Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Book Review! Monster by C.J. Skuse

Monster by C.J. Skuse
Publication Date: September 24th 2015
Genre: YA, Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Rating: ☆☆☆ / 5
At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild. Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.
MONSTER sounded right up my alley hence the reason I requested it on NetGalley. Now don't get me wrong, I liked the story and ended up not being able to put it down but I think this book would have done much better if it were being released in October, closer to Halloween when reading creepy horrors and scaring ourselves silly is, as a bookworm, a huge desire.

This book had a lot going for it; the mythical Beast of Bathory legend, a small group of girls with completely parallel personalities all trapped in a huge, almost empty boarding school in the middle of nowhere, and suspicious characters left, right and center. Unfortunately the whole thing fell a little flat for me and I can't put my finger on where it didn't do it for me. I got to the end and just didn't feel wowed or like I needed to shout from the rooftops telling everyone to pick up a copy. The creep factor was high, especially towards the end but I wasn't scared enough. I mean for a horror it just wasn't absolutely-do-not-read-in-the-dark scary which I love!

The characters were well developed over time and I liked the unity that formed between all of the girls (and guy) but the only thing that bothered me here was the fact that we never get to see if these relationships played out well in the 'real world'.

Nash was a good main character, strong and sure and willing to take the lead when all heads turned her way for answers but her priorities, along with all of the other girls, were way off. Even in the midst of their situation some way through the book, the focus was on cute guys, nasty slut shaming between two characters in particular and the fact that there was no internet or mobile phone use. Their priorities first and foremost should maybe have been the massive black 'Bathory Beast' that prowled the area allegedly killing off randoms in the winter time, the same beast that had been spotted too close to home, not whether they could update their Facebook statuses. Sigh.

MONSTER had all of the typical horror movie gimmicks; the complete loss of communication, the total lack of help being in the middle of Nowheresville and lots of little secrets that tied together throughout but it really lacked in the moments when it should have hit the horror factor the strongest.

That all being said I found myself compelled to keep reading. I was hooked and I needed to get to the end so I could see how it all turned out. When I got past the first quarter of the book the pace really picked up and I found myself flipping the pages like a crazy woman.

The major twist was good! Predictable for someone who's read a ton of mystery/thriller books but good nonetheless.

The end left a lot of room for speculation about Nash's future and quite a bit to be desired. I wont say much lest I ruin something but I wasn't a huge fan of the ending. Books like this really need a fully closed ending, books with no sequel or epilogue. The first part of the last chapter was great though - emotional and definitely brought a tear to my eye! I just wish we had had more of an epilogue to see how everyone was doing after everything they'd been through. I wanted to see the implications of the girls' actions and how relationships formed throughout the story held up without the need  for unity. All in all I just wanted more.

*This book was given to be free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

What creepy books are you lining up for Halloween month?! Hurry up October!!!


  1. I'm such a big fan of horror/thrillers, and my ears definitely perked up when you mentioned that there's a BOARDING SCHOOL! I was thisssssss close to adding it to my TBR, but I'm on the fence since I've seen quite a bit of mixed reviews for this one. * sigh * I want to pick this up so bad because I'm obsessed with boarding schools lmao

  2. YA Horror is such a hit or a miss for me too. The synopsis has all the makings for a great novel, so I'm sad to hear that the execution wasn't there. The secondary characters sound like nothing by stereotypical tropes. Bleh.