by Vanessa Len
Publication: February 22, 2022
Joan discovers her gran wasn’t lying about monsters when she accidentally discovers her heritage. The truth is devastatingly worse when she finds out a monster slayer will stop at nothing to rid the world of those like her. While I generally enjoyed the book, I was left with multiple questions that went unanswered and an ending that left me bereft.
One of the difficult things about reading a book you’ve been anticipating is the internal hype that inevitably occurs. Sometimes the book fulfills its destiny, and other times, it never reaches its full potential. As much as I enjoyed it, Only A Monster meets some of the hype but never quite reaches its full potential. In other words, it’s a little complicated.
When broken into its parts, there are so many things I like about it. For instance, I like that it starts like a contemporary YA romance. Joan is getting ready for a date with the boy she has a crush on, but her world comes crashing down when she finds out she isn’t like other girls. My indoctrination into the world happens alongside her. Experiencing this moment with her is heartbreaking and provided me the opportunity to not only connect with her but also better understand her character arc.
Because Joan is newly inducted into the world of monsters, it makes her less rigid in her beliefs about what is possible. Hope and determination are on her side while someone already immersed in the world might balk at what she is trying to do. Although I found her status as a novice beneficial in thinking beyond the box, I couldn’t help but question how people just kept going along with her ideas. Being a newbie should have made it more difficult than it was.
As a hopeless romantic, I was more than willing to buy into the romantic possibilities that existed. It does, however, feel like there will be a love triangle, and I am not very happy about it right now. I’m not particularly keen on love triangles, nor am I fond of how the potential second love interest is very much instalove. Also, the root of my pain comes from always liking the second lead, and my OTP ship never usually sails. As you can tell, I’ve already sort of picked a side (heh), and it’s not looking good from where I stand.
The story was engaging and the pace was perfect, but the most difficult part was understanding the world and monster abilities better. It’s unclear what the origins of monsters are and their abilities. Sometimes people remember and sometimes they don’t. I was confused about whether you can go where you don’t exist, or you can’t meet yourself, or you can’t see yourself. I probably need to reread these parts, or they just need to be made more clear. Additionally, there’s so much left to explore but so little time. I was very happy to learn there will be a sequel coming out because I would like some answers.
Overall, I was conflicted by Only A Monster because I enjoyed a lot of it but a few things were missing. The story felt only partially complete and the end was unsatisfactory to me. The book left me feeling incomplete, but it also has me ready to read the next installment.
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