Only A Monster


I so enjoyed Only A Monster by Vanessa Len -- maybe I'm swinging back round to liking YA again, after a fallow time? Maybe I just need to be careful about the novels I choose? Anyway, Only A Monster shares some common ground with House of Hollow -- both by young Australian women authors, both set in London, both centring on young women with a secret family heritage that needs to be unravelled in a spooky Gothic atmosphere of chases down darkened streets, glamorous parties and mysterious, attractive strangers...

Only A Monster is built on a brilliant premise -- that there is a race of beings who look human, but who can steal time from human lives in order to time travel (a little like the original conception of Dr Who's Weeping Angels). These 'monsters' consist of twelve great families, each of which possess particular extra powers (like perfect memory, or the ability to hide and retrieve objects in thin air). I'd love to know more about their world and surely there will be further volumes which explore this universe more fully and wrap up some of the loose ends left dangling at the end of this novel. I should make it clear that Joan is one of the 'monsters' -- the only slight quibble I had was that I found it hard to apply this term to the super-charismatic, elegant and gifted characters who people this world!

Only A Monster is terrific, rich and atmospheric fun.

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