Review: Momotaro Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters ~By Margaret Dilloway

I’ve had a busy weekend, and last week was spent in preparation, so I was unable to do a post. However, I am back now, and have some enjoyable posts planned for the near future.

Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters

5 Stars

View the Book on Goodreads

I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve seen many people compare this book to the ‘Percy Jackson’ series. This is likely because both series are based on mythology, though the Percy Jackson series uses Greek mythology and Momotaro uses Japanese.

The Percy Jackson series never managed to catch my interest. I liked it well enough but it wasn’t something that I would rave about or care if I finished reading. I read the first three books, but dropped the series after that.

I preferred Momotaro to Percy Jackson. This book was very engaging and I wanted to peg just what it was that I liked so that I could share it with you.

Firstly, I loved these characters.

I liked the main character; I enjoyed watching him think through the problems that arose during the quest. Or, rather, I enjoyed watching him improvise his way out of trouble; he only used forethought half the time. I often find main characters to be stereotypical, and sometimes I simply find them to be boring. That wasn’t the case in this novel. I give an A+ for Xander.

I wasn’t fond of Jinx; she was annoying. I did, however, pity the character. This is the reaction that I believe the author intended you to have, and because of that I must say that she was well-written.

Each of the characters in this book I found to be distinct from the others; they were very well developed. It was easy to tell which character was speaking, and the interactions between them all were amusing.

One thing that I found particularly interesting was how the character’s quest resembled that of the original Momotaro.

Allow me to explain.

The main character comes from a long line of warriors, the Momotaro. He is one, his father was one, his grandfather, etc, until you get to the original, who had come from a giant peach. The original Momotaro, when he went on his quest, was accompanied by a pheasant, a dog, and a monkey. Each subsequent Momotaro would have these companions in their quest. However, they won’t necessarily be animals.

I found it interesting the way that the author did this; it was a sort of repeating history. This was a new idea, and as I read through the book I found that it kept its novelty.

The only thing that I wasn’t fond of was the fact that the Momotaro are ‘oni’ fighters, oni being the Japanese word for demon. I don’t read books with demons in them, for religious reasons. However, I received a NetGalley copy of this book and didn’t want to not review it, so I decided that I would give it a try and that if I really didn’t like the book I wouldn’t finish it.

Here’s what I learned about the oni, at least in the sense that the author uses the word. They aren’t demons in a religious sense. Instead, the word applies to all legendary creatures in Japanese mythology. It wasn’t so much a word for demons as we think of them as it was a word for mythical beings.

I’m going to give this a 4.5; I enjoyed the characters and the dialogue, and found the ideas and concepts interesting throughout the novel.

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