Published by Disney-Hyperion on April 5th 2016
Genres: Middle Grade, Mythology
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Xander Miyamoto would rather do almost anything than listen to his sixth grade teacher, Mr. Stedman, drone on about weather disasters happening around the globe. If Xander could do stuff he's good at instead, like draw comics and create computer programs, and if Lovey would stop harassing him for being half Asian, he might not be counting the minutes until the dismissal bell.
When spring break begins at last, Xander plans to spend it playing computer games with his best friend, Peyton. Xander's father briefly distracts him with a comic book about some samurai warrior that pops out of a peach pit. Xander tosses it aside, but Peyton finds it more interesting.
Little does either boy know that the comic is a warning. They are about to be thrust into the biggest adventure of their lives-a journey wilder than any Xander has ever imagined, full of weird monsters even worse than Lovey. To win at this deadly serious game they will have to rely on their wits, courage, faith, and especially, each other. Maybe Xander should have listened to Mr Stedman about the weather after all. . . .
I think I’ve grown out of reading middle grade books now. I find that a little sad – the first book in Dilloway’s Momotaro series isn’t even a bad book, aside from the fact I kept expecting a Percy Jackson vibe (which, in a way, it kind of does).
Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters – if we’re going down the Percy Jackson vibe (I’m pretty sure the synopsis makes the comparison….) – is basically Japanese folklore set in modern day, with plenty of Japanese mythological creatures making an appearance. Unfortunately, Xander definitely resembles a Japanese version of Percy Jackson – blue eyes, black hair, twelve years old, and the only difference? Xander has a bit of silver streak in his hair (oh wait…) and he’s mixed (Asian and Irish).
It’s no wonder I expected a lot of humor out of Dilloway’s book (comparisons = high expectations). The first Momotaro book does have the occasional funny moment, but it just isn’t as funny as I hoped it would be. (That might just be the fact I’m nineteen.)
Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters is set in a comic book like format with illustrations featured throughout the book, and it will definitely appeal more to younger audiences than the older ones. (And hopefully, it’ll be more funny to them than to me.)