Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade & Childrens
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*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.
Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.
Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.
And what he knows will change Kym’s life.
I have rather torn feelings about Monstrous. At first I started out loving it. Kym and her just being born back into life and having to adjust to her body which is made up of the various different parts of different girls and animals. She has both human and cat eyes she can interchange, claws she can retract, wings in which to fly and a long tail with a stinger end that can put people to sleep with its venom. She cannot remember anything from her former life and knows only that which her Father tells her. And he tells her that her mission is to help him save a nearby town from the evil scheming of a wizard who is determined to hurt the townspeople and to kill all of its young girls. I loved the premise but I wasn’t as enthused with the execution after I got about 25 – 30% in my interest started seriously flagging.
This has that in spades! I just couldn’t handle the fact that everything was just so predictable. Even with a middle grade novel I expect some element of surprise but everything was just much too obvious for me that the only thing that surprised me was the absolute ending (the epilogue in fact). I know this is due to the target. When I feel like I know everything that is going to happen that takes away much of the enjoyment for me. I don’t know how kids would feel about that though but I do think that many folks will still really enjoy this even with the predictability of much of it.
I expected the writing and mode of storytelling mode to be along the simpler lines so that makes the ease of reading fit the target audience. I didn’t have a problem with that at all. I thought it fit well with who the book was aimed at but then at times the simplicity of Kym’s nature and character bugged me a little because she was so young and naive feeling. It would leave me rather frustrated with her at times.
I would have loved this one so much more but as I said as I continued to read and get deeper into the novel the characters all remained so one dimensional and a bit flat. Kym was naive, Ren was overly trusting, the Wizard was Evil…etc etc I needed more depth to them that I just wasn’t getting. So as I felt they were lacking in oomph none of them ever became real to me. Which then left me without feeling any connection which then caused me to not care as much for the things that were happening to them or how they were feeling.
Monstrous was longer then I would have preferred for a middle grade novel, particularly this one because of my failure to connect with the characters. I would still recommend it for middle grade readers that enjoy a slightly darker fantasy tale. I adore the illustrated cover and wish there were illustrations such as that one throughout the book. I even did a little bit of doodled fan art!
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