Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus-Reviews fantasy adventure novel“Powered by an adventurous plot filled with humor, Monk’s novel combines a fable-like tale of talking insects with an adventure quest and a coming-of-age story. Marcel’s human-to-insect metamorphosis intriguingly parallels his transformation from a boy to a young man who must make life-changing decisions and follow his own path. An engaging, clever YA adventure about a boy’s journey into young adulthood.” The full review can be read on the Kirkus web site.

Amazon Reviewers

book reviews strange metamorphosis fantasy adventureThis is a short collection of readers’ reviews compiled by a book blog. I’d just like to take this space to say a BIG THANK YOU to all those people that have taken the time not only to read Strange Metemorphosis but also to share their thoughts about it on Amazon and elsewhere. Here is the compilation and then more reviews after:

“Heartfelt and engaging story. What a great idea for a story, I see this rising up to be a classic. A great coming of age/journey story where Marcel takes form as an insect and has to navigate his way through the meadow. It really reminded me of books I read to death as a kid, like Alice and Wonderland, or James and the Giant Peach. Cleverly written, engaging characters, whimsical language. I loved all the elements. I would recommend this to those readers that are a little outside the norm, and who appreciate wonder and fantasy, because this book is full of both.”

Fabulous World

By Alex Prosper TOP 1000 REVIEWER – Amazon Verified Purchase. What a beautiful discovery! Strange Metamorphosis is a gem of a YA novel, with a fully realized fantastical world chockful of pageturning adventure. I want to put this book into so many hands and in libraries where boys who feel uninterested in current options will find it. Marcel’s journey is marked by self-discovery and an appreciation of who is is and what he needs to do next in his life. We see the journey change him as he receives and gives help in turn. I love the dialogue–lots of fun accents and experimentation to bring the lifes alive, a truly lively literary experience that brought the different species to life. The language and vocabulary are fabulous, as are the descriptions. Overall the book is funny and charming–I really enjoyed his travails with the bees–and at turns moving as well. (When a moth talks about it’s ‘true colors’ and you tear up, well, there’s no shame in that.) Ultimately this is a story of Marcel finding his true colors, about being an outsider, about feeling stuck and finding your way home to your true self and to others. This book deserves a vast readership!

Well-written and captivating

By Manchester TOP 1000 REVIEWER – Amazon Verified Purchase. Strange Metamorphosis had me hooked within the first few pages and didn’t let go until I had reached the very end. I admire the author’s writing style very much due to how vividly he portrays the characters and scenes and how smooth they transition into one another. P.C.R. Monk might not be as popular as some of the bigger names out there yet, but I can definitely tell he already has the skill of a seasoned, veteran writer just from this single book. I love the fresh new spin on the genre and how he incorporates many different elements and themes into a blend that I’m sure even the most critical readers can appreciate and find value, from start to finish. Strange Metamorphosis is the first book that I have read by this author but I’m sure it definitely won’t be the last; I’ll be keeping an eye out for future works!

A Great Read

By Anfal Khaliq – I won this book through a goodreads giveaway and I must say that I am very impressed. I have to admit that this book is unlike any book I have read before. It has a unique idea that I doubt anybody else would have been able to come up with. The book had a good premise. I do not normally read books of this genre so I was a bit hesitant at first, but I am glad that I have read it, and it has taught me not to judge books until I’ve given them a chance. The cover is amazing, which was mainly the reason which gave me the courage to open up the book and give it a try. The more I got into the book, the more I wanted to read it. P.C.R. Monk is a very talented author and I do wish to continue reading more of his work. The concept of a boy turning into a bug was very interesting. The blurb is incredibly well-written and the layout and general appearance of the book is top-notch. I would recommend this book to anyone who is ready to read something different than they normally would read, but also enjoy it. I certainly enjoyed it. It was a fantastic story and the characters were wonderful and very imaginative. The book was a thought-provoking read, and I couldn’t put it down, continuously wanting to know what would occur next. It is brimming with unexpected surprises. If there was another instalment to this book, I would be jumping to read it. I am so glad that I won this book.

Kafka Meets Alice in Wonderland

By ShelSweeney – This story is about a boy who becomes a bug. So begins Marcel’s epic journey across a meadow of seemingly massive proportions, but time is not on his side and he needs to get a wriggle on if he is ever to become human again. Strange Metamorphosis is a coming of age journey, a quest of one boy to accept and appreciate who he truly is. This is a fabulous book for kids who feel just a little different from the rest, and let’s face it, they all feel like that at some point!

Loved!

By So many books, not enough hours in the day – First off, this is not a genre I read. I read it from an ARC and I have to say I absolutely loved it. LOVED!! It was a wonderful way of showing the metamorphosis of human maturity with a healthy dose of humor. I cheered on the trio of Bea, Brim and Rhino as they helped Marcel on his journey. I would recommend this book to everyone, a definite must-read :)

Heartfelt and Engaging Story

By Maege M – Amazon Verified Purchase. What a great idea for a story, I see this rising up to be a classic. A great coming of age/journey story where Marcel takes form as an insect and has to navigate his way through the meadow. It really reminded me of books I read to death as a kid, like Alice and Wonderland, or James and the Giant Peach. Cleverly written, engaging characters, whimsical language. I loved all the elements. I would recommend this to those readers that are a little outside the norm, and who appreciate wonder and fantasy, because this book is full of both.

A Fantastically Imaginative Coming-Of-Age Story

By R. Coker – Amazon Verified Purchase. Within just a few pages of starting “Strange Metamorphosis” I was sucked into this strange tale of a boy who has a lot of choices before him, but is unable to decide what his path in life should be… then in a strange order of events he finds himself changed into a bug and tasked with traversing a large meadow as in his new bug form before time runs out and he is forevermore a bug. I loved the coming-of-age tones to this novel that bring with it a human quality and emotion that resonates with the reader of times when they are tasked with forging their own path in life. The plot is wonderfully vivid and imaginative, mixing the wonders of nature and the inherent “magic” of nature to create a fantastical place where Marcel grows into his own self and finds the path he has always been looking for. The novel is well written with a great pace, memorable characters and an overall plot that keeps the reader engaged from the first page until the last. P.C.R. Monk does a wonderful job of weaving the story together and tying up all loose ends so that when the novel is over I felt like I’d taken a thrilling adventure that made sense and left me feeling like it had come to a nature close. It was overall well worth the read and I would definitely recommend it to other readers.

I haven’t expected it to bring such a solid fantasy story

By MarisaH – I have been recommended to read this book but, I have to admit that I was not convinced regarding the good impression that it will leave me with. How wrong I was… The first thing that came into my mind after reading the first two chapters was related to the fact that the author has definitely invested quite a lot of time in creating the perfect plot. This is because it will amaze its readers with a lot of essential details for creating the perfect image about the universe of this book. I must also highlight here the amazing attention to details that the author has given throughout the entire conception of this novel. Furthermore, the main character is built in a different way…a totally different way that we are all used to read about. Even if it doesn’t feel from the beginning of this book, the main character’s journey is heading towards self-discovery. The passing between the common journey characteristics towards this, somehow unusual, scope is very smooth but yet very intensive (from the emotional point of view). I am keen to read the next titles that will be released by this author!

Fantasy Genre At Its Best

By Lisa Meyers (Bridgeport, Connecticut)  – Unfortunately, the fantasy genre has become quite commercial lately. Luckily, there are books like Strange Metamorphosis which still bring value in this area. Let me explain you where is my opinion coming from. There are thousands of fantasy books which use a just a few common elements: vampires, impossible romance and some shady situations which are supposed to build a journey or an adventure. You will not find these elements in this book. On the contrary, Monk’s novel is still delivering the solid fantasy story. We have here a complex and well-designed plot that is very unique in its own way. We have serious intrigue which will keep you hooked until the end of your reading. And let’s not forget about the complex adventure which has one important scope: a self-reinventing of the main character. You are not going to read such a book to often…unfortunately.

Perfect for Fantasy Fans of all Ages

By Indie Writing Blog (New York) – Amazon Verified Purchase. Paralyzed with indecision about his future, fourteen year old Marcel heads to his favorite oak tree to sit and think. Since the tree is rumored to be magic, Marcel asks the tree to help him make a decision? Should he stay or take the scholarship to school. Instead of a replying, the magic tree turns him into a bug! The magic tree has given him a quest—Marcel must find the magic jelly to return to his normal size and his normal life. Accompanied by an inchworm for a guide, Marcel sets off on his quest through the fields. Along the way he is forced to make new friends, defeat enemies, and learn a lot about himself during the journey. Inventive and quirky, Strange Metamorphosis is a fabulous adventure that readers of all ages can enjoy. Well written, with strong characters, vivid language, and great description. Even the cover art is amazing! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy novels but wants something a little bit different. All of the typical fantasy elements are absent here—which helps makes Strange Metamorphosis so distinctive and fresh. All fans of the fantasy genre should check out this book. You won’t be disappointed.

By Erica Lucas Amazon – Verified Purchase. “Strange Metamorphosis” is a fantasy novel with a philosophical bent, taking its inspiration from Franz Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” but turning the basic tale into something more whimsical and appealing. Its hero, Marcel, is something of a boy genius—he’s not yet fifteen, yet he’s been offered a prestigious internship with Monsieur DeForge as well as a scholarship at a technical college in Paris. Marcel is brilliant but absent-minded, prone to being sucked into his work—and he’s torn between taking the scholarship, as Julia, the girl he likes, pushes him to do, and honoring his commitment to DeForge. His dilemma is interrupted by a fantastic occurrence—he finds himself shrunk to the size of a bug, courtesy of a magnificent and magical cedar, and to return to his human size he must procure some royal jelly before three days pass. Along the way, he befriends a multitude of other bugs and is thrust to the forefront of several adventures, becoming something of a legend and coming of age along the way. This book is appropriate for tweens up to adults, and readers in general should find Marcel a delightful and interesting character. He’s curious, brave, and true to both himself and his friends (in this case the gallfly, Bea, Brimstone, and others). The author does a good job of bringing to life the vast yet tiny world of the insects, making it as dangerous and exciting as any human world, and the various insects are imbued with distinct personalities. Recommended to readers of nature-based fantasy, including readers who enjoy such books as “Watership Down,” “The Wind in the Willows,” and similar tales.

Delightful and Precious – read this out loud to your children!

By Nunja Business (LA (Lower Alabama)) – Amazon Verified Purchase. I enjoyed this book like few others lately. It was a light and fun read, with a terrific story and memorable characters. Including a bug with a speech impediment could have been overkill, but with this book’s tone, it was PERFECT and perfectly adorable. There are some life lessons in here too (don’t wish you were something you cannot be and be persistent in thought and deed) along with some great dialog. If this is PCR Monk’s first book, I can only say he has a spectacular career ahead of him. I highly recommend this book and will be loaning it to the rest of the family.

Strange Metamorphosis

By Momto4BookLover – Amazon Verified Purchase. This is something a long the lines of “Alice in Wonderland” meets “The Wizard of Oz”. I really like both of those books and I really loved this one too! Marcel is a young man caught in the middle of his first “fork in the road” moment of life. He feels pressure from his girlfriend to pursue a scholarship in the big city. He really just wants to stay right where he is and accept other opportunities closer to home. While weighing his options he suddenly finds himself shrunk to the size of a bug! Thus begins his epic journey. Along the way he will find out many things, including what he’s made of. Really great read for any young adult. Even if you are only young at heart.

Amazing Adventure

By KimberlyAnne. I am so glad I stepped out of my normal reading genre and stepped into an enchanted world of talking insects. I absolutely loved every minute of Strange Metamorphosis. The characters come alive and the vivid descriptions make you feel like you’re part of Marcel’s journey of self discovery. The story and writing brought me back to the classics I read as I child. I’ll definitely be passing Strange Metamorphosis down to my own son to read and recommending to others.

Strange Metamorphosis

By Momto4BookLover – Amazon Verified Purchase. This is something a long the lines of “Alice in Wonderland” meets “The Wizard of Oz”. I really like both of those books and I really loved this one too! Marcel is a young man caught in the middle of his first “fork in the road” moment of life. He feels pressure from his girlfriend to pursue a scholarship in the big city. He really just wants to stay right where he is and accept other opportunities closer to home. While weighing his options he suddenly finds himself shrunk to the size of a bug! Thus begins his epic journey. Along the way he will find out many things, including what he’s made of. Really great read for any young adult. Even if you are only young at heart.

A Startling and Strangely Gripping Tale

By Meg Bortin. Franz Kafka or Lewis Carroll? When the hero of this charming coming-of-age story finds himself transformed into a bug, he enters a parallel reality in which he must negotiate the perilous world of insects in order to turn himself back into a young man who knows what he wants out of life. Along the way, the reader is led by P.C.R. Monk, an amateur entomologist, to consider the universe we inhabit from an insect point of view. The result is a startling and strangely gripping tale, written for the young adult audience but with resonance for grown-ups, too. I must admit that I shed a tear at the end when Marcel finally comes to terms with who he is. In the process he has faced danger and possible death at the hands – no, mouths, appendages and stingers – of grasshoppers, dragonflies, snakes, voles, giant hornets and assorted other creatures, while making friends with an inchworm, a rhinoceros beetle and a bee who accompany him on his quest. The only Kafkaesque element of this book is in the boy’s actual metamorphosis, which provides the context for his philosophical musings about where he’s going in life. But there is definitely an Alice-in-Wonderland quality as the hapless Marcel shrinks, then grows, sprouts wings and learns to fly. His tiny size allows him to observe the world of humans – especially his heartthrob, Julia – without being noticed. The insights gleaned from this bug-eyed perspective not only help him to mature, but provide the reader with a new way of thinking about our strange world – and a new respect for our insect cohabitants. My 13-year-old daughter’s comment when I told her about the book? ‘Too cool!’ It’s next on her reading list.

A Great Summer Book

By Fantasy Muse. I’d like to describe this book as a coming-of-age type novel where the main character initially starts off as being indecisive and lost and through various hardships/adventures the character grows and develops as a person. Coming back to the title – Strange Metamorphosis – seems apt as Marcel does undergo a transformation but not just physically but emotionally/mentally as well. The story starts of a bit slow and only really kicks off when Marcel transforms into a tiny person. He is then told by a oak tree that he must eat some royal jelly honey in order to get back to normal size. Along the way, Marcel picks up insect friends who help him on his mission. What I really enjoyed whilst reading the book was the different bugs that appear and their unique character. Monk has done well in creating individual personalities to each bug and my favourite has to be Miss Bea, the honeybee. The author has a clear affinity towards insects and that’s shown throughout the book. This book is definitely one to read whilst sitting in your garden on a warm, sunny day, sipping a cool drink. ‘A summer book’ – That is what I would label it as. As for editing goes, I didn’t find any typos or grammatical errors. It’s really well written. At 200 odd pages I would say that the author had definitely got his story length right. Any longer and it would have ran the risk of dragging but by keeping it relatively short the story flowed at the right pace. Conclusion I would wholeheartedly recommend Strange Metamorphosis to those who enjoyed `James And The Giant Peach’ and the film, `A Bug’s Life’.

An Unexpected Journey…,

By Cheryl M-M TOP 500 REVIEWER
To be able to see the world from the perspective of an insect isn’t exactly as easy as it may look. Marcel finds that out the hard way. You have the moral issue of the main character being a collector of bugs/specimens now having to rely on them to survive. The hunter becomes the hunted. During that time he learns to assert himself and realises he has the strength to make his own decisions.The more he learns about life amongst the insects the more he can relate to their problems. He has to make life or death choices in a matter of seconds. They do say that each person goes through life phases. Each phase represents a change in thinking and the way we reflect upon our actions and life. We often emerge from the change slightly wiser than before. In a sense those life cycles are comparable to that of an insect. It is suitable for advanced readers, YA and older readers. It is well written with beautiful prose. I would call it a philosophical fantasy adventure that combines the fun of shrinking with the wisdom of self-reflection and a boy who learns to make his own choices.

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