- Author: Padraig Kenney
- Illustrator: Edward Bettison
- Series: Monsters of Rookhaven #1
- Genre: Fantasy
- No. of pages: 336
- Dates read: 04.10.21 – 10.10.21
- Star Rating: 4 stars
Plot: Mirabelle has always known she is a monster. When the glamour protecting her unusual family from the human world is torn and an orphaned brother and sister stumble upon Rookhaven, Mirabelle soon discovers that friendship can be found in the outside world. But as something far more sinister comes to threaten them all, it quickly becomes clear that the true monsters aren’t necessarily the ones you can see.
So, this book was probably a book I would most likely not read, due to the age range, but since starting my new role as a bookseller I have been trying to branch out more especially in the lead up to Christmas when people will be wanting recommendations for their children/grandchildren/friends etc. My store had highlighted this novel as a must read book for the month as it had recently come out in paperback so I decided to give it a go.
I want to start off and say this book is targeted for 9-12 year old readers. Now I don’t really remember much from when I was 9 years old but I remember being an avid reader. When I read this novel 1. it was super engaging and easy to read but 2. I was shocked by some of the more gorier detail of the story. I am not sure if 9 year old me would have read it. To me this book is a mixture of The Addams Family meets Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and while I wouldn’t say any of the more graphic details were awful or offensive I was just shocked that a book targeted to that age range would include some of those details. Because of that I would say this book is more of the 11+ age range.
The writing as a whole was really solid. I didn’t have any complaints, I enjoyed reading the story and I loved the multiple POVs.
I really enjoyed the plot. But I will be honest and say I wasn’t really sure where the story was going once I got halfway through it. I did feel that the sinister element of the novel, which was only introduced about 3/4 of the way into the novel, should have been brought forward as I was feeling super lost in regards to the progress of the story. I felt that the beginning was super engaging and the ending was amazing it was just the middle section of the story that lulled for me. One other thing I will say is it took me sometime to realise it was set during the aftermath of the 2nd World War. I kept on seeing loads of references to war and I was confused which World War it was. It wasn’t stated very plainly which might have been helpful.
The characters in this novel were really varied. Mirabelle was one of my favourite characters. I loved her determination, her kindness and her ability to stand up for herself. I also really enjoyed reading from the point of view of the character Freddie who was dealing with the loss of his older brother who died during the war. The exploration of grief to me was one of the highlights of the novel I thought it was handled really well and it wasn’t depicted as simple emotions but super complicated emotions that can be contradicting at times.
One of the elements of the novel I wished was explored further was the world of “The Family”. I wanted to learn more about them, I wanted to learn more about where they come from etc. I felt that it was teased a lot and I needed more. I wanted to know everything as it was so interesting to read about.
My final point is praise the illustrations of this novel. I loved them so much. I loved illustrations in general and these illustrations just amplified the creepy and gothic nature of this novel. Especially for the character Piglet’s chapters, I felt like I was being sucked into the novel due to those drawings. I think a lot of my enjoyment is down to the love of the illustrations.
The next book I will be reviewing is an ARC of a new YA novel which is giving very strong Hunger Games meets Caraval vibes called All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman.