This sequel pits the heroes who took down a California theme park’s creator against a revitalized horde of the undead.
Copper Valley’s Monsterland theme park, which brought visitors face to face with zombies, werewolves, and vampires, has closed. Vincent Konrad, the park’s philanthropist designer, died during an opening-night disaster along with his star attractions. Seventeen-year-old Wyatt Baldwin and his stepfather, highway patrolman Carter White, now navigate a post-apocalyptic world of looters, giant coyotes, and a government in crisis. They pick up the radio signal of Sebastian Espinoza, a soldier in nearby Stocktonville. He has supplies to trade but also warns against a purple menace. Carter reluctantly sends Wyatt and his teen friends Howard, Lily, Keisha, and Damon on a road trip to Stocktonville to establish radio contact with the FBI. Meanwhile, in a chamber beneath Monsterland, Vincent’s loyal assistant, Igor, works to return life to his master’s severed head. Dr. Hugh Frasier arrives to help, igniting Vincent’s Plan B, which involves the zombies dispatched by the military and a strange purple substance that hungers for life. Hopefully, Wyatt and company can recruit more firepower to Copper Valley before Monsterland’s grand reopening. In this zany sequel, Okon (Monsterland, 2017) succeeds in giving a second round of creatures, like mummies, shape-shifters, and blobs, a chance for mayhem. He remains firmly plugged into pop culture, as when characters argue over what to name the purple menace (“Call it the Foam,” Keisha says). The author also inserts a tone of playful chaos, as in this line during a car chase: “Any faster and they’d be traveling back to 1985.” Supernatural metamorphoses add dimension to Lily and returning character Melvin, but human changes also occur. Wyatt, when reunited with his crush, Jade, finds her juvenile and wonders what he’d seen in her. He also gains more respect for Carter, whom he’d resented for joining his family. Okon later touches on politics, modeling Vincent after someone who “wanted to eliminate...politicians who abuse their power with empty promises.” The finale aims readers toward a raucous third installment.
Heartfelt character moments combine with monstrous wackiness for a win.