What: The Monster Within (A Jack Mason Adventure #4) by Darrell Pitt
Who: Text Publishing
When: April 22nd 2015
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Text Publishing for review.
After a series of fatal bombings across London, Jack, Scarlet, and Mr. Doyle are drawn into another baffling case: the reported sighting of a monster roaming the city’s underground sewers. Before they can investigate, the team must travel to Spain to hunt down a group of terrorists. But just as they close in, Jack and Scarlet are kidnapped. With their lives in perilous danger, will Mr. Doyle find his young assistants in time? Back in London, will the monster’s true origins be uncovered before it too wreaks deadly destruction across the city?
I feel like there’s a bit of a pattern with the Jack Mason Adventure series – for me. It’s like: I like one, but then not the other. And then I like the next one. Which meant, unfortunately, The Monster Within fell into the “did not like” side of the pattern. This is disappointing, because I thought I got my Jack Mason mojo back with The Broken Sun, but apparently not.
I didn’t really ~feel~ anything for The Monster Within, otherwise than an emotion akin to the word “meh”. I felt like the character growth that we’d seen in Jack in the last book went no further in this one, and I also felt like the storyline was a little bit all over the place. The title namesake was barely in the novel, and it was actually more about a society (not so society, actually) planning bombings all around London, and Jack, Scarlet, and Doyle trying to find them before they detonated. So I thought that a bit odd, to be honest. I would most likely have preferred the two storylines to be split, because as it was in The Monster Within neither plot received enough attention, in my opinion.
I also feel like there’s a little bit of a formula to these books that involves Jack and Scarlet being kidnapped and/or running off into some awful situation. I realise this is probably so that there’s no parental figure (i.e. Doyle) to interrupt their shenanigans, but I’d be more likely to believe Doyle giving them more freedom than the two being kidnapped once again.
I did quite like the show of heroism in the desert where Jack literally carried Scarlet for miles. I thought that was adorable. And even though these are middle grade books, I ship those two. Their little moments together are quite sweet, and I hope by the end of this series they realise how much they mean to each other.
I also like how much the pair care for Doyle. It’s a lovely show of tender-hearted kid-love for a father-like figure, and it gives me the warm fuzzies.
Once again, I am still interested in reading the next book because I want to see what the trio are up to next – and if my Jack Mason pattern continues.
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