Mutation (Marty and Grace #4)

Mutation Book Cover Mutation
Marty and Grace
Roland Smith
Young Adult
Scholastic Press
September 30, 2014

Monsters of legend come to life! The final thrilling title in Roland Smith's popular series.

Marty and his best friend, Luther, have managed to rescue Marty's cousin Grace from the clutches of the nefarious pseudo-naturalist Noah Blackwood, but their most dangerous mission lies ahead of them. Marty's parents have been missing in Brazil for months and their trail has all but run cold. With time running out, Marty and the Cryptos Island crew race off for Brazil -- where they discover that Noah Blackwood has twisted the natural order of things beyond their wildest, most terrifying dreams.


Note: This review will contain spoiler for the previous three books in the series (plus some of Smith’s other works).

Mutation is the culmination of three different stories by Roland Smith. First off is the previous Marty and Grace books, obviously. Dylan, who started off in Sasquatch, returns here as well. And Mutation brings in Jake Lansa and his parents from their series as well. Going into this one I did not know to read the Jake Lansa books beforehand, but you can tell they come in from another story. They are too fleshed out from the get-go to be brand new characters. And there is a little summary at the beginning of the book to give readers a refresher.

Everything across seven other books has led to the story here in Mutation. Marty’s parents have been missing since the beginning of Cryptid Hunters and it is time to finally find them. But of course, it will not be easy, not if Noah Blackwood has anything to say about it. With the dinosaurs still in his clutches, Marty’s parents are not the only ones who need saving. Chupacabra showed us how cruel and terrible Noah can be while Mutation delves into why. His origins felt a bit cliché but overall it works and fits well in a Young Adult series.

Despite being in the Marty and Grace series, Mutation does not focus on Marty and Grace as much as the previous three books. With former leading protagonists from other books in here as well, that is understandable. But it made it harder than necessary to focus on the good guys part of the story. Having Dylan and Jake along to help is fine, but their stories were wrapped up in their own books. Since this series was started with Marty and Grace, it should end with them as well. Writing former main characters as side characters can be difficult and awkward, but sometimes it needs to be done.

The story also has the characters in groups, so there is a bit of backtracking so that after we see what Group A was up to we can see what Groups B and C were up to at the same time. These little gripes are enough to make me say that Chupacabra was the high-point of this series, but this being the grand finale gets Mutation a solid score for second place.

April 22, 2018

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