Katie Hale, My Name is Monster ARC book review

Dystopian, Fiction

Publisher: Canongate

Release Date: 6th June 2019

*I received a copy of this book by Canongate in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley, all thoughts are my own*

A few weeks ago I saw Canongate post about this book, saying that they had only just added it to Netgalley. I have read a few books published by Canongate (and loved them all) and thought that there would be no way I’d get approved because I presumed they’d only want to approve bigger bloggers. I requested it anyway as it seemed very different to what I’ve been reading lately. I knew it was a ‘last human on earth’, post-apocalypse type book, and I was really intrigued by the concept. Anyway, I got approved (clearly) and waited for like a month till Christmas so I could read it on my new Kobo e-reader.

Synopsis:

“After the Sickness has killed off her parents, and the bombs have fallen on the last safe cities, Monster emerges from the arctic vault which has kept her alive. When she washes up on the coast of Scotland, everyone she knows is dead, and she believes she is alone in an empty world.

Monster begins the long walk south, scavenging and learning the contours of this familiar land made new. Slowly, piece by piece, she begins to rebuild a life. Until, one day, she finds a girl: feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. Changing her own name to Mother, Monster names the child after herself. As young Monster learns from Mother, she also discovers her own desires, realising that she wants very different things to the woman who made, but did not create, her.

Inspired by Robinson Crusoe and FrankensteinMy Name is Monster is a novel about power, about the things that society leaves imprinted on us when the rules no longer apply, and about the strength and the danger of a mother’s love.”

Plot:

I think the surprising thing about this book is about how the plot isn’t as jam packed as you’d expect from a post-apocalyptic novel. Instead it was more about the survival of the main character Mother, so it starts off quite slow. She is walking to her parents house, on the way searching for food and shelter. You get glimpses of the past through her memories, such as how life was before the illness and her life in the vault. This book is definitely more about learning to survive, and the meaning of life after everyone is gone rather than being packed full of action. I think this makes it super interesting despite the fact it slows the book down a bit.

The book starts to speed up more when she meets a surviving child, who she also names Monster. As it becomes more about her teaching the child, and building relationships rather than just about her surviving. Once Monster was introduced, you get to see how Mother establishes power over the child despite the fact that this kind of familial structure no longer matters as society does not exist. Toward the end I read it very fast and I just couldn’t put it down.

Characters:

This book is very character driven, and is more about coping, power and relationships than it is about the actual apocalypse. I definitely prefer books like this. The book was separated into two sections, the first half was written in the perspective of Monster (senior) and the second by Monster (the child).

I think the first half was definitely interesting as Mother was quite a complex character. Rather than being a character that is super lovable and normal, she was definitely portrayed as more of an outcast and a character who you can’t really relate to. I felt like this definitely added to the book as it gave her the will to survive.

Monster’s section was more interesting section as you get to experience the world through the eyes of someone who hasn’t had experience with it. I loved her descriptions of objects, places and words she does not know. This part was written so creatively and convincingly.

Writing:

I think the writing style Katie Hale uses for this book works extremely well. It is descriptive without being over the top, and you can really imagine what the world is like after the apocalypse. It does help that it is set in the UK as well. The choice to separate the narrative between the two characters was really clever and as I said, she portrayed Monster extremely well and in such an intelligent way. I think the focus on relationships and survival makes it a much more interesting book. The only thing I didn’t like as much was that it lacked an explanation of the apocalypse, however I think this added to the mystery of the book and it might have been overkill if it had been included, but I was still super curious all the way through.

Rating: ★★★★

Overall, I really really enjoyed this book. I 100% recommended anyone to pick it up when it is released as you will find it so interesting and it is like nothing I have read before.

Molly ♥

3 thoughts on “Katie Hale, My Name is Monster ARC book review

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