Series: Only a Monster # 1
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.
Only a Monster was my most highly anticipated novel of 2022. Monsters and time-travel, yes please! It had one of the best taglines I’ve heard in a long time. Yet it pains me to say this but it didn’t live up to my expectations.
The world was very much like ours except monsters were in the closet. And the term ‘Monster’ was used differently than what most people would equate with the word. In the novel, Monsters were people with unique powers inherent to their family house and they had the ability to steal time from humans. For example x- amount of minutes, hours or years stolen from humans equals the same amount of time a monster can use to travel into the past or future. Depending on which family a monster is from, they also had the ability to retrieve/hide objects in time, remember all times, freeze time, strength, or had an animal familiar, etc …some of these made sense to the world, some didn’t. And like most monster novels, there’s always an opposing side…monster hunters. The magic system wasn't anything spectacular or interesting, and the plot felt all a bit cliché.
The characters were alright, I didn’t like them but I didn’t hate them either which made it hard to be invested into the story. Joan was oblivious to the fact that she was surrounded by monsters and that she was a monster herself. For the majority of the book Joan was in denial of what was occurring around her and when she had help from a boy of a rival monster family, she still kept finding excuses to feed her denial. I found it vexing and distracting. I also didn’t like the male love interests. Joan fancied Nick before she found out she was a monster and he a hunter. Despite threatening to destroy one another across timelines they still clung to the idea of star-crossed lovers. It was poorly executed and I never felt the chemistry between the two nor understood the supposed heartfelt confession towards the end of the story. As for Oliver, the rival family member, he had a crush on Joan which I believe was never reciprocated. Both male leads had absolutely no memorable attributes. I felt like they were just there but didn’t really add value to the story.
I had such high hopes for Only a Monster, but sadly it didn’t deliver on any level. The magic system/world building, characters and plot were all subpar. The ending tied up quickly and conveniently and yet I already forgot the overall arc/main goal of the series since this is an opener to a trilogy. With that said, I think I’m going to past on the sequel.