Monster Problems

Vampire Misfire

Children - Adventure
185 Pages
Reviewed on 06/04/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

R.L. Ullman is the award-winning author of the EPIC ZERO and MONSTER PROBLEMS series. He creates fun, engaging page-turners that captivate the imaginations of kids and adults alike. His original, relatable characters face adventure and adversity that bring out their hidden, inner strengths. He's frequently distracted thinking up new stories and once got lost in his own neighborhood. You can learn more about what R.L. is up to at, and if you see him on your street please point him in the right direction home.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer) for Readers' Favorite

Monster Problems by R.L. Ullman is a stunning story about a young boy named Bram, who has spent most of his life in foster care. But his life changes after he runs away from a foster home and gets attacked by werewolves. Bram soon discovers that monsters are real, and that he is a vampire. He is accepted into the Van Helsing academy, where he can learn about monsters and his powers, as well as make new friends. However, he struggles to use his powers, but with the Dark Ones (the followers of Dracula) on the rise, he'd better learn really quickly. Will Bram be able to put a stop to the Dark Ones?

I absolutely loved Monster Problems by R.L. Ullman. The story is action-packed and fast-paced. The book is well-written, and I liked how it was narrated by Bram, as he has a fun take on things. The characters were all very unique and loveable, as well as great role models as they are brave and smart. The book was very exciting, and I never wanted to put it down. I was hooked by the first page. This book will keep readers wanting to know what will happen next. I liked that some of the chapter titles were puns, and the story is very entertaining and amusing. The plot contains many thrilling and suspenseful scenes that readers will love. The story is very creative, and is an intriguing new take on classic monsters. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Monster Problems, and I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

Gail Kamer

“You are the last vampire.” Imagine being told that after living twelve years thinking you were only strange. R.L. Ullman spins a monstrosity of a tale in the first book of his new series, Monster Problems. A twelve-year-old, Bram Murray, has monster problems. No, I don’t mean large, huge, big ole problems. I mean problems with monsters. Ghosts, werewolves, Big Foot-looking creatures—you get the picture. Bram is saved from werewolves by a spider-like person who takes him to The Van Helsing Academy, a school for beings with supernatural talents. Bram learns he’s part vampire and begins training. He is assigned to a group at the school who all have special talents, nicknames, and special badges identifying them as a member of that group. Bram would love to become a member of the group, but fails most vampire skill tests thrown his way. To top it off, someone is robbing graves with the intent of resurrecting Dracula. Oh, my. That would not be good!

Monster Problems by R.L. Ullman reminds me of Harry Potter with a different twist. The front cover is amazing and the chapter titles are hilarious. What a hook the first line is. Most of the chapters end with a hook that keeps the reader engaged. In addition, posters about each character are included with pictures, nicknames, and special notes. Humor is another fascinating characteristic of Monster Problems. The scene with the talking rats is hilarious and so unexpected. Unexpected, too, is what the Blood Grail turns out to be. The school motto “YOU MUST BELIEVE IN THINGS YOU CANNOT IMAGINE” must also be that of R.L. Ullman as this book is one to believe in, even though you could not have imagined it being written. If you want a fun and mysterious book, Monster Problems is for you.

Jack Magnus

Monster Problems: Vampire Misfire is an action and adventure science fiction/fantasy novel for children and preteens written by R.L. Ullman. Abraham Mathews was not having a good night. He had just been unceremoniously dumped by the police at yet another home for boys after running away from his latest group home in Arizona. The New England Home for Troubled Boys was not exactly going to be a picnic either, from what Bram could see of Mr. Glume, the Director, and his assistant, Mr. Snide, the House Manager. Bram had been shuttled in and out of foster homes and shelters since he was four years old. His parents had both died in a fire, and he had somehow survived. Now at the age of 12, no one in their right mind would consider adopting him. But it wasn’t just his age that turned prospective parents off; it was also his unnatural pallor and inability to spend very much time in the sun without burning. And there was his need to be up at night and sleeping during the day. His refusal to eat anything that wasn’t red didn’t help either. Bram figured though that the streets would be better than this dive; a judgment that seemed confirmed when they took him down into a damp and musty basement and locked him into a jail-like cell with only a crust of bread and two chubby rats for company.

R.L. Ullman’s action and adventure fantasy novel for children and preteens, Monster Problems: Vampire Misfire, is a grand romp that will thrill kids and forever-young adults alike. Bram is a natural-born hero, even if his vampiric leanings make his being adopted a non-starter. I especially liked his spirit of resilience which shines out so clearly when he alerts the authorities to the abusive practices of Glume and Snide, and his automatic take-charge attitude. And his ability to speak Rat is hilarious. Ullman’s characters are monstrous and credible all at once, and isn’t that nice? This book is packed with werewolves, a giant spider/human hybrid, and all manner of supernatural beings. There’s even a special school for them; one where Bram begins to realize his full capabilities and might qualify to become the newest member of an elite team. I had a grand time reading Monster Problems: Vampire Misfire, and I’m thrilled that it’s just the first book in Ullman’s new series. It’s most highly recommended.

Sarah Westmoreland

Bram’s a weird kid. There: I said it. But it’s not like that’s a huge reveal to anyone, least of all Bram. I mean, come on, what “normal” kid can only sleep during the day, can move with superhuman speed, gets wicked sunburns after just a few minutes outside, and can’t stomach the thought of any food that isn’t red? Between all of that and being bounced around to twenty-something foster homes in a dozen years, Bram’s pretty used to being on the outside of what’s going on around him. Not only is he used to it, he prefers it! But when Bram finds himself surrounded and attacked by some werewolves, it sets into motion a chain of events that he won’t be able to stay out of. After all, when you’re the last vampire on earth, and a vampire is the only one that can save the world, it’s pretty hard to say no!

Monster Problems by R.L. Ullman is a fun, engaging story for middle grade readers. From the very first sentence, it draws you in, and it doesn’t let go until you’ve come to the very end. The characters are well developed, and we get to meet a pretty varied cast of people (and monsters!). The story arcs nicely, and the ending leads well into a potential sequel, though it’s also perfectly complete on its own. R.L. Ullman definitely hits all the bases with this one. I can’t recommend this supernatural adventure highly enough to all middle grade monster-lovers!

Mamta Madhavan

Monster Problems: Vampire Misfire, Book One by R.L. Ullman is an entertaining story that revolves around Abraham Murray, a twelve-year-old boy called Bram by his friends. He has been in the foster system since the age of four when his parents are said to have died in a house fire. The director of his former group home does not want Bram back as she thinks he has unusual habits. She complains that he stays up all night and refuses to go to bed when the lights go off; he avoids sunlight, and only eats foods that are red in color. He has already lived with twenty foster families and no families want to keep him. Bram decides to get out of the foster home when Snide locks him up in the kid dungeon. He finds out a lot of things about himself when he escapes from his foster home and is taken to the Van Helsing Academy. It is there that he changes and learns to use the powers he has for doing good things. He gets to know the Dark Ones who want to bring Count Dracula back to life so that they can rule the world. The story is all about vampires, monsters, and spirits. Will Bram be able to help, and fight the lure of evil?

The story is fast paced with some fascinating characters and entertaining scenes, and will keep young readers glued to the pages till the very end. The author’s fluidity in expression keeps the flow of the story going and there are no dull moments as there is always something or other happening at Van Helsing Academy. The book can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and, like me, all readers will be keen to grab Book 2 to find out what is going to happen next. All the characters like Stanphibian, Invisibill, Hairball, Aura, Rage, Van Helsing, and others have been portrayed well so that they remain fresh in the minds of readers till they read the next book.