I love Monster High! I have a bunch of the dolls and really loved the whole concept when I first discovered MH in 2012. Maddie read the books a few months ago and said they were definitely worth reading for fans of MH and I have to agree! Also, it helps that each book in only around 230 pages long so I zipped through the series in, like, two days!
The characters are just as delightful as they are in the webisodes, although it was slightly frustrating to read their introductions because I already knew about their character development, so super mean Cleo was not something I liked experiencing again! The first book in the series, is a dual narrative (it’s third person but swaps focus) between Melody Carver – not in the doll world – and Frankie Stein! Frankie was adorable, as always, but I have to say that Melody was my favourite character throughout the series! It’s such a shame that she doesn’t have her own doll, because I would buy the heck out of that. There’s so much mystery surrounding Melody, and it’s probably because I’ve been a big fan of the series for a long time that I guessed what some of the plot twists were from the very beginning. Because Melody’s human and Frankie’s a monster seeing the two different perspectives really made this series a worthwhile read.
Monster High was definitely my favourite book in the series. In the later books when they bring in Cleo, Clawdeen and Draculaura’s perspectives I found the plots to be less rich and slightly more contrived and guessable. They definitely felt like something that had been commissioned to promote MH in a different medium. Still, the story progresses throughout The Ghoul Next Door and Where There’s A Wolf There’s A Way because each story has a cliffhanger style ending that runs straight on to the next book. Back And Deader Than Ever, however, felt very much like a separate entity. The main goal, that’s set out in the first book, is for there to be more integration and acceptance between monsters and normies, when that’s conquered, what’s supposed to happen next? Happily Ever After?
No, instead Back And Deader Than Ever destroys some ships, and very quickly tries to wrap things up with a big pink Lala style bow. Each subsequent book after the first explores and issue that one of the other ghouls has, like Cleo’s constant need for attention, Clawdeen’s feeling that she’s being babied too much and Billy’s quest to become visible. In the forth book we’re introduced to Lala’s daddy issues, which were brushed under the carpet in favour of other plot lines involving Melody coming out of her shell and changing completely, which is why we’re forced to accept her decisions regarding love interests. I supposed the real aim of the series was to make it so that it wasn’t necessary for everyone to read it to understand the context of Monster High and vise versa, because the creation of Monster High and where all the couples ended up make it so that story lines in the doll line can continue uninterrupted.
This series is absolutely jam packed with pop culture references and playlists that teenagers are supposed to relate to and it was certainly an interesting addition to the series, but it definitely made the characters seem really materialistic (and fickle, too!) and I would’ve liked more focus on their other qualities, like Ghoulia’s studiousness and Lagoona’s athleticism. Unfortunately, these friends didn’t feel as diverse as they do in the webisodes and they’re not the best of friends or extremely moral characters at the best of times, either.
Therefore, if you’re not a fan of MH and have no idea who any of these character are, then this series will be something fun and new! If you are aware of the MH ghouls then maybe put your expectations down a bit because it doesn’t necessarily follow the webisodes cannon.