I’ve been seeing more urban fantasies of monstrous creatures and dark cities coming out and I have to say, I am here for it.
Only A Monster by Vanessa Len is looking to be one of the Big Name releases for 2022 and I was very keen to get my hands on it. (Also the cover is such dark whimsy 😙👌🏻) It promised a hero x monster romance, time travelling, antiheroes, and powerful families with dark powers. And I am excited seeing Australian-based authors go far too!
The story follows Joan Chang-Hunt as she spends the holidays with her grandma’s family in London. Part human, part monster, Joan has a severe disconnect with her monster-side. She knows about being a monster (the book starts with a prologue of a young-Joan being told the weight of the monster secrets needs to stay hidden as she performs her first piece of magic) but she doesn’t really understand what it means. Until, as a teen, she accidentally steals time from a human and travels. Then the truth hits hard — monsters drain years (and life) from humans in order to travel to any era they please, popping in and out of centuries for pleasure and fun. Joan is a pretty Straight Laced Do-Gooder and is horrified. But her introduction to the monster world takes a pretty steep learning dive when she’s attacked by the terrible Oliver family — and protected by her human boyfriend.
Who turns out to be the fated Hero of all the monster family’s legends. The Hero who is going to kill them all. So basically — Joan chose the wrong person to have a crush on.
The story dives straight into an on-the-run plot line as Joan escapes the monster massacre with the help of Aaron Oliver (nemesis of her family!!) I actually expected them to fall in love? 😂 But they were more antagonistic frenemies, slowly gaining trust and friendship, as Joan tries to find a way to go to the past and warn their families of the incoming massacre.
It did leave me with a lot of questions, like why are the Olivers and Hunts enemies? Hopefully the sequel has aaaall the answers 🙌🏻 I did expect it to be a darker, but it’s definitely a good start for YA readers looking to try urban fantasy.
Fast-paced, time-travelling, enemies-to-lovers and star-crossed romances, with a girl battling her monstrous side as she tries to save her family — this is the perfect read for fans of This Savage Song and Shadowhunters.
“You’re a hero and I’m a monster,” she whispered. “There’s only one way that story ever ends.”
Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy!
Title: Only A Monster (#1)
Author: Vanessa Len
Date Published: February 2022
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Purchase: Book Depository, Blackwells, Dymocks
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Don’t forget the rule. No one can know what you are. What we are. You must never tell anyone about monsters.
Only a monster would kill a hero. Right?
Every family has its secrets, but the summer Joan Chang-Hunt goes to stay with her Gran in London, she learns hers is bigger than most. The Hunts are one of twelve families in London with terrifying, hidden powers.
Joan is half-monster. And what’s more, her summer crush Nick isn’t just a cute boy – he’s hiding a secret as well; a secret that places Joan in terrible danger.
When the monsters of London are attacked, Joan is forced on the run with the ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family who are sworn enemies of her own. Joan is drawn deeper into a world that simmers with hostilities, alliances and secrets. And her rare and dangerous power means she’s being hunted. 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.