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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-01-15 12:54
TheeStoryTeller Speaks on...Bad Monkeys
Bad Monkeys - Matt Ruff

I haven't written anything in a while so here is a refresher on how I do my blog.


Number one: I don't write reviews. I write impressions. Meaning as soon as I'm done with the book, while I'm still reeling in the emotions and the experience I just had, I write how I feel about what I just read. I don't analyze, I don't nitpick. I focus on the story, the characters, and whatever else sticks out to me. That's all.  


Number two: This isn't a review. I said that already right? Well my point is I'm not writing to tell you whether I think you should read this book or not. I'm writing mainly for those who have read the book so we can freak out about it together. I mean it's not like you're banned from my blog or anything if you haven't read the book. Just be warned that I'm not going to hold my tongue so therefore spoilers will be made. Huge ones. Like book ruining spoilers. Like I will literally tell you what happened. So, you've been warned.


Now that's out of the way, lets get to it!



WTF just happened? This was my face when I came to the end of this book. Okay, wooosah.


I'll admit it. I heard this novel was going to be a mind fuck, so I was expecting a twist. But JEEZE, there was no way of predicting that ending. Kudos to Matt for that.




First, do I even like the story? Why yes, yes I do. It is well written and had my attention from the very beginning. Not once did it bore me. I'm talking 'up late on my kindle, knowing I should be going to sleep but not able to shut the damn thing off' good. A very original story, which is always a breath of fresh air. What I found the most interesting is how unsure I was about the kind of story I was reading, which I assume was a part of the trickery. I wasn't sure if the story was leaning more towards fantasy, or at least paranormal, or if it was a fiction based in reality. That question was certainly answered.




First off, we have a narrator we can't trust, which is always interesting. Is she crazy? Well it sounds like it, but more on that later. She's interesting to say the least. She's charming in a way but her insistence on being bad (stealing, drugs, skipping classes, and not being anywhere near as traumatized as she should have been after watching a man jack off to kids, all before the age of 17) made me question her moral values from the start. I say that, but she still fooled me. More on that later. The Doctor (no not that doctor), Truth, Dixon, Love, and all the other characters we met were distinct and well developed. They had personalities that I could remember and I loved that. No fillers here. 




Remember what I said about spoilers? If you haven't read it yet, this is your last chance to get out because I'm about to start getting specific. You've been warned.


Jane. Like I said above, I really didn't know how to feel about her from the beginning. Like I said, she's charming, funny, and seems like she just wants to make a difference in the world. But then again, she's not exactly a good girl, (refer to the list mentioned above.) and she treats her brother like crap. Plus, when the doctor comes in with files proving that she might be making her whole story up, well I really stopped trusting her then. But that's kind of the point. I think Matt wanted us to question her, but the trick is we only question her sanity. But I started to get an inkling of how bad she might be once the "pet boys" came up. I'm sorry, I'm 25 myself and I just can't think of a justification for drugging and having sex with under aged boys. The fact that she was even trying to clean it up to make it seem like oh she was young and stupid, she didn't hurt anyone. Right there I was just like wow, she's sick and a huge hypocrite. At this point, I wasn't reading because I liked Jane anymore. I was reading to find out how the doctor would see through her BS. How he would shut down this whole world she had created to deal with the things she'd done and how she would react to that. Well, shit did not go to plan there did it?


I See You


To my defense, before I get into the many twists and turns of this story, there were a couple I spotted a mile away. Her stories about Phil for example. Maybe everyone spotted this. I'm not saying I'm special, I'm just saying I'm one of you if you spotted it too. It was the way he kept popping up at the most random times. I wasn't buying that whole "he just knows when I need him" nonsense. Especially when he popped up in the middle of the night after her whole ordeal with the last pet boy. That's when I said to myself, she isn't really speaking to Phil. I mean how would he know to show up at that exact moment? Plus the fact that he barely talked much less go off on her about how crazy she was being. And them getting along? I doubt it. So i figured maybe he was dead and it was somehow her fault and she imagined their conversations to make herself feel better. Well, I was partly right.


Next was the X-drugs. You know how I said I wasn't sure what kind of novel I was reading. Well, I was sure of enough to know the whole X-Drugs thing was out of place. I mean drugs that turned you super human? Teleportation and time bending? I thought, "okay Jane, you're going a bit overboard now." From what I could tell, the world was pretty regular. The "evil" they were fighting weren't monsters, just people. I mean they were monsters, but you see where I'm going with this. There were no flying cars or any science fiction elements, so I knew the X-drugs just didn't fit. I didn't think the whole dream school situation fit either but apparently that's a thing. Guns that shoot heart attacks are a thing too. Okay, maybe there are some fantasy elements, but it was just something about the X-Drugs that made me think, okay now you're just pushing it. Besides, I thought she was making everything up anyway. Well, at least I was right about the X-Drugs.


Twists on Twists on Twists


Me after the first twist - Her whole story is true, she's not crazy, and Phil is the Doctor.


Me after the second twist - This whole thing has been staged, she's found Phil, he's too far gone, he tried to kill her with a bomb, and now she's got to kill him.


Me after the 3rd twist- He doesn't die. In walks Truth, alive. Wait, Truth is really with the troop? No! Phil isn't the bad guy. It's Jane! This was a set up for her since the very beginning. She's an undercover Troop. Phil is an undercover Bad Monkey. She's been evil this whole time. Her mother was right. 



A few last words between evil sister and her apparently "incorruptible" brother, and bam! NC gun goes off, Jane's dead, end of story


Which brings me back to this gif


WTF just happened?


I have a love/hate relationship with plot twists. I mean, when done right, they're really good. In this case, I'm not sure. I mean I got so confused I had to go back and read the last few pages over again...twice. This is why I'm only giving the book 4 stars. I'm not sure how satisfied I am with the ending at this point. 


What I do applaud is the whole story being told by the villain without us even knowing she is the villain. I mean like I said, I didn't think she was the greatest of people, but I sure didn't think she was evil. Sociopath maybe. Okay Sociopath and Evil might go hand in hand to some people but I try not to judge. Dean and Sam Winchester are sociopaths and they're doing just fine.

Kind of...



All in all, I did enjoy the book,and the storytelling was phenomenal. The twists were just giving me whiplash, that's all.






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review 2014-03-11 15:27
Going crazy trying to remember title
Bad Monkeys - Matt Ruff
Bad Monkeys was one of those books that I read several years ago and then could only remember the weirdest details about. Sadly, the title was NOT one of those details. When I mentioned assassins, abductions, clowns, Las Vegas, The Ant Farm and hallucinogenic drugs, people wondered what I was on, since no one I knew had read the damn thing except my husband.

I happened to stumble across it again a couple weeks ago and realized two things: a) it's written by Matt Ruff who wrote one of my all-time fav books Fool On The Hill and b) I had to read it. So how did it go?

Well, I liked it but I didn't love it. Which is exactly what I now recall was my original feeling about it. The twists and turns were great. I was engaged with the story and the protagonist and yet there was a kind of arms length enjoyment about it. I never fell into love with it and when I closed the book my reaction was more, "huh. Yeah, okay, now I remember it." Not so much "wow!"

I'm glad I re-read it, if only for sanity's sake.
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review 2013-06-02 00:00
Bad Monkeys by Matt Huff
Bad Monkeys - Matt Ruff

A friend recommended Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaason but I picked up this one mistakenly.


It started out fun but by the end I was so lost. I like different but this was very very different. Its starts off with Jane Charlotte's arrest for murder. She tells the police that she works for a government agency. They put her in a mental hospital. And that's the beginning of this very bizarre story.


Final verdict: Way too strange for me

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review 2013-03-31 00:00
Bad Monkeys - Matt Ruff I'd probably give this one 3.5 stars, or even 3.75, if I could, because I'm not quite sure it rises to "really liked it!" but I did like it better than the run of the mill things I give three stars.

I had no idea what to expect, and only chose this book because of the title - monkeys being an office mascot. I'm so glad I did, because not only did it feature some very bad monkeys, but also some quite up-to-no-good clowns. The only thing missing was a ventriloquist's dummy! The concept was highly amusing, and the author kept me one (or three) steps behind the whole way to the end of the wild (and gobstopping) ride.

If you like a quirky style (kind of Jasper Fforde channeling Tom Clancy} you might enjoy this one, too!
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review 2012-07-16 00:00
Bad Monkeys - Matt Ruff Bad Monkeys was really good but I am stuck on how to classify it other than to say it was really good! I have no idea how much of the story was real and how much was the delusional ramblings of the main character.

Jane Charlotte is in a mental hospital and is being interviewed by a doctor. Bad Monkeys is her story. It is a strange tale of a secret organization that fights evil. Jane is recruited to join the Bad Monkeys division of this organization but she has a penchant for drugs and a bad habit of not sticking to the plan. Many of her assignments go terribly wrong and she ends making some bad decisions and choosing the wrong side.

I can't really describe this is more detail. It was sort of on the bizzarro side of things but on re-examining the story as I write this, there was more to it than just the weird. I do recommend, if you see it, give it a try!
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