It should have been the perfect summer.
I was granted eARC access to Only a Monster by Vanessa Len via NetGalley in conjunction with the HarperCollins Canada Influencer program and #FrenzyPresents. Thank you for the opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
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About the Book
Only a Monster
Monsters Book One
by Vanessa Len
Publishing 22 February 2022
Genre: YA Paranormal Urban Fantasy
Page Count: 416
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.
It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.
But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.
As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story…
…she is not the hero.
My Rating: 5 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads
Only a Monster is a breath of fresh air in the YA Horror landscape! This is a plot I’ve never seen done before and the prose is beautiful. Joan is a 16 year old history nerd about to go on her first date with a fellow museum volunteer (am I reading about my own 10th grade summer?!) but it’s all about to go horribly wrong. Joan is half-human, half-monster, and the monster half of her family has neglected to explain her heritage to her because she didn’t think she had any monstrous powers. Oops.
Enter a world where monsters hiding in plain sight, looking entirely human, steal time from unsuspecting humans in order to jump through time. Each monster family, each magical lineage, has their own secondary power, and Joan’s family are talented thieves. Unfortunately for Joan, she’s about to become tangled up in a timewar to save all of monsterkind and the guy showing her the ropes about her time travel ability in this trial by fire is the heir to her family’s most hated rival family. And then there’s the sticky situation with that cute boy she wanted to date: he’s the prophesied monster slayer, human-born to kill their kind, and he’s disrupting the true timeline.
Oh my goodness! This book was an adventure and a half and I was very reluctant to put it down for sleep. I needed to know how it ended! I won’t say this is going to be my favourite book of 2022 because it’s only February but it’s going to be on the top 20 list for sure. (If top 20 doesn’t sound like much, keep in mind that my Goodreads challenge goal for the year is currently set at 250 and I’m ahead of schedule.)
I love this time travelling version of vampire-like monsters that Vanessa Len has created, and all of the primary cast! Even the “bad guys” are compelling, interesting, and not entirely hateable. The mystery and suspense elements are so well done, and although some things were easy to see coming a little before they happened, I didn’t ever feel like the surprise had been spoiled or that the mystery wasn’t mysterious enough. This is all very well written.
The will they, won’t they of the forbidden romance between Joan and Nick is heartbreaking! This is one of those stories where you completely understand why the love is forbidden, why they can’t be together, but you don’t care and you’re rooting for them to somehow find a way to make it work right up until the very end.
On the topic of love, there’s absolutely beautiful LGBTQIA+ representation here! One of the side characters is a man in love who has made every single decision over the last couple of decades with a single goal in mind: rescuing the man he loves.
I’m so glad that this is clearly already labelled as a book one because I can’t wait to continue reading this series!
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