The Beasts of Upton Puddle by Simon West Bulford
Publisher: Medallion Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Full Length (487 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephantois
Cloaked behind centuries of mystical power, an ancient race of dragons plots to destroy the human race. Twelve-year-old Joe Copper doesn’t know it yet, but he’s been chosen as mankind’s secret ambassador. And only he can stop the invasion.
A fantastic new world opens up to Joe when the eccentric Mrs. Merrynether introduces him to a remarkable veterinary practice. It’s a hidden refuge for a menagerie of creatures that should only exist in dreams and legend. But his journey of discovery turns sour when disaster strikes and Mrs. Merrynether vanishes. Plunged into his role too early, Joe must find a way to fulfill his destiny and rescue his mentor. It’s a good thing he’s about to get some help.
Joining him in his quest are Lilly, the surly alcoholic cluricaun; Danariel, the seraph who lives in a lightbulb; Flarp, the giant flying eyeball who can’t control his excitement; Kiyoshi, the narcoleptic kappa with an extraordinary vocabulary; Snappel, the fiery wyvern plagued by hiccups; and Cornelius, the poisoned manticore.
What could possibly go wrong?
Action, adventure, a hero and a bad guy, just about everything that you hope to find in a young adult novel, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in The Beasts of Upton Puddle.
One thing I liked about this story was Joe seemed like your average boy. He’s being bullied, his life seems perfectly normal, but then his given this huge task of saving mankind. The author did a great job not making him too perfect because at times you wonder if he can pull off what seems the impossible.
The secondary characters are great too and I really like the somewhat eccentric Mrs. Merrynether. However, what really won me over was the wonderful creatures the author had created and his description of them. They seemed to come to life off the page.
The dialogue is natural sounding too, and despite this being 487 pages long, the pacing is somewhat fast due to the non-stop action of the plot.
If you’re looking for something a little different to read for yourself, or if your offspring enjoys fantasy novels, this might be a good pick for you or them.