Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“It was a race to dominate planets and win their resources.”
Having only read this author’s memoir so far, I was really keen to see how good his fictional work was in comparison. It was rather strange comparing an author’s talent for writing with a real life story and a fictional story, but it was a great experience – each so different from the other, yet just as enjoyable too. (Read my review of the author’s memoir, Tales Of An Accidental Life, here!) Again, this newly released book didn’t disappoint, and I found myself getting though this one quickly through pure enjoyment.
Monica With A ‘K’ Saves The World by E.D. Robson is book 1 in The Alien Librarian series. It’s a light-hearted, humorous romantic science fiction story. Monika, a shy, nervous assistant librarian in a small English town is given notice of her redundancy because of spending cuts. Shortly afterwards, she wakes up naked in a dentist’s chair having been kidnapped by alien rodents disguised as Chinese dentists. After escaping in a stolen charity shop coat, she gets arrested by a police officer and her life takes an unexpected turn from there.
From reading the first page, I could tell I liked Monika’s character straight away. She seemed to be a thinker, and no matter how much certain things annoyed her, she’d keep her mouth shut – that was pretty much everything but the misspelling of her name. Sometimes, keeping quiet needs to be done for a simple life! However, simple is far from what she’s about to experience – the first chapter dives straight into the action. She awakes to find herself unclothed and strapped to a dentist’s chair, not entirely sure how she got there. With her appearance completely different and face to face with some imposter dentists, she needs to think fast about her exit strategy.
After reading the author’s memoir previously and knowing about his career in the police force, it was interesting to see how he’d incorporated this experience into his book. His description of Constable Thomas Clarke’s character and his job was great, and you can tell the author has his own experience in this field. I thought this solidified the story more and I really enjoyed following this character’s story from his point of view. However, would he believe Monika’s story, or would he think she was making the whole thing up?
Monika and Tom soon find themselves in a similar predicament. They’re both forced into handcuffs and blindfolded, and quickly whisked away out of the blue, with no idea where they’re going or what crime, if any, they’ve committed. Suspense was already building quite rapidly, and it was hard to stop reading for any short space of time! With so many questions forming, the author has a lot to answer at this point, but I was curious to know how bad things could get throughout the book. If the truth about what happened to Monika came out, would anyone actually believe what had happened? Would it cause the human race to panic about their futures?
“We are going to win this war because while they’re messing around with fake influencers, we’ve got the real thing.”
It soon becomes clear that the C.I.A are involved, and plan to use both Monika and Tom to their advantage if they are to get to the bottom of this strange alien invasion. It would be Tom’s job to get Monika to trust him and to tell him everything she knows. Even though it’s action packed, the beginning of the story drew me in, and I found it easy to read and follow – I didn’t have to read a lot of chapters before I felt involved in Monika’s story, nor did any part of the book so far confuse me. The book is very easy and light to read, and even at this point, I’d be happy to recommend it to anyone who needs a shorter read to enjoy.
Monika and Tom are transported to the United States, with still no clear indication of why they are such important pieces to this puzzle. The pair begin to spend more time together, and it’s clear some romantic feelings are blossoming between the two. No matter how scary and uncertain things are for them at this time, they have each other for company. However, Monika still isn’t aware of Tom’s task to get closer to her – has he really developed genuine feelings for her, or is he simply following orders? Monika is also more aware than ever about her altered appearance – would Tom still feel the same way if she looked like her old self?
If things weren’t already scary enough, the prisoners and their guards are soon ambushed on the next leg of their journey, creating a whole new scenario. The guards are now also the prisoners! The Chinese dentists are back, and this time, more determined and menacing than ever. We see a lot of action, danger and destruction, as well as the introduction of the real Monica, who doesn’t know what she’s getting herself in for. Before long, the entire group find themselves in a shuttle to an unknown place, even more danger and uncertainty looming. The action scenes in the book were so engaging, and it was impossible to know who would survive, and who would be taken down.
A strange love begins to blossom between one of our human characters and Greta, an alien rodent, while danger continues to consume the entire situation. If that wasn’t enough for Monika to take in, she meets her father for the first time, and also her sister, who bears an ‘uncomfortable’ resemblance to how she used to look. Even though there is a lot going on throughout the middle of the book, it is relatively easy to follow. I think the side stories about love and even family lighten the tone, which takes some of the weight off the heavier action scenes. When Monika is strapped up and sent to space, her dreams of getting back to reality are cut short and can only keep readers guessing what else could possibly go wrong for this shy girl.
“She had often wondered what it would be like to travel but could never have imagined that it would be in these circumstances.”
I felt as though the middle of the book went by a little too quickly, but maybe this was because the book is short and I just read through it all in one sitting! I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a negative for the book, as we are still well informed of each character’s whereabouts and actions, feel their emotions as well as side with our protagonists. Before we reached the end of the book however, I had a lot of questions. What was going to happen to Monika? Would the famous Monica May ever be able to live her life the same again? What would the fate be for all the other characters? Even though there was so much to answer in the last few chapters, I was confident the author would end the book just right.
Monika and Carly are reunited, and it’s safe to say that they have a lot to catch up on! They bring each other up to speed on how they got detained, and both are curious yet nervous about what will happen to them next. Would they be kept alive for testing purposes? Would they be intensely questioned, then released back to their normal day to day lives? With so much uncertainty, they can only hope and pray that their fate isn’t going to end in death. When the time comes to decide on their future, we can’t help but feel nervous for them!
One of my favourite characters, one who we’d grown to love throughout the book, appears to have suffered a transformation like no other. Monika is mortified – if she hadn’t stolen that coat, he’d never have been dragged into this mess! We feel the regret and sadness that Monika feels, especially as she had grown feelings for the man, but it also makes us feel more determined than ever to see the group succeed in getting out of this place alive. Things are definitely starting to heat up as we reach the final few chapters of the book, and I was very curious to see what the outcome would be for all the characters involved.
While Carly finds herself face to face with a monstrous creature, Monika flees the scene for safety, unhappy about having to leave Carly behind. She fights to save her and eventually, they manage to squeeze themselves into a one person pod to safety. The ride isn’t a comfortable one by any stretch, but if it was a way of escape, I don’t think I’d mind the tight squeeze either! We feel a sense of relief as they touch down, but what Monika sees when they do makes her more confused and emotional. As a reader, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders now Monika was out of danger, but would it be for good?
“White stopped what she was doing and turned to face the librarian who was now pointing the weapon directly at her head.”
With plans in place to suit the future of both humans and aliens involved in this journey, the story comes to a close. The news of aliens on Earth is broadcast from the White House, and a speech about peace between the species is projected to the nation. Even though this was quite a settled end to the book, I think we could still hear more about Monika’s life and future adventures in a second book!
This book has everything sci-fi fanatics will enjoy, as well as a little romance to satisfy the hopeless romantics at heart. Although things move at a fast pace, there is never a dull moment in this one – I enjoyed the action-packed scenes, the (quite literally) out of this world alien characters as well as Monika and Tom’s personalities. Descriptions of people and places really help your imagination along. This one is also a relatively short read compared to other books, so was perfect for me to binge during the UK lockdown!
Thanks so much to E.D. Robson for the copy of this book! You can purchase your own copy of Monica With A ‘K’ Saves The World on Amazon UK and US, available on Kindle and paperback. Follow the author over on Twitter and Facebook for more updates!