The Maker Of Monsters by Lorraine Gregory

I am a huge fan of Lorraine Gregory – her debut, Mold And The Poison Plot is one of my favourite middle grade books, so it’s felt like a very long wait for book two, but ohhhh, was it worth it…

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Cover illustration by Meg Hunt

Brat lives in the isolated castle serving Lord Macawber, the man who saved his life and took him in. His only friends are his master’s first failed creations, Sherman and Tingle. When the more successful creatures, the vicious, terrifying ones locked up deep within the castle escape, it’s up to Brat to save not only his friends but the rest of the world, across the sea.

Brimming with heart, humour and horrifying monsters, The Maker Of Monsters is a multi-layered, mesmerising dystopian fantasy, and an epic adventure, all packed into a short read.

The war ravaged wastelands of Niyandi Mor are made devastatingly real, as are Lord Macawber’s creatures. But the stars are Brat, Sherman and Tingle. What Brat lacks in self-esteem, Sherman and Tingle more than make up for in their more carefree outlook on life (as long as no meanie-stinkers are around). Brat’s inability to see the good in himself makes it so much harder for him to accept the help he needs or to believe that he can achieve the task he’s been set. His perseverance and determination to succeed have you rooting for him from the very first page until the very last, and beyond.

Brat has joined Mold on the bookshelf in my heart. He’s one of those characters that stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page, the kind you find yourself wondering how life is going for them. I hope he’s happy somewhere.

Themes of power and corruption, love and loss, and self-worth and the monster we carry with us run subtly beneath the action packed plot. The Maker Of Monsters would make a brilliant class read for Upper Key Stage 2, with plenty of scope for building empathy. More importantly though, it’s just a fabulous book that I will be recommending far and wide. I’m going to need more than one copy.

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