I hadn't planned to buy the Monster Manual. With so many years of gaming, creating monsters of my own and other material on my shelves I figured I didn't need it. My wife knew all this and decided to buy me the one RPG book I would not buy on my own.
Such a good call!
My first impression of the book is a positive one. The art is enjoyable and the layout is familiar and easy for me to use. I especially like the collection of NPCs at the back. It's nice to have some opponents all statted out and ready to go at a moment's notice. Players have a way of taking the game outside of the prepared zone so it's a handy resource.
Thanks to my daughters waking us up at 7 am to open presents there's something of a gap between our morning and the first visit for brunch at my in-laws. In that time I've had a chance to leaf through it and put my thoughts down here.
Seeing the images, reading descriptions and statistics for all the classic monsters and some new ones as well is more fun than I expected! Each entry I land on gets my wheels turning. Thinking about how I could build an adventure around the new take on the Medusa, where the yuan-ti fit on the my world's map, how I need to change the monsters' history or habits so they fit the story of the Last World, and what WotC's ideas can add to my own.
I'll definitely write up a proper review in the new year after I read through the thing in detail and try it out at the table. Until then, have a Happy Holiday and I hope you received some RPG goodness too!