With just a few short months left until high school graduation, Bridger is a bundle of nerves for more reasons than one. Yes, he is dating Leo, baseball star and gorgeous hunk, and things are going well, but let’s face it, Leo is bound to wake up soon and figure out he really got the short stick when he agreed to be Bridger’s boyfriend. And, yes things couldn’t be better with his best friend, Astrid, now that she knows all about his work with Pavel. And Pavel is still the slightly crazy, but loving and warm boss and friend Bridger can confide in no matter what. So what really had Bridge losing it? That would be Summer Lore, host of the TV show Monster of the Week, showing up and her insistence that Bridger is keeping secrets about what really happened last summer when all magical hell broke loose in the small town of Midden, Michigan. Between Summer stalking Bridger’s every move and his tendency to give away too much information when she manages to push his buttons, Bridger’s dad suddenly showing up after a ten year absence, and graduation looming, Bridger is about to lose it and threaten not only the mythical world that exists around him, but everyone he loves as well.
Let me begin by saying that if you have not read F.T. Lukens’ first novel, The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magics, then this second book in The Rules series, Monster of the Week, will not make a great deal of sense to you as it evolves naturally from the first installment. Also, my review may contain spoilers about the first story in the series, so please be forewarned.
Bridger, Leo, Astrid, Pavel, Elena, Nia, and Bran are all back and I couldn’t be happier. Once again F.T. Lukens weaves a special kind of magic in creating a fast-paced novel full of uniquely magical creatures, well-meaning but fumbling teenagers, and one marvelous wizard who keeps everyone safe in his own stumbling way. Our pixies, Nia and Bran, are still running their strange cosmetics line with Bridger fetching the much needed unicorn poop and other strange ingredients for them. They are just as sassy and secretive as before, yet they obviously love Bridger and will influence his life in a very real way before story’s end.
Leo is still gorgeous and so incredibly sweet, yet somehow never comes off as a character who is over the top or fake and is just the perfect calming influence to stand up against his boyfriend’s nervous anxiety. Bridger is in love, Leo loves him back, and these two together make my heart so very happy. They are perfection together and I loved every moment they interacted.
Astrid is till the snappy and delightful gal pal to Bridger, always watching his back and never questioning the insanity that always seems to surround her bestie. Pavel, Bridger’s boss, is still befuddled, loyal, and caring, yet badass when he needs to be—the dad Bridger never really had. Speaking of which, in a plot twist that nearly broke my heart in many ways, Bridger’s real dad shows up and while I can’t say much more, I can tell you that the two major scenes between them were so incredibly realistic and heart-breaking, while still managing to feel almost freeing and self-affirming. Those moments, along with the growth I could see in Bridger and Leo’s relationship, made my estimation of this author’s abilities as an outstanding storyteller rise dramatically. I knew Lukens was a gifted writer from reading the other works they produced, but this book knocked that fact out of the park—the scenes I referenced above were simply brilliant. Again please forgive my being vague, but to say any more would really spoil them for future readers.
Monster of the Week was everything and more that I could ask for in a sequel. I sincerely hope we have not seen the end of these characters and this author has at least a third novel up their sleeve. Until then, I can only highly recommend this series to you. I loved it and hope you do as well.