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4.6 out of 5 stars17
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 14 June 2011
This book is the first in the Peter and the Monsters series, and comprises four short stories or novellas: Peter and the Dead Men, Peter and the Vampires, Peter and the Changeling and Peter and the Swamp Monster.

Peter is ten and has just moved from California with his mum and 2 year old sister. He has been uprooted, torn away from his friends and made to move in with the grandfather he has never met. The house is huge and spooky sounding, with plenty of places off limits to Peter, including the basement which is not to be entered on pain of death! He quickly meets his new neighbour Dill, who thinks he's streetwise and savvy, and considered a bad influence by Peter's grandfather who doesn't want around him. The town they move to has some seriously weird things going on, as you can tell from the titles of each story within the book, and Peter's grandfather knows far more about what is going on than he lets on. As well as dealing with starting a new school and making new friends Peter ends up with plenty of other things on his mind, and dealing with all these incidents soon cements his friendship with Dill.

As well as the monster stories there are undercurrents based around the boys' family lives. From the start this is some mystery about what has happened between Peter's parents, and Dill's dysfunctional clan made me sympathise and feel more understanding towards him. There is also clearly more going on with Grandfather than is revealed in this book, and the hint of a curse is also present. There are two more books in the series, again divided into shorter stories, and I'll be interested to see where those threads go. What I really want to know is what is going on in the basement!

With the two main protagonists being just ten, and with the tone being scary and a bit disgusting without being too graphic I can see tweens enjoying these stories, but at 30 odd I found myself laughing in places, and picking up my reading pace as the stories reached a climax. The way the kids spoke, the things they worried about and the terms they used reminded me of being a kid again, and it was great!

This was a really fun read, and although it took me a minute to wrap my head around how the books within the book worked once I got it I thought it worked nicely. I also thought it was well formatted and proofed so was a well-presented end product. No doubt I'll be revewing Peter and the Werewolves and Peter and the Frankenstein in the future.
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on 28 May 2011
I also first found this as a blog. What attracted me to it was the impressive standard of writing and consistent nature of the updates - the author is serious about his writing in a way that few others writing for free are.

This book collects the first four stories in the ever-growing collection - they're probably the lightest, still interesting enough that I can enjoy them as an adult but something I would be happy to read to my hypothetical kids. And there are some genuiunely scary moments, though not nearly as many as in the later books.

Bear in mind, despite the title of the book and blog, only one of these stories deals with vampires, the second one in this collection. I know there's been a lot of vampire novels in the past few years, so it's refreshing to find something that doesn't focus on them at the expense of every other good monster.

Really, especially at this price this standard of horror fiction is outstanding - I can't reccommend this enough.
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on 19 August 2012
The entire set of books is written in the most fabulous and gripping style. I haven't been this enthraled in a set of books since Harry Potter, and these are right up there with Harry himself.
Each book has its own story,but throughout the entire set of books is the most amazing underlying tale of a boy desperate to find out the secrets of his ancestors and why trouble keeps finding him!
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on 13 February 2016
I got this for free, and I'm so pleased I did. Well written, and very entertaining. Be prepared to read from cover to cover, as it's un-put-downable! I'm totally hooked and will deffinitely buy more as well as putting on my wish list for Xmas, birthdays and any other excuse I can find. I enjoyed the plots and fast pace of the stories. Also, the interaction between Peter and his friend, Dill, which I found slightly reminiscent of the old Jennings and Darbyshire books, which my family used to love. As one who is in the process of writing a children's book, I read piles of the things every week. And can honestly say these are the best I have found. I think anyone would enjoy them, up to . . . er . . . sixty-six years old, at least. After that - depends on reading ability. Hope I live long enough to read them all. Thank you Darren Pillsbury.
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on 25 May 2011
I stumbled across this a couple of years ago as an online blog by the author. I often read things I stumble across, before getting bored because it doesn't get updated or the writing's poor and riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. However, this book is different. It's very well-written and the story just flies along. It's paced just right, with the scene being set and characters introduced properly mixed with plenty of action. Of course, that means nothing without a good story, but fortunately it has that too. When I saw a Kindle version I had to buy it - it's so cheap it's practically free! But even at a higher price it would be well worth the money. My only regret is that it's not yet available as a paper-and-ink book (what can I say, I'm a traditionalist like that).
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on 9 February 2013
I thought this book was fun and easy to read! In some parts it made me laugh put loud and in other parts it made me shake with excitement. It had great characters too.
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on 10 December 2012
My 11 year old son read this and said that it was good but a bit scary in parts and best not to read it too late at night in the dark
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on 10 February 2013
I viewed this book as a childrens book, something at 25 i was to old for....well i was wrong...i loved it and will be buying the rest!! It kept me up into the early hours of the morning, i really cant wait until my little girl gets a little older and i can read this to her. Thank you for such a great story!
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on 29 October 2012
I loved this book even though am 31 it reminder me of the point horror books,goosebumps books and shivers books i read as a teen.It was the title that tempted me to download and am glad i did as it was a really good read and scary in parts any monster fan would enjoy this.
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on 13 April 2016
I love this series of books, they are spooky, funny and with loveable characters. At first, the books seem unrelated to one another, however soon an intriguing plot is revealed that makes you hungry for more. If you like Darren Shan or J.K. Rowling, you will love this!!!
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