Fiction - Short Story/Novela
96 Pages
Reviewed on 04/03/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Swanocerosman is a work of fiction in the fantasy, adventure, and short story subgenres. It is best suited to the general reading audience because it contains scenes of animalistic violence. Penned by author Joseph Mondrella, this truly whimsical tale offers readers an adventure brimming with surreal imagery and poetic flair. In this narrative, wildness is celebrated, and the absurdities of life are embraced with gusto. The story meanders through fantastical landscapes, where snails, bumblebees, puddles, and trees coexist in a vibrant tapestry of existence. Mortality is a mere footnote in this wild world, where the norm is to go to crazy lengths in pursuit of life's pleasures.

Author Joseph Mondrella has crafted a fascinating novella that feels like dipping one’s toe into a bold fever dream of a world, and coming back out desperate for more. Through lyrical prose and vivid descriptions, the author paints a picture of a universe where even the most ordinary things take on extraordinary dimensions. I was most impressed by the use of imagery, connotation, and atmospheric lexis to set such conflicting moods and emotions that turn on a hairpin to give huge dramatic shifts. The narrative unfolds like a surreal dream, filled with unexpected twists and turns that are sure to keep readers engaged and delighted, yet there’s a strong central through-line that does build to a very satisfying closing point for this first glimpse of Mondrella’s new reality. Overall, Swanocerosman is a captivating journey into the realm of imagination, where the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur, and the wonders of the natural world are celebrated in all their eccentric glory. I would not hesitate to recommend it to fans of surreal fantasy and metaphysical adventures everywhere.

Asher Syed

In Swanocerosman by Joseph Mondrella, Goosepotamuswoman vanishes after an encounter with the Dragoneaglephant, prompting Swanocerosman and his ligergiraffe to embark on a journey to find them and safeguard their unborn offspring. Facing hunger, predators, and treacherous weather, they rely on allies, instinct, and resilience to survive in a world where danger lurks at every turn. Malevolent forces influence the Dragoneaglephant, which is accompanied by polar ogres. Among a myriad of fantastical creatures like winged canines and venomous otterdiless, Swanocerosman and his companions continue with unwavering determination, finding solace in the aid of healing chamelemurs and unlikely allies like help from solar-powered root diggers. Liberating captive animals and vanquishing adversaries along the way, their ultimate test awaits in a final showdown against the formidable Dragoneaglephant.

It's hard to know which aspect of Swanocerosman I enjoyed more—the story itself or author Joseph Mondrella's incredibly creative wordplay. We've got puns, unconventional comparisons, metaphors, similes, and frequent rhyme schemes that balance humor with the adventure, giving us gems like, "he wasn’t a troublemaker; he was a bubble-breaker," and “They teamed up on some camelopes since they were in no position to track down cantaloupes.” The flip side to this is that not everyone is as patient as I am, and Mondrella's writing style will require a thoughtful reader who enjoys classical and poetic forms. There is plenty of action, and this is, at its core, a hero's journey by one who, by all accounts, does not look like a typical hero. But nothing about Mondrella's imagination appears to be typical, and that's what makes it all the more fun. Very highly recommended.

Zahid Sheikh

Swanocerosman by Joseph Mondrella is an engaging story about unique creatures. The prologue shows readers a world with amazing creatures, like a mix of dragons and elephants and a mix of lions and giraffes. The story is about Swanocerosman a hybrid creature who navigates a world filled with danger and adventure. As Swanocerosman embarks on his journey, he encounters various challenges that test his strength and character, making for an exciting and heartwarming tale. Swanocerosman and his friends explore different places, like snowy wastes, the sea, deserts, and mountains, and have to deal with tough situations. The narrative is filled with action as they use their unique abilities to overcome challenges and make their way to the summit. The story gets more exciting when they come into contact with a strong enemy called the dragoneaglephant.

Joseph Mondrella's Swanocerosman is an adventurous and creative story that shows how being friends and working together can help us overcome challenges. The story has impressive descriptions of unique hybrid creatures and places that make it feel real and interesting. The illustrations in the story are vibrant and captivating, bringing the fantastical world of Swanocerosman to life. Swanocerosman's "other half" is interesting and makes readers wonder what will happen next. The epilogue quickly ends the story, showing how working together is important and reminding everyone that Swanocerosman is the hero who defeated the enemy. This story is humorous and fun to read. I highly recommend Swanocerosman to individuals who like creative and imaginative stories that inspire them.