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.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Brilliant. That is this book, described in one word. My longer review goes as follows.
MONSTROUS is one of the most unique, most beautifully and simply written books I’ve read in a long time–on par with books I’ve reviewed on here such as The Fourteenth Goldfish by middle-grade veteran Jennifer L. Holm and All Four Stars, another amazing debut from author Tara Dairman.
I don’t even know how to start with this story, always a good thing, like this case, or a very bad thing. But let’s start with the cover and blurb. From the very beginning, I thought there was something incredibly appealing and a little odd about the cover of MONSTROUS. Then there are keywords in the blurb and rave praise on the cover like storytelling alchemy, wizard and bolts–things that always draw my interest.
Then there are the opening pages. This story is simply told. It’s not simple enough to draw the reaction well, this is the way people who don’t read MG perceive MG, but it’s simple in a way that can be defined as nothing other than oddly appealing. I loved the descriptions to this story and how Connelly shows off her story in the best possible ways, with characters you can come to care for and a world that is to die for. The suspense builds up perfectly for this kind of book, executed with expert skill. Things set up relatively quickly, making it so you don’t get bored of this seemingly cute little book, before diving into all the really juicy stuff.
I really don’t know what to say other than if you are a middle-grade fiction fan, adventure/fantasy fan, smart fiction fan or a lover of Frankenstein, you need to have this book in your life. Readers will just fall in love with the characters, the world and the plot twists that kept me guessing right up until the very end. I would say I felt the ending was a little drawn out, but other than that I loved this book and, in the words of A Snicker of Magic author Natalie Lloyd, MONSTROUS is truly “a dazzling and unique once-upon-a-time about a girl who is part dragon, part bird, part cat, all hero.” 4.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 420