Monster Madness (Nightmare Academy Series #2)by Dean Lorey
It's the monster hunters' last chance to stop an all-out monster war!
We're under attack! The last of the mega-monsters known as the Named are fighting their way into our world, and only a mysterious being known as the Guardian can help—but the Guardian is dying. To save him, Charlie Benjamin and his friends from the Nightmare Academy must journey into/p>
It's the monster hunters' last chance to stop an all-out monster war!
We're under attack! The last of the mega-monsters known as the Named are fighting their way into our world, and only a mysterious being known as the Guardian can help—but the Guardian is dying. To save him, Charlie Benjamin and his friends from the Nightmare Academy must journey into the heart of a Hydra cave, through the spooky Bermuda Triangle graveyard, and across the treacherous, monster-filled San Diego Zoo.
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Nightmare Academy #2: Monster Madness
Final exams don't normally end in death, but Charlie Benjamin wasn't normal, and neither was the final exam he and his friends were about to take.
"Monsters, watch out!" Theodore exclaimed as he, Charlie, and Violet gathered their gear on the deck of the pirate ship at the very top of the Nightmare Academy. "Soon as this exam's over, we're gonna be Noobs no more!"
In the six months they'd been training, the gigantic banyan tree that held the Academy in its mighty branches had come to feel like home—Charlie knew every weathered plank of every wrecked boat nestled there. It had been a lot of work, of course. He'd lost count of the numerous bites and scratches he'd received from the Class-1 monsters in Beginning Banishing, and having to continually summon your deepest, darkest fears to open portals in Neophyte Nethermancy was no picnic, either.
But none of that mattered, really.
For every bad time, there were three good ones—swimming in the clear, warm ocean with Violet and Theodore; playing hide-and-seek in the Academy's crazy web of catwalks, boats, and branches; eating wild plums with sweet purple juice dripping down their chins.
It had been heaven . . . and it had all led to this moment.
"That final exam is toast!" Theodore shouted. "You just let me at those monsters and I will show you the true meaning of the words pest control! I am a walking, talking can of Raid!"
"Well, you're definitely as tall and skinny as one," Violet said with a laugh.
"And just as deadly," Theodore shot back. "I amextra-strength Raid—do not point at face, do not use near open flame, wash hands after use!"
"I'm just glad the day is finally here," Charlie said, grinning. "I feel like we've been Noobs forever."
"Because we have!" Theodore seemed as if he were in actual physical pain at the thought. "I mean, come on, we should have been promoted to Addy, like, forever ago! After all, who rescued your mom and dad from the lair of Barakkas and Verminion?"
"You're dang right, us, and on only our second day at the Academy! We are the A-Team! The Nether Squad! The Monster Mashers!"
"Okay, okay, calm down." Charlie was laughing now. "Don't worry, we're gonna get plenty of opportunity to strut our stuff tonight."
"You can say that again! I'll tell you this much, I am seriously RTR!"
"Ready to roll?" Violet asked.
"No, that would be utterly ridiculous." Theodore hated it whenever anyone guessed the meanings of his initials before he explained them. "It stands for . . ." He seemed to search for an answer—then his eyes lit up. "Really Truly Righteous!"
"You just made that up!"
But before Theodore could respond, a fiery purple portal snapped open next to them. Rex, Tabitha, and Pinch stepped through.
"Howdy, my eager little Noobs," Rex said in his thick Texas drawl, a wide grin plastered across his tanned face. He was dressed in his usual outfit of faded jeans, worn boots, and a crisp cowboy hat. A lasso was loosely looped at his hip, accompanied by a gleaming short sword. "You ready for your big final?"
"More than ready," Charlie replied. "I feel like we've been ready for forever."
"Then let's get it done. Like my daddy always said—failure is not an option."
"We are going to destroy that final!" Theodore blurted. "Utterly annihilate it! Spank it on its—"
"Asinine," Pinch interrupted, shaking his head. "All this boastfulness is just asinine."
"Nothing wrong with a little confidence, Pinch," Tabitha said, her green eyes sparkling as brilliantly as the jewels that decorated her short, red hair. "You were that eager once. Remember?"
"I try not to," Pinch replied with a sigh. "Let's just get on with it, shall we? The sooner we start, the sooner we finish, and I'd prefer not to spend my entire evening waiting for these Noobs to bumble their way to becoming Addys—that is, assuming they succeed."
"We will," Violet said, smiling. "Failure is not an option."
"I wonder where I've heard that before . . . ," Pinch muttered.
"Dunno," Rex replied. "From someone very wise, I suspect. And very handsome. And clever. And—"
Tabitha held up a finger to his lips, silencing him. "Why don't we just go get those monsters, huh?"
With a wave of her hand, she opened a portal to the Nether.
The first thing Charlie noticed when he stepped back to Earth was the smell: rot. It came from the murky water of a leaf-filled swimming pool in a courtyard surrounded by several small, run-down bungalows. Many of them were boarded up, as unused as the broken Big Wheel that lay overturned on the weedy lawn. The light from the cloud-covered moon was thin and fleeting.
"We're looking for bungalow C," Pinch said, peering into the darkness. "Ah, there it is."
He pointed to a weathered green bungalow. The yellow lamp on the wall next to the front door sputtered fitfully, casting dim, uncertain light.
"Looks kind of spooky," Violet said.
"Duh!" Theodore shot back. "That's 'cause it's full of monsters. Hello?"
"Can I punch him?"
Charlie shook his head. "He's too fragile. You might break him."
"Fragile!" Theodore roared. "Did I just have a mental spasm, or did you say the girl might break me? Because that's seriously—"
"Let's continue, shall we?" Pinch interrupted with a roll of the eyes. "This bungalow is your target and here is your panic horn." He handed Theodore a red airhorn, which looked like an aerosol spray can with a funnel at one end. "If you press the button, we will immediately come to your aid, but remember—"
Theodore pressed the button.
The horn blared so loudly that Charlie leaped backward into Violet, accidentally elbowing her in the face. "Oww!" she yelped.
"Never do that again!" Pinch commanded, clutching his heart as dogs barked angrily throughout the neighborhood. "It is to be used only in case of extreme emergency!"Nightmare Academy #2: Monster Madness. Copyright © by Dean Lorey. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
Dean Lorey is a Hollywood screenwriter whose credits include co-executive producer of the cult TV hit Arrested Development. He was inspired to write Nightmare Academy, his first series for young readers, by his personal enthusiasm for imagined worlds and video games. The first book in the trilogy, monster hunters, received the Southern California Booksellers' Award for Best Children's Novel of the Year. Dean Lorey lives in Calabasas, California, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their sons, Chris (first reader for the Nightmare Academy trilogy) and Alex (then too young to read).
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