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Monster Madness: Nightmare Academy #2    by Dean Lorey & Brandon Dorman order for
Monster Madness
by Dean Lorey
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

Readers, get ready for an awesome adventure! Instruction A: Find one HUGE banyan tree fort, the biggest you can imagine, and team up with Nightmare Academy classmates - Charlie Benjamin, a Nethermancer and Banisher (yup, he has dual powers and is a double threat to those who would attempt to get him out of the academy); Banisher Violet who's astute with weapons; and Nethermancer Theodore, whose dad (General Dagget) puts his son down because he's not a Banisher.

Instruction B: Battle and/or capture Gremlins; Dangeroos; Darklings; Silver Tongues; Hags (stealers of memories); and giant jellyfish known as Bang-Jellies, which come in handy as rafts on a treacherous ocean, but watch out for those tentacles! The most dangerous of all are the Named and their Lords of the Nether -Barrakas, Verminion and Tyrannus are already earthbound, Slagguron is attempting to join them, and plans are in the making to finagle the opening of a portal for the Fifth Lord.

Instruction C: Prepare to travel into and out of portals (opening and closing them at the appropriate time - VEEERRRY important); journey into the Bermuda Triangle Graveyard of ships; face monsters under the San Diego Zoo; saunter carefully into the depths of the Hydra Cave in search of the one female Hydra in existence. Oh, yes, in case you don't know what a Hydra is: the answer is about the size of a bulldozer, with 'six heads, and shiny, sharp teeth ... green, scaly hide that makes it look something like a dragon with a wide tail that propelled it forward through the choppy waves'. Instruction D: Be discerning: A savory character may really be unsavory, and vice versa.

Goals and Purpose: To graduate to the next level at the Academy, by saving children from their nightmares. To save the world, Charlie and his team must first seek out and transport a special liquid, that will save a dying protector, The Guardian (who's just a wee bit of a fellow). The Guardian cannot be touched by humans or it will die. (Even though it is cold and frail, and cries out sorrowfully 'Please hold me ... I am cold' ... NO, DON'T TOUCH!') Final Instructions: Mix well with danger, add humor, stir until boiling voraciously as you venture into Dean Lorey's Nightmare Academy: Monster Madness.

Brandon Dorman's illustrations enhance all the story's creatures large and small, eerie and engaging. Dean Lorey has written for television and movies, and the first book of Nightmare Academy, Monster Hunters, soared off the bookshelves. He offers readers intriguing characters and delicious entertainment in a series to get hooked into. And of course, there is always the witty one in the bunch, Theodore who adds commentary like: 'That final exam is toast! ... You just let me at those monsters and I will show you the true meaning of the words 'pest control'! I am a walking, talking extra-strength can of Raid!'

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