A great review that I was so happy to read for Monster’s Children.
Full text included below. You can also find it on Twitter at the link above.
“When I first began to read because of our previous interactions, I found myself wanting to immediately understand all the symbolism, motifs, and themes. I was having trouble letting the story simply “happen” to me and not be distracted by any preconceived notions or expectations. This didn’t last too long however and as I began to ease into the narrative one of the first lasting impressions the work made on me was via the interactions of the warriors. The “school friends” vibe Jamie and the team create from their initial introduction, to their first shared classes, to their first fight scene, filled me with a sort of giddy nostalgia. I couldn’t help comparing them to other such eclectic teams, such as those I found throughout the Final Fantasy series (a game I adored), so the first 100 pages of the book felt magical as cliche as that may sound.
I enjoyed your use of dramatic tension throughout the book.
“What does make us special?”
….”You saw us all and didn’t figure it out?”
“You Must learn your duty”
I had to walk away from my computer during several conversations and dramatic beats such as the forementioned. I was desperate to know the secret. They’re what?! Wizards, Animorphs?, Aliens? What!?
I learned from your use of description as characterization such as with your detailing of Jamie’s bedroom canvas. I spent much longer than I care to admit thinking of what it must say about her. “Blood on a bed of snow surrounded by night.” The book in general is full of some amazing one liners and imagery: “Their beautiful connection was killing them all”, ….a star being to fall…she could hear it scream”,
I particularly enjoyed your use of the colors scheme black and red.
“A black and red sweater”. It’s a great color scheme. Great.
Likewise I found your metaphors to be evocative; particularly the likening Hempel to a blizzard. As someone not familiar with snow, and whose only seen the mountains once, I wondered if I was even capable of such a comparison.
I enjoyed the action but felt some of it was hard to follow.
Experiencing Jamie’s world as it shifts was invigorating; I likened it to what she must feel when she wears her neckless or being given the sword. I did find myself wanting to know more about her relationship to her family. The father’s lines and overall characterization left me feeling a bit wanting. His gruffness is a familiar one but I’m hoping to see a bit of a softer side to him in the future.
The mythology of the Tricksters is very alluring and even feels subversive given the western tradition of prescribing the title of “devil” to indigenous deities. This story really felt like a push back against that. Most of this book in fact felt like a conversation. On one hand, the story could be taken simply as entertainment. But throughout the book, as I mentioned before, I found myself obsessing over the symbols and “deeper” meaning of the text.
I’ve very interested in seeing where the rest of this conversation goes and I thank you for starting it!
More Hempel! Please!?”
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