Book Review: The Monster On the Road Is Me

Posted August 26, 2016 by Kara in book review, Kara / 1 Comment

Book Review: The Monster On the Road Is MeThe Monster on the Road Is Me by J.P. Romney
on August 30th 2016
Genres: young adult, fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

It starts with the crows. When you see them, you know he s found you.
Koda Okita is a high school student in modern-day Japan who isn't very popular. He suffers from narcolepsy and has to wear a watermelon-sized helmet to protect his head in case he falls. But Koda couldn't care less about his low social standing. He is content with taking long bike rides and hanging out in the convenience store parking lot with his school-dropout friend, Haru.
But when a rash of puzzling deaths sweeps his school, Koda discovers that his narcoleptic naps allow him to steal the thoughts of nearby supernatural beings. He learns that his small town is under threat from a ruthless mountain demon that is hell-bent on vengeance. With the help of a mysterious - and not to mention very cute classmate - Koda must find a way to take down this demon. But his unstable and overwhelming new abilities seem to have a mind of their own

The Monster On the Road is Me. What an odd title, and one I didn’t understand until I actually read the book. Now I get it. This novel is a tale of a Japanese mountain town in a very dark place. The story weaves Japanese mythology–mountain demons, kitsune, and a river troll with a mystery at the local high school. Students and teachers keep dying in strange ways. Is it suicide or is it something more sinister?

I’m not sure what this book was trying to be. It was part fantasy, part horror, and part awkward comedy. It mostly worked, but some of the dialogue felt a bit forced. I do believe it was the voice of the book, but the storytelling was great, and I was able to look past it.

Koda Okita is a student at Kasuka High School. He has narcolepsy and sometimes has to wear a watermelon-sized helmet so he doesn’t hurt himself. Koda starts having weird visions when he passes out, and this leads him to understand that something very strange is going on in town.

I requested this book because the blurb intrigued me, and obviously it takes place in Japan which is totally my jam. The author spent time in a mountain town just like Kusaka, and it shows in his writing. He brought the setting to life through the imagery, the characters, the places in the book. I guess I was hoping it would be creepier, and I think it was supposed to be, but that part of it didn’t resonate with me, which is the reason for the 3.5 rating. That and the forced comedy that came up every now and then that just wasn’t that funny to me.

It was still a pretty decent story though, especially if Japanese mythology intrigues you. It was woven into the story in a really unique way. The author even utilized crows and haiku. I gobbled this book like candy.


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