.
From Amazon.com: "Gabriel Thorn" 5 out of 5 stars/Excellent Read
This is a beautifully written epic tale. I am not a huge reader of fantasy books, but this one was exceptional. There is a lot going on with the inclusion of several different plots, but the way they are all interwoven creates a beautiful tapestry in the end that you will not soon forget. The characters are all unique and complex, and the author is careful to give each of them a heartbeat and a soul. The writing itself is beautiful and original, with a touch of the classics. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy/folklore, but also to anyone who appreciates a story that takes you into another world where magic, adventure, and timeless love all come together.
~ Jennifer L.
From Amazon.com: "Gabriel Thorn" 5 out of 5 stars/Beautifully written novel!
This book is a must read for anyone
who is a fan of fantasy, and I would go so far as to say it is a must read for
anyone who is a fan of a great story. I myself was turned onto this book by a
friend who had nothing but fantastic reviews to give this book, having never
heard of the author and a bit skeptical, I decided to keep an open mind and
give the book a try. Not only did it NOT disappoint, it exceeded my
The plot was written brilliantly; full of mystery and suspense that keeps you on your toes but also allows the reader to understand the character's struggles and what they are going through; captivating that connection one feels with the character's in a well done novel. The story does not hesitate or struggle at times, which sometimes happens in a book leaving the reader bored or the story uneventful (everything in the story has a purpose, no fluff here!). The story and character's tap into one's emotions; whether it be love, hate, joy, sadness, suspense, tragedy, or triumph; this story has it all.
I was a huge fan of the author's writing style, bringing in vivid descriptions of plots and scenes throughout the book allowing the reader to paint a beautiful picture of what was transpiring and allowing that connection to the story and character's to become that much stronger. It's hard to explain, but comparisons the writer gives throughout the book to how a character is feeling or thinking allows the reader to make that strong connection and feel for the character's as well as experience the raw emotion for themselves (hopefully that was helpful to explain the writer's style, I'm sure we've all experienced what I'm trying to describe in stories we've all read in the past at some point!).
All in all, this book is a must read for all those who enjoy a fulfilling story which takes the reader on an up and down roller coaster of emotions type ride! Two thumbs up from me Anthony Paolucci!!
~ Michael Phillips
Personal email to the author: "The Princess & the Crown"
My daughter received her book last week and she tore right into it! She really enjoyed the story. Her favorite part was the beauty contest and how she won it. I skimmed through--I thought it was a really cute story. Well done!
~ Thomas Warrington
From Amazon.com: "Sir Foolhardy & the Misfits of Mushwood Forest" 3 out of 5 tars/An enjoyable fantasy for readers from 8 to 18
It's an enjoyable juvenile that's well written, with good characterization and plotting. Humorous fantasy, in a style somewhat like Terry Pratchett's juveniles, although not quite in their class.
~ Peter Caldwell (Northern Territory, Australia)
From Amazon.com: "Creatureton Elementary" 5 out of 5 stars/A Very Entertaining Read!
This book was a fun and easy read. I would say this book is an enjoyable read for adults and young adults (boys and girls) alike. I was delighted the story took an imaginative approach on a day in the life of a young girl (surrounded by creatures). Although a magical/enchanting story, the book touches on some typical preteen issues kids experience. There is also an underlying mystery slowly unraveling throughout the book! I liked the main protagonist and was curious as to what other adventures she would encounter with her mysterious parents and unlikely best friend. A sequel would be a great for this story line.
Personal email to the author: "My Soul to Keep"
Hey Anthony! Was very nice to meet u today! I just finished reading your book "My Soul To Keep" and I absolutely loved it! The story was so well written, had a great mood to it too. The dilemma of choosing what to do in that situation, everything was awesome! I loved the character Eve and Ghost, and her longing for her pet, but still glad to have known her brother. I did even tear up when she asks if the cat remembers her:') I have 5 cats (crazy I Know) so it choked me up a bit. The ending was great too:) I cannot wait to read more of your stories! great stuff! Keep up the great work! Take care! oh and thanks for signing the book and offering up your own hardcover copy:) I will cherish it forever:)
~ Colette L.
Personal email to the author: "A Rose in the Devil's Garden"
I liked it a lot--very good! Gave me a little Halloween, since they don't celebrate that here in India.
~ Kristina W.
Really liked. It was a very interesting, slightly darker story. I liked the passing through generations idea. It?s really cool when a story has that much depth and history to it. Overall, a very involved story, and I was intrigued and entertained by it.
Personal email to the author: "The Reckoning of St. Valentine"
Loved it. Truly. I will even go so far as to say it was one of your most beautifully written stories that I have read so far. Your metaphors are so moving and tangible, you can really feel the depth of the love that Valentine feels for Pristina.
From www.thecryptocrew.com: "Samuel Sasquatch"
I received this book a couple weeks ago and finally got some free time to read it. I enjoyed the book, even though it is directed towards children, it was still entertaining for me.
You get a glimpse of the mischievous and adventurous behavior of a young sasquatch named Samuel. Samuel finds many humans to attempt to interact with but most run away in fear but he does not give up. Samuel has a goal to make some human friends so he keeps trying.
The book has a very touching ending that is sure to tug at your heart strings just a little.
Samuel Sasquatch is relatively a short book clocking in at only 28 total pages, including art work, but the art work is well done and compliments the story nicely.
So I would recommend this book if you have kids or just want a quick enjoyable read for yourself.
It is a hardcover book so it is sure to last for years and could be passed on to grand kids. It would also make a great bedtime read for you and your children.
~ Thomas Marcum
Personal email to the author: "The Reckoning of St. Valentine"
Made me rethink life in general...maybe appreciate what I have before it's gone. Nice job!
~ Lisa Rydzanich
Personal email to the author: "Clara & the Lands of the South"
This story was so cute. I really love the way you incorporated nearly every tradition you can associate with Christmas. Great bedtime story!
~ Lisa Rydzanich
From Amazon.com: "Kitty Foo-Foo Mama" 5 out of 5 stars/What a cool story for young readers
What a great little story for kids of nerdy parents. I can't wait to hear what my seven year old daughter has to say after she reads this. I would love to take her to Dragon*Con this year. This short story would be a great little appetizer for it. This book is free, it's short, and it's fun. I'm proud to have it in my collection and I look forward to reading more by Mr. Paolucci.
From Amazon.com: "Kitty Foo-Foo Mama" 5 out of 5 stars/Great read
A fun captivating book for kids. Creative and easy to read. My son will enjoy this book. Thank you Anthony
~ Joseph Tupy
From Amazon.com: "Gabriel Thorn" 5 out of 5 stars/Five Stars
Quality fantasy story with a nice cast of characters. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
~ Rob Lowe