I love reading fairytale reimaginings. Even though the author is using source material from someone else, the craft that it takes to change that story and make it new is always interesting. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I like it even better when an author will tackle something outside of the norm, such as this retelling of the Frankenstein story. If you are a fan of the original work, I don’t think you will be disappointed by Monstrous.
Synopsis: When girls from the neighbouring town of Bryre start to get sick because of an evil wizard, Kymera and her father set out to save them. Each night Kymera sneaks into town to save another girl, but she has to stay out of sight because she isn’t like other children… her father built her to be something more, something special. He’s afraid that if someone in town sees her that they will try to hurt her, but Kymera is getting tired of hiding in the shadows. A chance encounter with someone from the town makes her wonder if maybe her father is being overprotective, because this boy seems nice and kind… but maybe that’s only because he hasn’t seen her in the light.
You can’t help but feel sad for Kymera as she learns how different she is from other children. She has all these great things about her that make her unique, but they also make her different and scary. She’s a very sweet and innocent character, who only wishes to make friends with the children she has met. When some of the girls she has saved treat her poorly, I was just as upset as she was about it.
“Father says I’m perfect, but would a prince agree if he knew what I was made of? Would he value me for the usefulness of my parts, or for the contents of my heart? Or would he only value me as a prize to slay the monsters in the story?”
From the beginning of the story I knew that I didn’t like Kymera’s father. He says all the right things, and seems to treat Kymera well, but there was something off about him from the start. As an adult reader, I’m always skeptical of characters who throw around the “I’m so misunderstood” card. There’s usually a good reason why all the supporting characters finds that character creepy and weird, even if they are creepy and weird in a nice way.
One of my favourite moments in the book is when Kymera finally meets another magical creature and realizes she isn’t alone. It’s a really sweet moment, but I was surprised that it didn’t play a big a roll in the overall plot. It ended up feeling very tacked on and lacking resolution. Here’s this magical creature that could potentially be a huge game changer for the whole story, and it basically just sits there doing nothing.
I have to say, the ending was not what I was expecting at all. For any parents who are thinking of giving this to their kid, I recommend reading it yourself before handing it over, or just recalling how the original source material (ie, Frankenstein) ends. The innocence of the cover art and the sweet characters lull you into thinking that this is going to be a Disney style ending. Do not be fooled, this is a true fairytale, wrapped up in a pretty pink dress.
Overall, the book was a fun, quick read with interesting characters and a good message. I’m definitely curious to see where the author takes this series next. Ravenous looks like a spin on Dracula, but as with this book, I’m sure it will take a turn I don’t expect.
Have you read this book? Were you surprised by the ending too?