[Book Review] Zepha The Monster Squid (Beast Quest, #7) by Adam Blade

When Tom defeated Epos the Winged Flame, he thought his Beast Quest was over.

He was wrong.

The Dark Wizard Malvel has returned. He has new beasts and a new plan to destroy the kingdom. Tom is determined to save Avantia and finish his quest. But that means facing Zepha the Monster Squid! The last time Tom fought an underwater monster, he barely survived.

Can he battle the evil beast and make it out alive?

Zepha the Monster Squid marks the beginning of the second Beast Quest sextet, The Golden Armor. It's named such for a suit of--you guessed it!--golden armor introduced in the book, which apparently belongs to the "Master of the Beasts". But alas, Tom's nemesis, the wizard Malvel, steals the armor to prevent Tom from wearing it and imprisons Tom's ally, the wizard Aduro. So of course Tom must set out to rescue Aduro and the armor with only his friend Elenna, his horse, and their companion wolf to help him.

Apparently, there is literally no one else in Avantia willing to fight Malvel. Just these two preteens. Because reasons.

Anyway, they soon discover that Malvel has created six new Beasts, each tasked with protecting one piece of the armor.... which seems like a dumbass thing to do when the guy you're up against is the new "Master of the Beasts".

So Tom, Elenna, Storm, and Silver set out to fight the first Beast, Zepha, who is patrolling the oceans of Avantia and starving the coastal people.... which seems odd, since those waters are where Sepron, whose one and only task is to protect Avantia, lives.

In any case, we again get to read about Tom being a super special hero, insisting upon doing everything on his own (leaving me to wonder what exactly is the point of having Elenna around), and ultimately being saved by Sepron, who can only attack Zepha in defense of a citizen of Avantia.... but saving them from starvation doesn't count, apparently?

What I'm getting at, ultimately, is that Zepha the Monster Squid is not a good fantasy story. The villain's actions are rather nonsensical and obviously happen for no reason other than to keep the story going. Tom's a Gary Stu. Elenna's a useless Load. (Is that better or worse than being a Damsel in Distress, I wonder?) Sepron's role in the plot makes no sense, as he's neutered for no reason other than to give Tom something to do. It's lame fantasy all around.

At this point in the series, I'm just going to say skip it. If your kid wants to read some fantasy chapter books, go for the Deltora Quest series instead. It's much better than this lazy writing.

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