ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Monstrous Child
Author: Francesca Simon
Published: 22 June 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
When I was first fortunate to come across this book I must say that I was both curious and wary. I am a BIG fan of all sorts of mythologies. And when I read “sister to Fenrir the wolf” I had a feeling I knew what this novel was going to be about: Norse mythology. Yet, what really captured me was “Queen of the Dead” in the blurb. I must admit I also hoped for a retelling of Persephone and Hades but what I got was so much more.
I really shouldn’t be saying this because ‘The Monstrous Child’ stands and speaks for itself, but if you’re SUPER into the ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ series than you will also love this. Curious? Think, Percy Jackson but with a smarter, drier sense of humour and from a girl’s perspective.
People, readers, young-adult lovers, I LOVED IT! I was hooked, reeled and sunk within the first page. I loved the author’s writing style and I really shouldn’t be so surprised since the author, Francesca Simon, had attended both Yale and Harvard Universities.
I couldn’t spot any typos or spelling mistakes. The grammar and writing was SO GOOD! And the prose was even better!
‘The Monstrous Child’ is written in first person narration and follows only Hel’s point of view. I loved the dry, angry yet yearning-for-love character which the authoress painted. Hel was a very, very flawed character but as the reader gets to know her better through her recount of her…problematic…upbringing, they slowly come to enjoy the story.
I enjoyed the story yet the plot could have been worked on a little more. It is told in chronological order and this gave the novel a very smooth pace and rhythm. Everything – from small to big – was slowly revealed…which did make me drift off from time to time.
Francesca Simon’s retelling of Norse mythology was quite hilarious. She put a twist on the rarely-retold-but-often-used-by-Marvel myths and gave (what I believe) was a unique experience.
And yes, there is Loki and Thor and Odin, but they were not exactly as they appeared. If you’re not into any evil-Loki’s, Thors or Odins – well, be prepared to have your mind changed.
The novel also explored themes such as hate, love, childhood, revenge and many other things that really skyrocketed its rating for me. This added quality and value to reading ‘The Monstrous Child’ which I really appreciated. A strong recommendation from me for young-adults of twelve to fourteen years of age. But anybody over that will, no doubt, enjoy this, too.
The title was actually very misleading. I was expecting a horrendously ugly main character who was going to do some EXTREMELY gruesome and horror but it wasn’t at all like that…for the most part. There were some unpleasant bits but they weren’t full on and actually made the reading experience a lot better.
Congratulations to Francesca Simon on publishing a great first young-adult novel!
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!