Middle Grade Book Review: Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly
Author: MarcyKate Connolly
Illustrated by: Skottie Young
Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre Type: Magic, Fantasy
Publication Date: February 10th 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre’s inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark.
Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre.
Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre.
And what he knows will change Kym’s life.
I WILL NEVER FORGET MY FIRST BREATH, GASPING, HEAVING, DELICIOUS.
Monstrous is a simply delightful book, one that can be equally enjoyed by both the young reader and their older counterparts. Partly re-imagined Frankenstein and partly inspired fairy tale as those famous Brothers Grimm would spin, Monstrous is both lyrical and simple. A tale that speaks to the heart, one that can be appreciated without elaborate workings but enjoyed for the simple lessons it imparts. Bravery, friendship, good vs. bad, and the ultimate power of sacrifice.
I LEAN BACK AGAINST THE WILLOW AND HOLD OUT MY ARMS, STUDYING them under the waning sunlight. The thin red lines marking the sections of my body have faded to nearly nothing; all that remains are the many shades of my flesh and the tiny metal bolts fastening tail to spine, joint to wing, and neck to shoulder ...
Kym is a remarkable young heroine to love. One that younger readers can relate to and older ones sympathize with. At the beginning of the story, she awakens much like sleeping beauty to a world full of mysterious delights, with an adoring father (her creator) whom she puts all her love and trust in. She's bright, curious, loyal and only wants to do what is right and good. To please those she cares about. But, like all good tales ... all is not as simple as it seems, and the path she travels is filled with bitter-sweet lessons that leave the reader fondly holding the book afterwards, thoughtful and well satisfied. Her transformation from naiveness to a heroine of strength and spirit is what makes this story soar in my opinion.
There's a wise dragon that offers sage advice, a cursed village and missing girls, a kidnapped princess, the sweetest young boy that leaves roses by a fountain for Kym and shows her the power of friendship, wizards and villains and twists along the journey. The story is like easy breadcrumbs to follow, we may know or even suspect what's to come, but it's the sweet and enchanting way the story is written, seen through Kym's eyes that hold us spellbound.
Broken up by days, rather than chapters, this is an easy story to consume, although I do think the length was longer than needed, especially since it's targeted towards middle-grade readers. Still, I could not put it down until the last page.
Kym with her barbed tail, a patchwork of skin and enchanting wings flew straight to my heart, and I was back again when a time of fairy tales tucked me in sweetly at night! Recommended for classic fairy tale lovers and inspired ones re-imagined.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars! Adorable. I really liked it!
PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by HarperCollins Children's Books in exchange for my fair review. Thank youHarperCollins Children's Books for the review opportunity!