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November 05, 2013

Review: The Creature Department by Robert Paul Weston

The Creature Department
Title: The Creature Department
Author: Robert Paul Weston
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication date: November 5, 2013
Genre(s): Middle Grade (Fantasy)
Source: Publisher 
Format: ARC
Pages: 352
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indigo
Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory.

Beneath the glass towers and glittering skywalks, there's a rambling old mansion from which all the company’s amazing inventions spring forth. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall.

Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside.

They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken teeth; tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly; and huge, hulking, hairy nonhumans (with horns). It is unlike anything they’ve ever seen!

But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000 factory if a new product isn’t presented soon, the creatures know they are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it’s up to Elliot, Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, "employees" to create an invention so astonishing it will save The Creature Department.
Elliot von Doppler lives in the most uneventful place on Earth, Bickleburgh. The most interesting thing there is the headquarters of the 8th largest factory on the planet, DENKi-3000. Glittering skyscrapers are about the most interesting thing in the whole city, but only Elliot’s uncle, Archie, knows what goes on behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall...until now. When Elliot’s uncle invites him and a strange girl Leslie (who coincidentally made the same rocket as him in a science fair) to take a tour of the DENKi-3000, Elliot jumps on the opportunity, and discovers what exactly goes on inside the mysterious Research & Development department. But when a rival company sends in a spy and tries to use force to take the factory away, it up to Elliot, Leslie, and some rather odd friends to save the factory. 
I liked this book! I liked the topic, and the characters are very cute. I can’t relate to many characters, because Elliot has a somewhat sciencey side, while Leslie’s demeanor screams GOTH. I am neither sciencey or goth, so their personalities were not relatable. They each had their own quirks, which I think is a good touch to a character. 
At first, I wasn't engaged immediately, which was weird because the beginning was so interesting. I haven't read a book where the first sentence was of the Elliots’ mom was threatening to boil him in soup (which is explained a couple sentences later, but I assure you his parents aren’t cannibals)! The ending was good, but I’m guessing there will be another book after this, because it left you with questions. The writing style was third person, but alternating which character was being narrated, which is an odd but interesting style for me. This book is good for kids ages 8-12 and was a cute and easy read. Also, the finished copy is so pretty! Thank you Razorbill for sending me a finished copy. I love the glow in the dark cover as well as all the illustrations inside the book.    


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