It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.
But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.
As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .
. . . she is not the hero.
Title: Only a Monster (Monsters, #1)
Author: Vanessa Len
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
I thought this book was going to change my life. I was ready to cry and rage over this book until I ran myself ragged. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case at all…This book was one of the biggest disappointments of my 2022 reading career. It was surprisingly boring, lacking in character development and emotion, and didn’t explain the unique and interesting world in which it takes place. Let me break these down for you.
1. Boring. So boring that I considered quitting this book at multiple different points throughout the book including 70% in. There were moments of action, but somehow, they weren’t pulling me in.
2. Lacking in lots of character things. In general, I didn’t see any character development. This is only the first book in a trilogy, but I still expected something. We got a glimpse of a little thing from a side character (which was honestly my favorite part of the whole book), but not near what was needed.
Joan, our main character, was not my favorite. She took everyone’s words for face value and tried to run away every single time someone told her something she didn’t like. Literally, every time. Because of that, we hardly got any answers to things we needed to know about the world (see complaint 4). Joan didn’t have any internal monologues or internal battles about things. She just impulsively acted and didn’t work through anything with us, the reader. It was super annoying and made me feel disconnected from the character and like I was a spectator in the story. Honestly, I’m not convinced Joan even had a personality.
3. Also, I partially blame Joan for the lack of emotional investment I had in this story. There were romantic, and sad, and frustrating things happening, but I wasn’t really feeling them. The most heartwrenching bit of this whole book was Tom and Jamie and they weren’t even a major plot line.
4. The lack of explanation. Joan didn’t have any answers about the world she was being thrust into so neither did we. That’s fine. I expected that. I was about halfway through the book when I realized I still didn’t understand the world or have answers about it. Here’s what I wish would have happened. Joan kept asking how to fix things even though she didn’t even understand what needed to be fixed. She didn’t anything about the monster world. Fine. I wish she would have let Aaron or someone, literally anyone, explain the world so that way I, as the reader, would have understood a little better what was happened and would have been better invested in the plot. But freaking Joan kept running away, or jumping into things without having any idea what was happening.
To say I’m angry with this book is an understatement. That being said, the reason I didn’t give this book one star is because I kinda liked the tragic ending it gave. Also, by the end of the book I had a general idea of the world (which is a really cool and unique and interesting world) and kinda wanna learn more about it. I don’t care about Joan or anyone else. I just wanna hear more about the world.
Soooo I give this book 2.5 stars. Certainly nothing more. I am also tentatively saying that I will read book 2, but I’m not committing to it.
To check out my other reviews, click here. Or to check out more books by Vanessa Len, go to her Goodreads profile or visit her website.
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