When a boy is faced with a choice between two tracks for his future, an unlikely source sends him on an expedition across a meadow...as a bug. Forced to trust his instincts and follow his heart, he must complete his quest before it is too late to return to the land of humans.
Marcel is at a crossroads. He has been offered an apprenticeship at Villeneuve, the neighboring country manor, which would allow him to follow in his late father's footsteps. At the same time, he has won a scholarship at a renowned technical college in Paris, a move that would require him to face the unknown with no guarantee of success. His friend Julia, a city girl through and through, is encouraging him to take a chance and go to Paris. Unknown to Marcel, she has her own reasons to recommend this as well. As the machinations of Marcel's world and that of Villeneuve unfold, Marcel finds help in the most unlikely source imaginable: an ancient oak tree.
Progressively turned into a bug, Marcel must go on a quest across the meadow to feast on the royal jelly in order to return to his human form. Forced to carve his own path and follow his heart, he sets off and quickly finds himself teaming up with a wonderful group of insects, each of which has their own agenda. And with time running out and his existence in peril, Marcel must fight to the finish, or die a bug.
The book follows Marcel, a young boy of 15, as he slowly transforms into a bug. It follows his adventure as he tries to get back to being human.
I’d like to describe this book as a coming-of-age type novel where the main character initially starts off as being indecisive and lost and through various hardships/adventures the character grows and develops as a person.
Coming back to the title - Strange Metamorphosis - seems apt as Marcel does undergo a transformation but not just physically but emotionally/mentally as well.
The story starts of a bit slow and only really kicks off when Marcel transforms into a tiny person. He is then told by a oak tree that he must eat some royal jelly honey in order to get back to normal size. Along the way, Marcel picks up insect friends who help him on his mission. What I really enjoyed whilst reading the book was the different bugs that appear and their unique character. Monk has done well in creating individual personalities to each bug and my favourite has to be Miss Bea, the honeybee. The author has a clear affinity towards insects and that’s shown throughout the book.
This book is definitely one to read whilst sitting in your garden on a warm, sunny day, sipping a cool drink.
'A summer book' - That is what I would label it as.
As for editing goes, I didn’t find any typos or grammatical errors. It's really well written.
At 200 odd pages I would say that the author had definitely got his story length right. Any longer and it would have ran the risk of dragging but by keeping it relatively short the story flowed at the right pace.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Strange Metamorphosis to those who enjoyed ‘James And The Giant Peach’ and the film, ‘A Bug's Life’.