This comedy adventure story tells the tale of a monster-hunter called Jack and his epic efforts to prevent the entire human race being gobbled up by ugly ogres.
Jack lives with his dad who, since the tragic passing of Mum, is over-protective and mind-numbingly boring. He never lets Jack have anything even remotely close to an adventure and says things like, ‘You mustn’t sit there, Jack, you’ll get piles.’ It’s somewhat surprising, therefore, when, out of nowhere, his dad disappears and Jack is suddenly joined in the garden by a massive ogre and a miniature bearded warrior holding a book called Monster Hunting for Beginners.
Jack is catapulted onto a journey to find his dad and to uncover the reasons why so many ogres are marauding about the village of King’s Nooze…and whether or not they’re likely to eat everybody! It’s an exciting adventure. Jack picks up a few friends along the way (including a kind and talkative bear) and leaps repeatedly from frying pan to fire to frying pan again as they try to avoid being eaten up.
Though the action is engaging enough, it is somewhat lost within a total barrage of jokes and silliness. Jack constantly talks to his audience with comic quips, asides and one-liners that are often funny and occasionally hilarious. Most of these are delivered through the medium of the footnote, which feels fun and original to begin with but grows somewhat irritating after hundreds of them.
Despite the book’s promise of lots of monster hunting, the story really focuses upon one particular type of monster – the ogre. Though there are occasional inclusions from a monster-hunting journal that describe some brilliantly silly beasts (such as the crusted hairy snot nibbler) these are used sparingly as the characters are always too busy hunting down (and escaping from) a whole horde of marauding ogres. It seems feasible that a few monsters are being held back for Jack’s next adventure, which lots of young readers would be very eager to hear about after having such a laugh with his first book.