Book Review | “King of the Mutants” by Samantha Verant a #MGLit debut novel by a writer I discovered through her #memoir!

Posted Wednesday, 5 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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King of the Mutants by Samantha Vérant

Published By: TantrumBooks (@TantrumBooks) an imprint of Month9Books (@month9books)
by Georgia McBride Media Group (@Georgia_McBride)

Tantrum Books is the Speculative Fiction imprint of Month9Books

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via:#KingoftheMutants & #Month9Books

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Acquired Book By: My path crossed with Ms. Vérant during the blog tour for her memoir “Seven Letters from Paris”, and even before the blog tour began, we were communicating with each other via Twitter. She reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing the novel, after I had extended the offer to host a Book Spotlight as I was not sure if the book was available to review. I received a complimentary copy of “King of the Mutants” direct from the publisher Month9Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On how I know Ms. Vérant: Our paths were brought together through her debut release “Seven Letters from Paris” as from the moment I found her book on tour with France Book Tours, I knew I wanted to get to know the writer behind the memoir a bit better. I host a weekly chat on Saturdays called #ChocLitSaturdays | @ChocLitSaturday, and I invited her to join us as time would allow her to do so. I knew anyone who was bold enough to write a memoir about her real-life romance could appreciate the lively chatter we exchange! Meanwhile, we started to converse via Twitter privately as well without meeting up on #ChocLitSaturdays. I have appreciated her friendship and following her journey as an author whose career is instantaneous dual in focus between non-fiction and middle grade!

I am disclosing this, to assure you that I can formulate an honest opinion, even though I have interacted with her ahead of reviewing her books. I treat each book as a ‘new experience’, whether I personally know the author OR whether I am reading a book by them for the first time.

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My keen interest in Middle Grade fiction & Indie Pub releases:

I have been on a road back into Children’s Lit since 2009, when a new branch of a local library inspired me to not only seek out the new releases I would want to read as an adult, but the authors of whom were not even published whilst I was growing up within the realm of Children’s Literature. My inspiration backwards in time to the stories of innocence and stories of heart-warming coming-of age were directly due to my nieces and nephews; of whom were still a bit young to soak inside Juvenile Fiction, Middle Grade, or even Young Adult novels — I wanted to reach out to them when they were of age and recommend new choices as much as give them a few from my own childhood.

What I discovered was this incredible expanse of stories who had within them characters of every walk of life and a captivating arc of discovery for the young readers who would find them to read. I have always appreciated stories which seek to teach life lessons as much as to draw a line of empathy out of the readers who are still growing themselves at the times where these kinds of stories are needed most in their lives. I always celebrated stories that perhaps might have been a bit more unique and different from the regular faire, as they too, had something brilliant to offer me. By brilliant, here I refer to the fact that I was always the reader who was seeking out experiences through the joy of reading. I wanted to be challenged a bit, as that extended to gravitate towards stories outside my comfort zones and outside what I might have felt inclined at first to read. The beauty of reading is the exchanging of ‘hats’ and the experiences that are gained through walking inside a character’s shoes who ends up transforming your perspective.

Now that I have opened the door to Children’s Lit, I daresay, even if the selections I make do not interest my nieces and nephews; I can honestly say I have a newfound passion for this branch of the literary divide! I cannot read the books fast enough nor discover their writers as quickly as my heart desires to read what is being published! What wicked fun then, to find a new Indie Publisher who is giving all of us something to talk about through their published works! My heart will always be tied to the Indies, and I celebrate the fact I am now reading Indie Children’s Lit!

Book Review | “King of the Mutants” by Samantha Verant a #MGLit debut novel by a writer I discovered through her #memoir!King of the Mutants
by Samantha Verant
Source: Direct from Publisher

Can one boy stop a nefarious plot to turn kids into super-mutants?

Maverick Mercury enjoys his life as the sideshow attraction known as “Gator Boy” at Grumbling’s Traveling Circus and Sideshow.

His freakish mutations are the result of some billionaire geneticist’s experiments gone awry.  But life as a mutant is about to get worse, as Maverick uncovers a plot to kidnap kids, turns them into super-mutants, and sells their powers to the highest bidder.

Now, Maverick is on a mission to find the mad scientist who may have created him and destroy his sinister plans!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781939765819

Also by this author: Samantha Verant (Interview), Seven Letters from Paris

Genres: Middle Grade, Science Fiction


Published by Tantrum Books

on 21st October, 2014

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 209

About Samantha Verant

Samantha Verant

Samantha Vérant is a travel addict, a self-professed oenophile, and a determined, if occasionally unconventional, French chef. Over the years, she’s visited many different countries, lived in many places, and worked many jobs— always on the search for the one thing that truly excited her.

Then, one day, she found everything she’s been looking for: a passion for the written word and true love. Writing not only enabled her to open her heart, it led her to southwestern France, where she’s now married to a sexy French rocket scientist she met over twenty years ago, a stepmom to two incredible kids, and the adoptive mother to one ridiculously expensive Bengal cat. When she’s not trekking from Provence to the Pyrénées, tasting wine in American-sized glasses, or embracing her inner Julia Child while deliberating what constitutes the perfect boeuf bourguignon, Samantha is making her best effort to relearn those dreaded conjugations.

On establishing the setting:

I grew up attending one of the more infamous of circuses (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey), and although I never attended a sideshow at a circus, my interest in the performers and participants of sideshows was always a fascination for me. Mostly as I oft-times wondered how they were perceived by society and how they handled the cruelty intermixed with the prejudice aimed at them out of ignorance and the simple fact they were different from everyone else. I have seen sideshow story-lines in television shows and motion pictures, but what interested me to read King of the Mutants was to see the approach that would used to tell the story.

She has given a lot of back-story to the condition of the circus we first meet Maverick; using descriptive narrative to visually paint the scene in vivid colour and definition. She doesn’t allow the circus to feel like the kind you’d want to attend yourself, but creates this alter-world where everything has become bent on the super-strange and the evil-mindedness of people who have their priorities backwards. It is a place that you want visually can sense an awareness of the fact no one would find humanity’s grace inside and yet, it is the kind of place where a lead character could have grown up whilst finding the courage to embrace his differences. Courage out of desperation to survive out of his circumstances and courage in having to deal with prejudice remarks knowing nothing could be done to stop them.

My Review of King of the Mutants:

Maverick Mercury is not a typical leading character, as he has the moxie of interpreting his life in the same vein as The Series of Unfortunate Events wherein his honesty at accepting his plight and the way in which he opts to relate it to you is an up close and personal recollection. He presumes your interest, even if he did of course, give you a way out of the story if you felt a story of this kind might be too much for you to take-in all at once. I liked his cheeky humour where he off-handedly makes the suggestion he will shrug off your disinterest as what can he do about it? He has to live the life he was given to live and this just happens to be it!

The story starts out by introducing us to Maverick’s typical day at the circus, where his boss (Burt Grumbling) orders him around without the benefit of kindness nor appreciation for his hard work. Grumbling is the type of bloke you’d rather run away from than have to continue to be the ire that irks his jowl. His disinterest for his charges pointed to what his true interest might lie towards but I wanted to temper my inclination to guess and simply let the story unfold. Maverick meets an unsuspecting new friend on the very night he has to change his stars for the better by leaving the circus and the home he’s always known. Grant you, the circus he ended up in wasn’t the best one to be a performer as everything was bent askew to what is acceptable and sane. Yet, when he caught himself in a pickle he found that Freddie was quite literally the best friend you could ever hope to have in life.

I liked the subtle references to pop culture (i.e. Freddie Mercury of Queen) sprinkled throughout the narrative, and the fact that this isn’t an innocent tale on the level that Maverick has had a rough life. He’s attempting to re-align his path in a better light than he’s known himself, but that takes a heap of courage and a lot more moxie! What I appreciated in Freddie’s character is that he rounds out the duo on equal grounds; proving even when your a mutant you have to learn how not to judge people on appearances alone. This becomes a lesson that is continued to be explored as the story shifts forward because it proves even if you know you shouldn’t judge someone you’ve just met, it takes a bit of time to change the behaviour patterns.

The clever turning point in the novel (and for me) was when Maverick and Freddie had the chance to visit the Bayou swamps in New Orleans, as they led to a revelation that both boys needed to hear and understand. The Bayou was as visually consuming as the circus but the atmosphere of the swamp was filled with love, harmony, and peace. For the first time, Maverick started to get a glimpse into how his life was going to start to evolve and shift away from his past. Everyone needs to connect with who they are and sort out how they fit in society through the acceptance of what they look like on the outside. There was such a heart-warming scene in the Bayou, where Maverick finally finds that he is not alone and being a gator comes with an honour he never knew existed.

Although this novel is a bit of a diversion from my regular readings, what I appreciated the most was the attention to developing Maverick’s growth and for giving him a purpose in life that was not dependent on his mutations. Parts of the novel were a bit too mad scientist for me, as it was hard to get around the fact that only a mad scientist would experiment to bring animals and humans into a quasi-non-human race of mutant beings who could only live in sterile environments. The ending leaves the door open for a continuation of the series as King of the Mutants is only one resolution in the wider breadth of the story itself.

Overall, I appreciated the chance to read the author’s foray into Children’s Literature and would recommend this story to any young reader who likes to read science interwoven into their stories of fantasy. It is definitely bent a bit more towards an audience for boys (at least in my opinion) but cleverly, the boys in the story are not stereotypical nor are they one dimensional. They give a strong voice to living your life with confidence and giving your life meaning whilst living through adversity.

On writing Middle Grade fiction : seeing Vérant in a new light:

Vérant finds little ways to encourage discussion and conversations about what is right and wrong as far as how to treat people who are different from you. I applaud this because bullying has become such a difficult situation around the world to diffuse. Stories like King of the Mutants can reach an audience (especially young boys) on a level that another story or voice of a writer might not be able to reach at all. She paints the story with realism and raw pieces of reality tucking into the story the bits that anyone can find something to relate too. The undertone of the novel is a bit on the darker side but doesn’t push the envelope for me as being ‘seriously darkened’. It is merely presenting the fact Maverick grew up with people whose hearts were blackened and they did not embody the attributes you’d hope a young boy would be surrounded with as he grew up.

I loved how she turnt Waffle House into a “Waffle & Bacon Hut” too — it was clearly the restaurant chain I had grown up knowing as well as I do, but she put a spin on it to make it a bit different too.

Vérant has two distinct styles of writing – when she’s writing her memoir I had this to say on it’s behalf:

I have become wholly enthused by the kinetic soulful style of Vérant who writes a memoir with the full benefit of understanding the craft of story-telling (from the fictional perspective!).
You immediately want to soak inside her memoir, not only for how she knits together a realism only the woman whose lived her life can, but it is the very manner in which her story bubbles to life off the page that is altruistically addictive to read! I cannot wait to read her next releases in non-fiction and fiction alike! She is most definitely a writer who shines a light of literary love in each project she takes on to write!

Wherein when she’s writing fiction for children, she has found a way to tap into that part of childhood where your starting to grow into your own skin, sort out who you are and how you relate to others. She has created a story that is a bit punchy and cheeky in places, but at the heart of the novel itself she has maintained what she put inside the memoir: her heart for breathing to life a story that changes you for the better once you’ve read it.

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King of the Mutants Book Trailer via Samantha Vérant

The book trailer was visible for most of the past three years (since 2014) however in lieu of seeing the book trailer which introduced the book to readers, you can find more bookish delights on the book’s website.

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This novel recently was on a blog tour
via Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours & Month9Books:

King of the Mutants Blog Tour via Chapter by Chapter on behalf of Month9Books

I am a new blog tour hostess for the publisher via Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours, as my first event was a special showcase on four new releases that perked an interest to read. Click the banner to see what I thought about each book in the Book Blitz: (included is a video about Month9Books!)

4 For Friday Blitz via Chapter by Chapter

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This book review is courtesy of the author: 

Samantha Verant
Photo Credit:
Stephen Fisch
Be sure to visit my Bookish Events page to see what I am hosting next for:

Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours badge

on behalf of Month9Books (@month9books)

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I am happily cross-promoting this review via my participation in:
The fact that Maverick has suffered from mutations out of a science experiment that caused him to become a gator boy, I felt that it was another selection under the arm of “Sci-Fantasy” rather than straight Fantasy or Science Fiction. Mutants to me run parallel to the characters you find inside science fiction novels of whom are uniquely different and more time than not leave a mark on a new way of seeing how science can fuse itself into a story.
SFN _ SciFi Month_bookreviewSci Fi Readathon hosted by The Nerdy Journalist badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo credit: Has Bonk (Public Domain Image via UnSplash)

This book is also included on my Riffle List: Stories Seeking Love from Readers

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Reader Interactive Question:

What are your favourite Sci-Fantasy novels? What grabs you into a story like this one where the lead character is not quite human but he is altogether human-like in both his mannerisms, his thought processes, and his outlook on how he wants to live?

{SOURCES: Cover art for “King of the Mutants”, author biography, the book synopsis, the individual blog tour badge were provided by Samantha Vérant and used with permission. Book Blitz badge and the Chapter by Chapter badge were all provided by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours and used with permission. The book trailer for “King of the Mutants” via Samantha Vérant had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Sci Fi Month badge created by Jorie in Canva. Sci Fi Readathon hosted by The Nerdy Journalist badge created by Jorie in Canva. Photo credit: Has Bonk (Public Domain Image via UnSplash)}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

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Posted Wednesday, 5 November, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Bullies and the Bullied, Children's Literature, Coming-Of Age, Foster Care, Literature for Boys, Middle Grade Novel, Modern Day, Month9Books, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Realistic Fiction, Sci-Fi November, Science Fantasy, SFN Bingo, Teenage Relationships & Friendships




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