Book Review: Monty and the Monster

Title: Monty and the Monster

Written by: Rhonda Smiley

Chapter Illustrations by: Kev Hopgood

Cover Design by:

Monty and the Monster by Rhonda Smiley

Monty and the Monster is an exciting middle-grade adventure story full of twists and turns. The characters have been well fleshed out with their own quirks and foibles. The main character, Montague Hyde, lacks confidence and sees everyone as better than himself, especially his ‘perfect’ older brother, Kyle. He is fed up with moving house, as the gated university community he has just arrived at is the fourth move in two years. Each time Monty finds it difficult to make friends and attracts bullies like a magnet.

Things look bleak for Monty that is until he finds a trapdoor in his new attic bedroom. He climbs down the rope ladder and follows a series of tunnels to an underground chamber where he discovers a leather notebook full of experiments and a load of old crates packed with strange chemicals and potions. He follows the instructions to create himself a friend.

After a few false starts, Monty achieves his goal but it is not quite the friend he was expecting as he is eight-feet tall, covered in hair with razor-sharp teeth, long claws and really long eye-lashes. Monty calls his new friend Houdini because of the mysterious way he keeps escaping. When some of the local children start to go missing Monty is worried Houdini might be eating them. Even so, Monty refuses to get rid of his best friend.

A story of friendship and learning to trust your own instincts. This book is a fun read with a subtle gothic-horror feel, suitable for the 9+ age range. The settings are very vivid, especially the skatepark and Monty’s attic bedroom. There are some real laugh out loud moments. I particularly liked the final twist at the end which opens the book up for a sequel.

I also really like the addition of Kev Hopgood’s illustrations at the top of each chapter which show some wonderful facial expressions for Houdini. They add an extra dimension to the book.


You can find out more about Rhonda Smiley and her books on her website: and follow her on Twitter @RhondaJSmiley.

You can buy a copy of Monty and the Monster by Rhonda Smiley from Kobo UK and Amazon UK here in the UK and in the US you can get your copy from: Amazon US, Barnes & Noble and Kobo US.

I have previously interviewed Rhonda Smiley for her Monty and the Monster blog tour. You can read the interview here: Blog Tour – Monty and the Monster by Rhonda Smiley

I would like to thank Anne Cater from Random Things Through My Letterbox for arranging for me to receive a review copy of Monty and the Monster.

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