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Monsters Review

40060754 Monsters by Sharon Dogar

Rating: XXX

Published February 7th by Anderson Press

“I am Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley” she says aloud. “I am each of those names and I am myself.”

1814: Mary Godwin, the sixteen-year-old daughter of radical socialist and feminist writers, runs away with a dangerously charming young poet – Percy Bysshe Shelley. From there, the two young lovers travel a Europe in the throes of revolutionary change, through high and low society, tragedy and passion, where they will be drawn into the orbit of the mad and bad Lord Byron.
But Mary and Percy are not alone: they bring Jane, Mary’s young step-sister. And she knows the biggest secrets of them all . . .

Told from Mary and Jane’s perspectives, Monsters is a novel about radical ideas, rule-breaking love, dangerous Romantics, and the creation of the greatest Gothic novel of them all: Frankenstein.

I hate to admit, I’ve never read Frankenstein, I have a nice copy ready and waiting to be read but as someone who tends to read based on my mood quite often I’ve just never found myself with a huge desire to read it, I’ll admit I also tend to steer clear of reading “classics” for whatever reason that I’ve not discovered myself yet. I have found myself curious about its author though, a young girl who essentially created the horror genre and this is why when I heard about a YA retelling of the life of that author I decided to give it a go. This review is as spoiler-free as I can make it but with the life of an important and popular figure like Mary Shelley, there are a few things that are already well known.

First off I would like to say that Monsters is well written and the language flows well, with the age of the characters and the time period I wasn’t sure I would be especially comfortable with the language but I was pleased to find it didn’t hinder me at all and if anything really added to the feel of the piece instead of being too distracting which I have found to be the case with other books written in this time period.

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I found this read difficult because although I don’t in any way disagree with the idea of polyamorous relationships or free love when approached in a proper, consenting adult way but I found the way it was addressed by the main characters to be extremely uncomfortable. This may be because of their age but I think most of it came down to the fact that they all seemed to look at in vastly different ways when to me, the most important part of this kind of relationships is to make sure that everyone is on the same page and it didn’t feel like that was happening here. To me, Shelley just seemed to use his radical beliefs as an excuse to run out on his responsibilities where possible and change lovers because he was bored. I understand not wanting to be tied down by marriage and the idea of loving or being attracted to more than one person, even at the same time but this requires a lot more communication than he ever seems to do other than holding his “beliefs” up as a shield when he gets caught out. Mary came across as jealous and not agreeing to the ideals she seems to have romanticised to the extreme and more interested in the feminist side of the ideals being that a woman isn’t held down by marriage and doesn’t become a belonging of the man she loves but honestly it rather felt like this happened to her anyway. Her stepsister Jane, later Clare, I feel was the true believer and actually at some points had the best understanding of what it means to be polyamorous with the only jealousy she feels being more to do with the fact that everyone gets pushed to the side when Mary is involved than with the ideals. Despite seeming a little unbearable to begin with became a favourite character of mine and one of the viewpoints I enjoyed reading the most.

I hadn’t realised how much of a tragic life Mary Shelley led and although this book only goes so far as the finishing of Mary writing Frankenstein there is an afterword at the end which explains what the fate of each of the characters was to be. There are some truly dark moments in this book that are written so especially well that they can really pull you down to a dark place so please be aware of trigger warnings for infant death and suicide. This is a hard book for me to describe and review, its certainly a poignoint, thought-provoking and moving book that brought me to tears a number of times,  with great pacing with characters who are immensely complex but it wasn’t enjoyable for me in the way a lot of books are, I enjoy books with some angst and darker themes at times but I think this might have been a bit too real for me personally. Its certainly an incredible read that I think definitely merits attention but I think it should be something that maybe isn’t an impulse buy and that needs to be thought through before reading because this isn’t a love story in the way it first sounds, it’s a story of passion yes but also of pain and fear and loss which I think can be a little overpowering for some, certainly for me.

Thank you so very much to Anderson Press for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

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spoiler free, tbr thursday

TBR Thursday – Janurary

The very first Thursday of the year has arrived and thus the first of January, this means it’s time for my monthly (when I remember) TBR post! I’ve had so much to read lately and there are still so many great books coming out this year that I’ve upped my Goodreads reading challenge goal from fifty to sixty for 2019 and I’m feeling pretty confident I’ll easily smash that. As for this month, I’ve got a couple of my highly anticipated books to read, a future release and a recommended title before I start to dig into my ever mounting physical TBR pile that I’ve been meaning to get to for the whole of last year! Let’s take it easy and just start with January for now though shall we?

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A Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
This is my current read and I’m having to listen to most of it via Audiobook because it’s just so huge and heavy it feels impossible to read physically. James Masters is a brilliant narrator and there have been some absolutely brilliant scenes but so far there is A LOT of filler and I can’t believe I’m saying it but I’m so done with the over the top teen angst right now and I literally live for books full of it normally, not to mention the crazy amount of sexual tension but it just feels so overdone in this book that I’ve already had to take a couple of breaks from it. I would really like to get it finished this month if possible.

Monsters by Sharon Dogar
This is a Young Adult fictionalising of the early life of sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein from Anderson Press. I was lucky enough to receive a proof for this book due out in February 2019 and have just started to read this book that I think sounds very promising and from what I’ve read so far I’m sure will keep me enthralled. 

The Wicked King by Holly Black
I’m so excited to be back with my favourite trash ship Jude and Cardan this year despite feeling like one of the only people to have not already read the sequel to The Cruel Prince. The first folk of the air book completely blew me away and I have high hopes for its successor, with less than a week to go however I’m cursing the fact that I forgot to preorder it though so this may end up being a kindle read until I can afford to get to a town with a bookshop or it comes back online at Waterstones or Amazon!

A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
I’ve technically read almost the whole of this book already after I devoured my beautiful advanced reading copy I was lucky enough to win at YALC. Electronic Monkey were super clever and tore the last few chapters out of the ARCS so we had to contact them to have access to those last few chapters which I’ve done and although I received them last year and promised myself I would read them as a reward for finishing NaNoWriMo things have just been too hectic but this month I’m determined to finish it ready to read the finished copy when it releases May 2nd!

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A Boy made of Blocks by Keith Stuart
This book was actually a gift from Nate’s childminder and although at first glance it is nowhere near my kind of book she recommended it to me after reading it herself and it turns out it’s about a little autistic boy who loves to play Minecraft. As me and Chris have always enjoyed Minecraft and now Nate is rather obsessed with it I knew this was something I had to read and like with Monsters I have started it already although I’ve only made a small amount of progress as I feel like I need to be in the right frame of mind to read it as it can feel a little emotionally heavy and perhaps a little close to home for me and I’m sure it’ll rip my heart out so I’m taking it slowly between my other reads for the time being.

As you can see there’s a nice bit of variety mixed in but sadly no Sci-Fi unless I get stupid lucky and Rock The Boat accept a blood sacrifice for an advanced copy of Aurora Rising then of course all of these other books get thrown out of the (not literal) window until that’s done, I’m actually thinking of focusing purely on some science fiction reads next month so I’ve kept it out of my TBR this month before I become utterly obsessed in spaceships again next month. Let me know if you’ve read any of the books on my TBR and if you liked them? What are you most excited to read this month?