For some reason, a lot of you guys wanted me to cover Egg Monsters From Mars. Well, here you go. Maybe it’s a favorite? I’d like to hear what you guys like about this book, because I had some major issues with it. Maybe you all like the cover. I have to admit, this book does have an awesome cover. Or, as I suspect, maybe you guys know this book is terrible and want to torture me.
What kills me about this book is that it has the makings of a good Goosebumps entry. It has one of the more fleshed-out protagonists I’ve encountered. It has a very real threat for kids in its antagonist. It even has some suspense and intrigue. I was legitimately invested in the plot. The problem is it drags us along and doesn’t go anywhere, and then it just ends in a random and absurd manner. Unfortunately, this book was not as egg-celent as I had hoped it’d be.
As I wrote above, the cover is egg-celent. I really love the use of color. I like the egg monster. It looks as described and about how I imagined it when reading the book. I think the monster sitting in a carton of eggs is a little absurd, but I can forgive Jacobus for taking creative liberties, because he drew an interesting cover. As a kid, I would have picked this book up and would have wanted to read it because of the cover. At the end of the day, that’s what the cover should be aiming to do.
Tagline: They’re no yolk!
Can someone explain this tagline to me? I just don’t get it. As far as I know, “yolk” doesn’t have any other meanings other than the liquid insides of an egg, and I can’t think of any words the word “yolk” might have replaced that would make this sentence make sense on a new level… except maybe “joke.” Are they saying they’re no joke? Oh, man, that’s it, isn’t it? I feel so embarrassed it took me so long to get that.
Dana Johnson is a twelve-year-old boy who thinks he’s a scientist. His sister, Brandy, has a birthday around Easter, and requests an egg hunt for her birthday party. Dana assures us Brandy gets what Brandy wants, so he is naturally beginning the book partaking in his sister’s egg hunt. Their mother didn’t have time to boil the eggs, so kids search for normal, white, yolk-filled eggs. It takes about three pages for what we all know is coming to happen. Eggs fly everywhere. As the kids are throwing eggs, Dana is picking up eggs to throw and happens to get his hand on an egg that doesn’t feel like a normal egg. It’s warm, it has veins, and it pulsates.
Dana saves the egg from near-destruction several times before getting the egg to his room and in his dresser. There, he obsesses over the egg and wonders what it is. He tries to get his parents and even his sister interested in the egg to get their opinion on it, but naturally eggs are a sore subject for them after the party. They shun poor Dana.
Dana wakes up one morning to the egg hatching. Yolk is all over his socks in his dresser, which would gross me out, but it doesn’t seem to bother Dana. He has trouble identifying the creature that hatches. He thinks it might be a turtle, but he’s unsure. He describes it to the best of his ability as a creature resembling a scrambled egg.
He is dying to show the creature to someone, anyone. He tries his parents first, but he finds his house empty. His parents are running errands someplace. Dana then decides to show the creature to his next door neighbor, Anne. He struggles to decide what to carry the creature in and settles on a shoe box. If it were me, I probably would have just taken the drawer holding the creature out of my dresser and carried the creature to Anne’s house in it. Being the scientist he thinks he is, Dana tries not to touch the creature, unsure of any germs it may have, or harm it may bring him. I’m actually impressed with Stine for Dana being this smart. Dana is clumsy, however, and drops the creature and has to pick it up with his hands. Oh well. He probably doesn’t have any diseases from it.
In a drawn out scene, Dana takes the creature to Anne’s house, ruins Anne’s breakfast, almost drops the creature down the garbage disposal, and gets kicked out by Anne’s mom. Anne follows Dana outside to observe the creature. She’s not sure what it is, either. Dana remembers there’s a science lab in town and tells Anne he’s going to take the creature to the science lab.
He rides his bike to the lab. The lab is closed on weekends, and Dana nearly leaves defeated, but as he’s walking away the door to the lab opens and an old scientist by the name of Dr. Gray comes out. Upon seeing the creature, Dr. Gray is sure he can identify the creature and invites Dana in.
A random science lab in the middle of a town with an old scientist with white hair… is anyone else thinking Pokémon?
Gasp. Might Egg Monsters From Mars really be the story of Exeggcute? 😮
Oak Gray tells Dana his monster is actually an alien from Mars. He tells him there are more, and that he must have missed this one when he was gathering them. He tells Dana it is egg-celent that Dana brought the egg monster to the lab. Dana ponders about his own legal rights to the martian, but decides to relinquish the creature into Dr. Oak Gray’s care. He asks Dr. Gray if it’s okay if he comes back and visits the creature sometime. Dr. Gray, says, and let me quote this to get the full creeper effect:
Come back? Dana, what do you mean by come back? You’re not leaving.
And just like that, this turned from a story about egg monsters from Mars and into a story about child abduction. I can’t get over the creepiness of this scene.
Dr. Gray tells Dana that he knows too much and he can’t leave. If the world knew there were egg monsters from Mars, the world might go in panic. What’s more, who knows what kind of germs and diseases Dana might be carrying from the creatures now? He touched one.
Dr. Gray keeps Dana in a freezer with the alien creatures. He explains to Dana that the creatures seem to like the cold. I imagine they’d scramble in heat? Maybe I’m thinking too much. Dana discovers that the creatures communicate via shapes. They mimic shapes Dana makes with his hands and form a square, a triangle, and… well, we get the point. They’re relatively harmless, and make no moves to harm Dana.
Dana is worried he might be kidnapped forever, but he remembers something important. He told Anne where he was going! His father will come look for him. And his father does just that a few pages later. Unfortunately, Dr. Gray is able to convince Dana’s father that no one is in the lab despite Dana’s best efforts to alert his father by beating on the window and screaming. Dana’s father leaves without him.
Dr. Gray forces Dana to spend the night in the freezer with the egg monsters. They form a massive wall out of their bodies and begin rolling toward Dana. Dana naturally thinks they might be trying to harm him or smother him, but he discovers that they are forming a blanket to keep him warm. Dana falls asleep with the egg monsters piled on top of him.
He wakes the next day to Dr. Gray freaking out. Dr. Gray says that Dana has ruined the creatures by allowing them to touch him, something I just don’t understand because if Dr. Gray was worried about contamination, he should have never put Dana in the same room with the creatures. We’ll go with Goosebumps reasoning, though. This is somehow all Dana’s fault. The egg monsters are ruined.
Dr. Gray says that he thought he would be able to keep Dana alive, but he sees now that that is not the case. He plans to freeze Dana to death. Before he can leave, however, the egg monsters fall in on him and prevent him from moving, allowing Dana to escape.
Dana runs from the science lab, jumps on his bike (Dr. Gray hid it behind a dumpster), and rides all the way home. His parents are happy to see him and demand to know where he has been. Dana should have started yelling about Dr. Gray here, but all Dana tells his parents is, “egg monsters!” He gets them to follow him to the lab, which is now empty, of course.
Dana’s parents think he’s sick and they have a doctor come over to check him out. The doctor says Dana is fine, but he needs to rest.
Dana feels a little weird, but is pumped about his newfound freedom. He goes outside and lays an egg. He literally lays an egg.
I threw my Kindle across the room.
Stine developed one of the more fleshed-out protagonists in the series, and this is what he did with him. I’m disappointed. I’m also disappointed the egg monsters weren’t utilized to their potential. This could have been a story about an evil alien or even a misunderstood one, but what we got was a story not even about an alien, but a child abduction. The egg monsters were just a tool in the story.
The story, especially its antagonist, reminds me a bit of How I Got My Shrunken Head. It has a similar villain. Its title element is also just a tool and not the antagonist in the story like one would think.
I’m fine with human threats, and I think human threats can be scarier than supernatural ones, but the author needs to commit to them. I don’t believe Stine did in this book. The events and scenes surrounding Dr. Gray were extremely creepy. The scene where Dana’s dad was looking for him, and Dana was screaming, and then his dad left without him felt incredibly creepy and was well done. Then, at least to me, it was like Stine said, “Oh crap, this should be a book about Egg Monsters from Mars,” and tried to make the aliens scary and creepy, and it just didn’t work after the scenes with Dr. Gray. I no longer cared about the aliens, and wanted to learn more about Dr. Gray. Unfortunately, we don’t learn really anything about Dr. Gray.
Finally, the ending made absolutely no sense. What is Stine trying to imply? The egg monsters impregnated Dana. Does that mean them covering him up was love-making? Rape? Or is it more like what the Facehuggers did in Alien? Whatever it was, we deserve a better ending.
I hesitate to give you guys control of my reading again after this one, but eh, why not? What do you want to see me cover next? Comment with titles below.