David’s Haunted Library: Monsters In Our Wake and Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt

Some people think of space as the final frontier but we have another unexplored area that is a lot closer to us. The deepest part of the ocean is still a mystery and who knows what kind of creatures live down there. In the deep waters of the South Pacific an oil drilling ship is about to find what lurks bellow and they will be very sorry they disturbed it. The ship lowers its drill into the territory of  a family of Nokkens who hate humans with a passion.

The Nokkens are more intelligent than humans think and in their minds its the humans who are the inferior creatures.  In retaliation for invading their space, one of the Nokkens attacks the ship leaving it disabled and thousands of miles away from anyone who can help. Now the humans are starting to turn on the lone woman on the ship, marine biologist Flora Duchovney Flora begins to wonder if the worst monsters are on the ship or in the depths of the ocean.

The first thing that sticks out about Monsters In Our Wake by J.H Moncrieff is that the book starts from the monster’s point of view. Right off the bat that made this book better than your average horror novel. The point of view shifts from the Nokken to Flora, to the members of the ship’s crew. The big question in this book is who really is the monster? The Nokkens, the humans, or both.

The who is the monster theme lasts throughout this book. We get to hear about how the Nokkens hate the humans because of the damage they have done to the ocean and its creatures. Another reason why the Nokkens think of humans as monsters is because they kill each other, which to them is insane. We see this start to play out on the ship as well when the crew become desperate. The Nokkens show how they can be monsters too though as they teach the humans lessons in respect.

Flora was my favorite character in the book because despite things being bad for her she is the strongest character. When things go wrong she takes the blame whether it was her fault or not and at one point she even gets labeled as a witch because the rest of the crew believes she summoned the monster. What I found most interesting about her though is when we see her having an anxiety attack as she wonders about how she will survive and get back to her son at home. Though when things get worse on the ship she does what she needs to do and has no problem with her anxiety.

There was a lot to like about Monsters In Our Wake, the book is a lot of fun. While it’s mostly a horror novel with a deep meaning to it, it has a little humor to it also. There are some unanswered questions about the creatures that I would like to know, but it didn’t take anything away from the overall story. The characters have a lot of depth to them, they are shades of gray instead of black and white. The Nokkens have done some terrible things to the humans, but also show compassion. On the other hand, some of the humans have shown that they have a heart but do some evil things as well. The only one who can be described as good is Flora and she comes across as the most interesting character in the book. Despite some minor flaws, this was an entertaining read and I’m hoping to read more from J.H. Moncrieff in the future.

Dorsal Finn is a strange place sitting on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Weird things seem to happen there and it has its fair share of odd characters. For one thing, there is a dark entity living under the bizarre little town and it seems to have created a magnet for people who have evil agendas. Luckily, 15-year-old Beatrice Beecham and her friends are on the scene and ready to solve mysteries and stop evil, dead in its tracks. Beatrice and her friends call themselves the Newshounds and they are a force to be reckoned with.

This adventure has its beginnings way back during World War 2 when two young girls rescue a German scientist who is working on an invention to change the world. The scientist didn’t survive the war but a part of him may have. Flash forward to the present, one of the young girls who saved him is now an elderly woman and is hearing the scientist’s voice in her hearing aid. Underneath the Dorsal Finn Library lies something that can change the world and someone sinister is looking for it. To make matters worse, an organization called the Blue Thunder Foundation is having a strange effect on the town. It’s up to Beatrice and her friends to figure out what’s happening in Dorsal Finn.

Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt by Dave Jeffery is a complex supernatural mystery novel aimed at a Y.A. audience. There is so much going on in the plot that its hard to describe it without leaving things out. This is a book that both adults and kids will like and it will really test your ability to pay attention. Because if you blink you will miss something. What I really enjoyed about this book was how the senior citizens and the kids work together to save their town. I also like that there is a historical fiction aspect to the book as it gets into the history of the Nazis and their dealings with the occult.

This book has several themes running throughout it and most appealing is the importance of friendship and how to deal with bullies. There were a couple of scenes where Beatrice and friends stand up to adult bullies and bully their own age. In one case the newshounds help a deaf girl who is being mistreated by the town bully and accept her into their group despite her differences. It doesn’t work out as they planned which was my favorite part of the book that I don’t want to give away, but the main point is that nothing keeps true friends apart.

The only problems I had with this book was I kept wondering if kids are really this nice, some of their conversations are so nice that it seemed unreal to me. Also, there was a point about half way through the book where I felt the author was adding way too many complex ideas to the story and he really needed to add a little suspense. The suspense comes though in the last third of the book as the story goes from historical mystery to action adventure. Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt is a good book to give to a teenager who doesn’t like reading. With the great adult and kid characters and the excellent story, it’s almost guaranteed to get a non reader to start a love of reading.

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#45 The Host Movie Review

The Host is a South Korean Horror Film that came out in 2006. The film saw its premiere at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2006 before it was released theatrically in Korea. The film has won many awards and received numerous award nominations. Although the film has received all this acclaim, it only received a limited US release and many Horror Fans have paid the film little attention.

The Host opens with a doctor telling his lab assistant that he hates dust. He prefers a clean working area and after wiping the dust off the bottle of formaldehyde, orders the liquid be poured down the sink. The doctor is warned that the sink leads out to the Han River, but the doctor does not care about procedure or the river. The viewer gets to see the assistant, now wearing a mask, dump a bottle of formaldehyde down the drain. As the camera pans, we see that there are over a hundred empty bottles with more yet to empty.

The film then does some small time jumps to a more modern day Seoul, Korea. We are introduced to a rather dysfunctional family. It’s not long after this that we find the people along the bank of the river enjoying their day, when they notice something hanging from the bridge. As the watchers start throwing food out at the shape, the creature shows it true self and begins a run thru the crowds crushing and devouring people as it goes. Sadly, for one family, it takes their young girl with it as it leaves.

The movie follows the exploits of the family of Hyun-Seo as they try to find their little girl and get her back. The film is full of concepts that are not often seen in many horror films today. The film does an amazing job at investigating the family dynamic and the way they interact and think of each other. The father does his best to get his oldest children to see their slow-witted brother as a man.

The story takes off as we see the civil police agencies and South Korean government try to deal with the creature. It is decided by the United Nations that they are unable to contain the situation and even worse, the creature maybe carrying a virus.

The Host shows us that Horror can come not just from a creature, but from the feelings we may carry for others, and our environment. We watch as this family tries to save their little girl and at the same time has disconnection and tragedy hit them through their trials. The film has moments of shock not just from a sudden appearance of the creature but events that happen when the creature is not involved.

There is one big question that begins to show itself as you watch the film. Who is the real monster?