Monster Dionysus's life sucks. He's got a dead-end job which he absolutely hates, a nagging Tsundere girlfriend from hell, can barely afford the roof over his head, and worse yet he has to face the inevitable prospect that one day he'll be completely out of a job.
Wait, did we mention that his job was capturing and retrieving cryptozoological creatures? Because if not, it's really important that we do...
Things get worse for Monster when he meets Judy on the job when the convenience store she works at is attacked by yetis. Though she's a light cog and therefore physically incapable of understanding The Masquerade, she still makes a point of intruding on Monster's life. And let's face it, after her workplace is wrecked by yetis, and her home is destroyed by a bunch of trolls and a kojin, there's really nothing else you can do.
However, whenever Monster and Judy meet, cryptozoological creatures seem to follow to the point where it's impossible to not notice. Before long it is revealed that Judy isn't quite what she appears to be, and it's up to her, Monster, and Monster's paper gnome Chester to stop an evil that has existed since the beginning of the universe. In fact it's the reason the universe even exists.
Oh, and his girlfriend from hell? Yeah, she really is from hell.
This covers the book written by A. Lee Martinez. Not to be confused with the manga or the film by the same title. Or the 1999 young adult novel Monster (1999). Or the similarly titled short story by A. E. van Vogt.
This book provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Lotus.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Lotus is responsible for the Dark Ages, the fall of several Chinese dynasties, and the invention of the cell phone and reality TV.
- Hold on, is it the fall of dynasties or the dark ages that's meant to be jaywalking?
- Baleful Polymorph: Used and inverted. Several of the cats in Lotus's house and, for a short while, Monster used to be human, but there are also quite a few of them that used to be other animals; one, in particular used to be a dragon. However, Ed and Ferdinand used to be a horse and a cow before Lotus transformed them into humans to act as henchmen.
- As it happens, this is actually Lotus's plan for the entire human race.
- Bittersweet Ending: Subverted- only Monster thinks that it's a bittersweet ending. It's actually a straightforward happy ending. Basically, Lotus is dead, the Stone is free to restore the universe, Judy is no longer troubled by her connection to it, the magical ecology is enjoying a boom, and magic itself has become much more powerful without Lotus draining the energy from the universe. In fact, the haze which stopped Muggles from noticing or remembering the supernatural has ended, not only giving them a chance to witness and even learn magic, but also allowing magicians more control over their spells. The only reason Monster thinks otherwise is because while he's enjoyed the upsurge in magical creatures for him to capture and/or rescue, the fact that magic has become widespread again means that he's no longer indispensable, and he might be out of a job soon. Plus, he's been forced to kill his girlfriend. Then Gracie shows up, asking for a lift...
- The Call Knows Where You Live: Played oh so literally.
- Cosmic Keystone: The Stone Tablet
- Extra-Strength Masquerade: Turned Up to Eleven. Muggles just plain refuse to believe magic exists, even if they want to. By the end of the story though the masquerade is just starting to break.
- Glamour Failure: The cats around Lotus's house are actually transfigured humans and animals, and they can be recognised as such by their shadows.
- Horned Humanoid: Hardy has ram's horns. He claims they're a legacy from a demonic ancestor, but Monster suspects the guy is just a half-satyr trying to sound like he's something cooler than that.
- Horny Devils: Monster's girlfriend is a succubus, requires regular sex to keep her happy, and can give a man an erection by just waving a hand. It hasn't stopped their relationship from going sour, though.
- Humans Are Bastards: Monster and Judy's view of the human race.
- Humans Are Idiots: Chester's view of the human race; appart from the nicknames of "monkeys" and "protoplasm," he frequently doubts that human beings can even be classified as sentient.
- Humans Are Special: Lotus's view of the human race; according to her, human beings are the only race in the cosmos that voluntarily make themselves miserable.
- MacGuffin: The Stone Tablet which turns out to be the origin and sustaining force of the universe itself.
- The Magic Goes Away: Magic and the rest of the supernatural are in serious decline as humans lose their ability to comprehend it and Lotus continues draining energy from the universe.
- The Magic Comes Back: In full swing at the end of the story.
- Muggles: At the beginning of the book, the human race can be classified as either Incogs, Light Cogs, or Cogs: Incogs are classic Muggles who can't interact with or even notice magic no matter how hard they try. Light Cogs can observe magic without the Weirdness Censor and even learn to cast the odd spell from time to time, but forget what they saw very quickly; plus, they're also prone to suffering from Alzheimer's disease later in life. Finally, Cogs are capable of seeing and remembering the supernatural, and can also perform magic following a certain degree of education; however, thanks to Lotus's influence, they have trouble remembering spells without easy references.
- Never Mess with Granny: The Big Bad looks like a kindly old lady.
- One-Word Title: Also a Protagonist Title, using the protagonist's first name.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Monster isn't his real first name, it's just what he's commonly called.
- Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious: The yeti that eats all the ice cream in Judy's grocery store is just the start.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Not mentioned much in the story, but there is apparently a difference between a drake and a dragon.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Chester is a being from a higher plane of existence, who folds himself into a creature that looks rather like a very short, skinny human being but made out of paper. In addition, this condition is about as close as he ever gets to dreaming. And they call him a gnome.
- There actually are garden gnomes present in the story, working for Lotus.
- Our Angels Are Different: Gracie, who indicates she's allowed to have sex.
- Our Demons Are Different: There are different denizens of Hell. Monster's girlfriend Liz is a succubus, and she makes a bunch of dolls in which are imprisoned minor demons- acting as mobile phones.
- Our Monsters Are Different: No, not the character. But there are enough monsters in the story to shake a hat at, including some that are so old and weird that humanity has forgotten about them (well, more than they already have).
- Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs
- Protagonist Title: Also a One-Word Title, using the protagonist's first name.
- Stock Superpowers: Monster has a number of them which reset every time he wakes up from sleep or unconsciousness. And they're Color-Coded for Your Convenience — Monster changes color from head to toe. Often, these abilities also come with a Weaksauce Weakness or difficulty of use.
- Fireproof: Red
- Flight: Goldenrod
- Healing Factor: Turquoise
- Invisibility: Golden yellow, but only when Monster closes his eyes]
- Light 'em Up: Orange, but letting off bright flashes dehydrates him. He has only a handful of uses before he dehydrates himself into unconsciousness.
- Nigh-Invulnerable: Blue
- Shock and Awe: Gray skin and white hair, but it really stings to use the lightning.
- Super Intelligence: Only temporary, though Monster ends up slightly smarter permanently as a result.
- Chester has his own set of powers.
- The Stoner: Paulie.
- Time Abyss: Lotus.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Mostly averted, naturally, but there's one...odd example. Near the end, Ferdinand, who was a cow originally but was turned into a human for Lotus's purposes, is fighting with Chester. Monster takes advantage of her distraction to turn her back into a cow. While this was her natural form, she's clearly sapient now and horrified at turning back into a non-sapient animal. There's no mention of her turning back. Was this murder, then? (Or perhaps once Lotus was dead...)