Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty was monstrously magnificent and fan(g)tastically fun! (puns intended)

Title: Darkmouth
Series: Darkmouth #1
Author: Shane Hegarty
Pages: 403 Pages, Paperback
Publication: January 15th 2015, Harper Collins Children's Books
Source: Thank you to Harper Collins Children's for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! 
Rating: 4/5 cupcakes!
There are towns where the border between our world and the world of monsters - properly called Legends - is thin. One of those towns is Darkmouth. 
There, our hero Finn is the son of the last remaining Legend Hunter - which means that one day soon he will be the last remaining Legend Hunter. 
Except he's a bit rubbish at it. And in a spectacularly unfortunate coincidence, the terrifying leader of the monsters is in the midst of planning an all out attack on earth... in Darkmouth.

When I read the blurb for this book, I had a hunch that I was going to love it and have a heck of a time reading it...and guess what? I WAS RIGHT. Darkmouth was outrageously funny and 100% thrilling. It was filled with hilarious, lovable characters, cracking dialogue and a gripping storyline. It's monster mayhem at its finest and it had me gripped in its claws from the very first page.

Darkmouth is about twelve-year-old Finn who loves animals and wants to be a vet...but who is instead spending his time training to be a Legend Hunter in order to save his village from the monsters (Legends) that have a tendency to run rampage around his town. Between training to become a full-time Legend Hunter like his father and trying not to die in the process, making friends with the new girl Emmie who is decidedly secretive about her and her father's business in Darkmouth...Finn has his hands full. And then of course there's the small matter of the Legends plotting a war against humanity in Darkmouth itself, but no biggie, right?

OKAY, so I loved pretty much everything about this book and I'm so excited to read the rest of the series. From the very first page, I knew I was going to love it. Why is that might you ask? Well, I love the way the author writes and I have a feeling that many middle-graders, teens and adults alike will love the writing. It's inviting, it flows smoothly and it has a magical kind of characteristic about it that makes the words come to life. 

After I had been enchanted by the writing, I was enchanted by the main character and all the other varying characters that pop up throughout Darkmouth. Finn is a precious cinnamon roll that needs to be protected at all costs and I LOVE him. He's not your typical hero that falls into the So Perfect I'm Practically Not Human category that a lot of fictional heroes fall into. He's not particularly good at wielding a Desiccator and he's not the most adept at fighting off a Legend, but he does try super hard so A+ for effort, right? There's also this inward struggle that wages inside Finn which was quite touching to see and it also helped define him as a three-dimensional character. He really wants to be a vet and help animals...but he also wants to be a Legend Hunter to please his father. I think there comes a point in every child's life where they want to do a certain thing but they also want to please their parents and those two things don't always go hand-in-hand and I really enjoyed that that aspect was explored. It gave the book a tender, more personal aspect which I liked.

The other characters were wonderful as well! I loved Emmie, Finn's new-found friend. She's curious and she talks a lot (girl, same) and she's an adorable character. Her and Finn's friendship was slightly rocky in this book which is understandable given the circumstances but I'm hoping to really see their friendship develop in the next few books! I also ADORED Broonie, the one Legend that featured quite heavily in this book. He reminded me of Dobby, just sassier, and I'm hoping he'll be a part of the sequels.

Another thing I really loved about this book was that Finn's parents were alive and heavily involved in his life. YA – and some middle-grade novels – have a tendency to most have parents that are either a) dead, b) completely absent or c) utterly horrible which makes no sense to me BUT Darkmouth didn't fall into that category – small mercies! I absolutely loved Finn's mother and Finn's relationship with her. He asked his mom for advice and was inspired by her and IT WAS ADORABLE. Finn's dad could be hilarious at times but sometimes I wanted to shake him for being so disappointed in my precious Finn who is gentle and caring and not particularly agile at fighting and doing Legend Hunter things. His dad put quite a lot of pressure on him to succeed and I thought it was great that the author included this aspect into the story as it's something a lot of kids might be able to relate to. I hope that by the end of the series Finn will listen to his heart and that his dad will support him with that.

The plot in this book was non-stop fun as well! There were several twists and turns and towards the end there may have been a few instances where I was gripping the book slightly too hard because it was intense, man. I absolutely loved that this book was able to surprise me and shock me and keep me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I also adored the concept of this book. Like, monsters appearing through doorways in certain villages and needing Legend hunters to fight them off before they wreak havoc like eating people and stuff – doesn't that intrigue you?? IT INTRIGUES ME.

One last thing I absolutely LOVED about this book - and which was probably my favourite thing about Darkmouth - was the humour. Guys, I snorted and giggled so many times throughout this book. Finn was super sassy and sarcastic, his dad could be hilarious too and the banter between all the characters was utterly brilliant! One thing that I've found in a lot of the books I've read is the dialogue is often stilted and awkward but thankfully Shane Hegarty is brilliant at crafting excellent conversations between the characters. There were touching conversations, heated conversations, many hilarious conversations...and they were all done brilliantly.

Darkmouth is an incredible start to what I'm sure is going to be an incredible series! With lovable characters, hilarious one-liners, monsters and mayhem, Darkmouth contains so many marvellous elements that makes it a book that's very easy to fall in love with. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the sequels!

I give it: 4/5 cupcakes