Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Review: Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly

Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Series: Monstrous #1 (companion novel/series)
Genre: Fantasy
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The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.

Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.

Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre. 

And what he knows will change Kym’s life.

I take off into the air, claws drawn, tail poised to strike. I hate this man more than anything. He hurt Ren. He wants to hurt my real father. My sister, my friends. He wants to hurt my city.

This is a lovely book.

Kym is such a prize of a main character. She starts out kind of frustrating, I admit. She's naïve - and, no, I don't think that's just because she has no memories. She's strong physically, but mentally and emotionally she's a child. And then, around the halfway point, the most wonderful thing happens.

She starts to grow and develop.

In truth, this is analogous of the book itself, too.

The first sixty pages, I was left piecing things together, but by then, I'd figured everything out. (And, yes, the 'reveals' confirmed I was right.) For the next two hundred pages I was left tapping my fingers with impatience wondering when Kym would catch on. Those pages were not, I tell you, easy to get through. They were frustrating.

She did catch on though, around the halfway point, and that's when the story took off. The plot and the characters both get a much needed infusion of energy and things start getting very fun around that point.

Kym starts learning the truth, piecing things together and she begins to develop inner strength to go with her much vaunted physical abilities.

The other characters are all compelling - special mention must be made of the wonderful Greta and the adorable dragon, Batu - but make no mistake, this is Kym's story. The other characters are supporting and/or backdrop. But I cannot stress strongly enough the beautiful development she goes through.

All the problems I had in the first half of the book were addressed very well by the second half - mainly the issue that Kym is the only non-plot-device girl in the first half. That's addressed with a vengeance in the second half. Also, there was the problem that I felt the author telegraphed the 'twist' way too well and way too early on.

In the second half, there is some recrimination (their own and others) towards one of the characters for not catching on.

However, this feeling I had of making the twist too obvious might be partially because I'm a bit older than the intended demographic.

This book says it's for ages 8-12 and is a middle grade novel. I definitely see this book having a lot of crossover appeal - and, honestly, I think eight might be a little young. (But I'm terrible at that sort of stuff. All I know is that I would have hated it at eight.)

It's written in a slightly simplistic manner - I do feel the MG rating in things like word choices and description - but this book pulls no punches. There is death and blood and some fairly horrific things dealt with. (Seriously, there's talk about it being akin to Frankenstein, what did you expect.)

I'd also like to address the fact that there is a touch of romance in this book. The main character is thirteen and I do believe she has a crush on a boy. The word 'love' was even attached to it by here. However, and this is subjective but very important, I don't think she was in love with him. Yes, I see she loved him, but at this point, I got the feeling that she loved him as a friend and possibly could have eventually felt more. (Especially if circumstances had been different.)

This book might be for children, but it's not a childish in the least. I recommend this book to anyone - especially young girls - who wants a story about a strong young lady - who even gets to rescue the boy.