The Different Kinds of MONSTERS, Robot and Dragon Press, an e-book written and copyright by Seth Chambers.
The plot of this allegorical story begins in the late Jurassic period with birth of an Allosaurus and her siblings. It continues with her gradual maturation, learning to hunt, survive, compete and finally die. This material is provided in chapters interspersed with activities many millennia later depicting the gradual growth and maturation of 6-year-old Dylan Armitage. Upon a visit to the Chicago Museum, he is fascinated by the articulated skeleton of this same monster interestingly named after Dylan’s Grandmother, Emily Marigate who had been one of her discoverers in a paleontologist exploration. She had been killed at the dig and her blood had soaked into the allosaurus’ bones. Because the dinosaur had died a horrible death, she resented ‘being awakened’. So, Emily developed a type of weird vendetta against the Armitage family which his father decided was because “Blood calls to blood” and thus it was presumably Emily’s causative influence that his father had to move his family frequently and often very quickly to stay ‘under the radar’ of any authoritative figures. The fact that he was a very large, muscular, aggressive individual with a very short temper actually was causative, whether actually aided and/or abetted by Emily. Regardless, his work ethic was excellent so they never suffered physically although the psychological effects stemming from such a nomadic existence, especially on the growing Dylan, are obvious. The story chronicles this growth, his marriage, the birth and gradual development of his daughter and her re-alignment with her father after a long absence, all accompanied by the varied but mostly oppressive constant reappearances of Emily. In fact, when Dylan calls the Field Museum Acquisitions Department to find where she next is scheduled to be shown, the trained scientist tells him her records will not tell her where Emily will be next. That there is something weird and supernatural about the skeleton and that, as she had told his father years before when he asked the same thing, “the lady has gone rogue”. The often strange occurrences continue and finally lead to the desperate action to which Dylan must resort.
The author has presented an extremely well-written allegorical fantasy that in itself is a compelling story to holds the reader’s interest and simultaneously provides numerous philosophical leads to contemplate. However and most regrettably, a caveat is almost mandatory. The characters are excellently portrayed with many seedy, unsavory and/or exhibiting enough psychological deviant tendencies that readers with better functioning sensibilities may not comfortably be able to accept.
3* 5* well-written/characterized allegorical fantasy; 3* because caveat required.