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No Gods, No Monsters

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One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it. As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unr One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it. As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters. At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark? The world will soon find out.


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One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it. As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unr One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it. As creatures from myth and legend come out of the shadows, seeking safety through visibility, their emergence sets off a chain of seemingly unrelated events. Members of a local werewolf pack are threatened into silence. A professor follows a missing friend’s trail of bread crumbs to a mysterious secret society. And a young boy with unique abilities seeks refuge in a pro-monster organization with secrets of its own. Meanwhile, more people start disappearing, suicides and hate crimes increase, and protests erupt globally, both for and against the monsters. At the center is a mystery no one thinks to ask: Why now? What has frightened the monsters out of the dark? The world will soon find out.

30 review for No Gods, No Monsters

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    As like the king of authors said: “ Monsters are real and ghosts are real, too. They live inside us,sometimes they win.” This story starts with a dead body! Laina opens her eyes on early October morning to learn the new tragic news about her brother’s brutal killing by Boston police officers. Is this just police brutality or there is something more vicious, blood thirsty and extra violent hidden behind the incident? But there is one reality that no one can ignore: MONSTERS ARE REAL! Mythical cre As like the king of authors said: “ Monsters are real and ghosts are real, too. They live inside us,sometimes they win.” This story starts with a dead body! Laina opens her eyes on early October morning to learn the new tragic news about her brother’s brutal killing by Boston police officers. Is this just police brutality or there is something more vicious, blood thirsty and extra violent hidden behind the incident? But there is one reality that no one can ignore: MONSTERS ARE REAL! Mythical creatures stop hiding behind the shadows, freely walking around to bring out the chaos! We’re also introduced to the professor at the first chapter who resigns from his job to go back to his hometown, following the traces his missing friend left behind which also drags him into a secret society, the same place a young boy with super powers uses its safety net, keeping his own dark secrets. This is a riveting, urban fantasy page turner with lots of characters. But quick time jumps between past and present are a little disturbing. We want to know more about their back stories. There are so much rich materials to be used at more than two books. So I wish there were less characters but more detailed, elaborated life stories, less flashbacks. But overall I am fan of this genre! This was quick, gripping, interesting, capturing, action packed and thrilling ride that I was truly excited to experience! I’m giving werewolfish, mythical creatures, blood thirsty, shocking, horrifying four stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for sharing this super exciting reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ELLIAS (elliasreads)

    THIS SOUNDS BATSHIT CRAZY IM HERE FOR IT

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Roanhorse

    This story has been showing up in my dreams the last few days, and that's both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because the story is a haunting supernatural weaving of characters and stories that will keep you turning pages, anxious to see what happens next. Bad, because parts of the story are harrowing, skin-crawlingly creepy or wide-eyed, mouth open I-did-not-see-that-coming weird. On the surface, it is about monsters becoming known in our world, sort of a literary Urban Fantasy. Expect shi This story has been showing up in my dreams the last few days, and that's both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because the story is a haunting supernatural weaving of characters and stories that will keep you turning pages, anxious to see what happens next. Bad, because parts of the story are harrowing, skin-crawlingly creepy or wide-eyed, mouth open I-did-not-see-that-coming weird. On the surface, it is about monsters becoming known in our world, sort of a literary Urban Fantasy. Expect shifters and witches and occult secret societies. But underneath, Turnbull is talking about humanity, of course, and the marginalized among us who are treated like monsters and how we all are called to solidarity. There's plenty of politics here, but there's also a wild strangeness that I loved even more. Turnbull really shines when he allows himself to embrace the supernatural - those scenes had me by the neck. To wit, it sometimes feels like Turnbull is walking the edge of something really profound, the Truth (with a capital T) just beyond reach, glimpsed only in the moment one blinks their eyes. It's unsettling in the best way, and leaves you anxious and eager to understand more. Other parts were a bit muddier (so many characters! but one mysterious narrator who only comes together near the end) but I think if you hold this story very gently in your hands, not asking for too much clarity out of the gate, trusting the author to lead you where you need to go, you will not be disappointed. My guess is this book will appeal to those more prone to literary fiction and/or fans of beautiful prose and on-the-nose social commentary. You also might need a bit more patience to enjoy this one as the many characters sort themselves out and the mysteries of the story reveal themselves to you, but the journey is worth it. It gets under your skin in the end. I was happy to open up Goodreads and see that this is the start of a series because I definitely need more. I wait in anticipation for Book 2.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This unusual literary urban fantasy novel is about more than the paranormal ‘monsters’ living hidden in the human world. It’s a metaphor for minorities of all types who want to be seen and heard. The monsters are representative not only of all types of paranormal creatures from shape shifters to witches, seers, vampires and even a dragon and but also of all colours, races and genders. It’s a difficult book to read if you’re looking for a tightly woven plot. Instead, it’s a patchwork of snapshots This unusual literary urban fantasy novel is about more than the paranormal ‘monsters’ living hidden in the human world. It’s a metaphor for minorities of all types who want to be seen and heard. The monsters are representative not only of all types of paranormal creatures from shape shifters to witches, seers, vampires and even a dragon and but also of all colours, races and genders. It’s a difficult book to read if you’re looking for a tightly woven plot. Instead, it’s a patchwork of snapshots loosely tied together by the characters and their stories. There are a lot of characters and I did find it difficult to sort out their relationships and connections until about half way through the book when the plot started to gel. The novel is partly written in first person, by an unknown narrator and partly in third person and also jumps from past to present adding to the complexity of the novel. However, the prose is beautiful and the best way to read it is to immerse yourself in the writing, be patient and let the meaning sneak up on you. It’s also a novel that would benefit from a second reading as I feel there is a lot more to unpack than I appreciated the first time through. With thanks to Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for a copy to read

  5. 4 out of 5

    luce

    | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | | My review for No Gods, No Monsters will not make a lot of sense. The main reason for this is that, to be quite frank, I did not ‘get’ this novel. I did try, I persevered in spite of my mounting confusion, hoping that at some point I would be able to understand the what/why/who/hows of this story…but, having now finished, I can safely (and sadly) say that I’m not sure what was the point of it all. I’m fine with authors keeping their cards close to their chests. Two o | | blog | tumblr | ko-fi | | My review for No Gods, No Monsters will not make a lot of sense. The main reason for this is that, to be quite frank, I did not ‘get’ this novel. I did try, I persevered in spite of my mounting confusion, hoping that at some point I would be able to understand the what/why/who/hows of this story…but, having now finished, I can safely (and sadly) say that I’m not sure what was the point of it all. I’m fine with authors keeping their cards close to their chests. Two of my all fave novels, The Fifth Season and American Gods, do require the reader to have patience in order to understand their narratives. But here, I was never able to catch up with the story. The author seems intent on being as mysterious as possible, which results in a narrative that is confusing for the sake of being confusing. While I liked some of the aesthetics and ideas that were at play, however, I struggled to make sense of far too many scenes, so much so that it hindered my overall reading experience. We meet Laina, whose brother was shot by a cop. What seems yet another horrific case of racialized police brutality turns out to be something far more bizarre. Not only is Laina's brother revealed to be a werewolf but turns out that there are many other types of monsters living alongside humans. After a viral video reveals this, lots of people ‘lose’ it. Many of the storylines weren't particularly developed or easy to understand: we have a section follow a cult of sorts, a few bits on a pack of werewolves, another on a ‘dragon’ boy, and a few about Laina and her partner(s). A lot of the time I just struggled to understand how certain subplots fitted in the overarching storyline, as, more often than not, the supernatural element is only hinted at and we don’t always witness it first hand. This just made it harder for me to believe in this particular ‘world’, which, from my perspective, suffered from having a far too-vague world-building. Not only we aren’t given detailed descriptions of these ‘monsters’ but it seemed weird that one viral video would result in people going on to marches against monster 'hate'. The characters were just as vague as their story, their personalities sidelined in favour of creating a confusing atmosphere. I often got them confused with each other, and some, such as that guy who joins the cult, felt very...unnecessary. I will say that I appreciated how intersectional this was. The majority of the characters are QPOC, and we get some refreshingly casual lgbtq+ rep (so that we have trans, ace, & queer characters) as well as a (fairly) positive depiction of a polyamorous couple. The monsters are very much a metaphor for minority groups who have been historically persecuted and are still being discriminated against. But, as much I liked the author’s message (or what i perceived to be their message) I had a hard time reading this novel. Not only was the pacing uneven but scenes that could have been easy to follow were not. The characters play obscure roles in their own stories, and I wish they’d been more fleshed out. Additionally, we have this sort-of-omniscient narrator who occasionally makes an interjection breaking the flow the narration...and it just didn't work for me. Who was this person? I'm still not 100% sure. Why were they recounting what was happening to these characters? Hell if I know... All in all, I’m not sure who I would recommend this to. I usually love storylines that aren’t afraid to be, shall we say, ambiguous, but Turnbull takes it to a whole new level. Confusing and surprisingly wearisome No Gods, No Monsters wasn’t quite the urban fantasy read I’d hoped it would be. ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    My favourite book of the year. I am so very much in love with this book – enough to feel the need to write my first full-length review in half a year. As is often the case when a book is this custom-made for me, I am having problems divorcing my enjoyment from that fact – but I loved it so very much! No Gods, No Monsters is literary fiction maquerading as urban fantasy and if there is anything that is my absolute catnip, it is this. The prose is brilliant, the character work perfect, and the struc My favourite book of the year. I am so very much in love with this book – enough to feel the need to write my first full-length review in half a year. As is often the case when a book is this custom-made for me, I am having problems divorcing my enjoyment from that fact – but I loved it so very much! No Gods, No Monsters is literary fiction maquerading as urban fantasy and if there is anything that is my absolute catnip, it is this. The prose is brilliant, the character work perfect, and the structure made me happy. Turnbull does something so very clever with perspective that it made me giddy with joy – I love a clever play on perspective and here it did not only work stylistically but also made perfect sense in-universe which is something that I assume is very hard to pull off. At its core, this is a story about bigotry – and while I am not always a fan of using fantastical creatures as a stand in for minority groups, here it worked well because Turnbull also grounds his book in real world oppression. His characters casually but intentionally have diverse backgrounds and gender expressions and sexual orientations and they feel as real as possible. The inciting incident is a case of deadly police brutality that ends up revealing to the world that monsters (and gods?) are real and among us. From this point the story spirals outward and inward, jumping from one storyline to the next in every chapter. I loved this. I loved this all the more because I felt I could trust Turnbull to know where he is going and what he wants to achieve. I did not find this book confusing but I found it challenging – it kept me on my toes and it made sure I was paying attention. I found the way Turnbull pulled of the various narrative strands very impressive, especially the way he made me emotionally invested in all of these (to be fair, quite a few strands are sibling stories and these are often my favourite). And while the book is definitely dark, it is not hopeless and there is a core of community and community action running through this that made the book ultimately an optimistic one. In short, I adored this, I want more people to read this and most of all I want the second book in the series (even though this one does have a satisfying ending!). Content warnings: police brutality, bigotry, domestic abuse, drug abuse I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    You ever feel like there’s a world beneath this one?.... Like we are a speck on some larger thing that we only catch glimpses of.” Laina’s brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. What seems like police brutality gives us a glimpse that Monsters are real and they want everyone to know. Laina watches the video over and over but still cannot process who or what her brother is. After the video goes viral there is a Monsters March that was televised. What is strange is that a few days later no You ever feel like there’s a world beneath this one?.... Like we are a speck on some larger thing that we only catch glimpses of.” Laina’s brother was shot and killed by Boston cops. What seems like police brutality gives us a glimpse that Monsters are real and they want everyone to know. Laina watches the video over and over but still cannot process who or what her brother is. After the video goes viral there is a Monsters March that was televised. What is strange is that a few days later no evidence of the march or video can be found- was the glimpse real? Did everyone experience something they want to forget…and fast? After the viral video, strange things starts happening. Community of Monsters goes into hiding. Secret society starts recruiting. Conspiracy theory message boards are rife with explanation of what did or didn’t happen. People want to forget that video but there is an increase in disappearance, murders, suicide and a fear that is palatable throughout the world. Something big is going to come next, everyone can feel it. This is Cadwell Turnbull’s long awaiting sophomore novel and he was right, this is nothing like The Lesson . Turnbull has matured in his writing and you will know it once you start reading this book. This book was truly atmospheric, you could feel the fear of the characters leaping off the page. What I love is how Turnbull is able to write characters that while they are flawed, you cannot help but cheer for them. He spends a lot of time building out his character, to the point where you become invested and immerse in their experience. This is an urban fantasy novel that goes through multiple point of views, between present and past but truly fast paced. There were some instances where I thought, “a wah gwan yasso?” “who dis again?” “where dis one from yah now?” but overall I was able to follow along and understand what was happening. I do think this book was very ambitious and could have benefitted from a tighter lens- a lot was happening at times and that made it hard to follow along. I think Turnbull was able to write a fantasy novel that truly captured diverse characters who were not one-dimensional without trying too hard. Representation matters and Turnbull was able to write characters I think a lot of people can see themselves in. I know this will be a favourite for many!

  8. 4 out of 5

    K.J. Charles

    I was excited for this as The Lesson is a truly phenomenal SF with a lot to say about colonialism that everyone should read. This one didn't land for me, unfortunately, but in a way that makes me suspect it'll be in other people's best of the year lists. Basically it's got a gigantic cast and we switch between many many stories and voices and it's never made entirely clear what's actually going on. We get elusive trails of meaning and hints and lots of parts that didn't make an obvious whole, to I was excited for this as The Lesson is a truly phenomenal SF with a lot to say about colonialism that everyone should read. This one didn't land for me, unfortunately, but in a way that makes me suspect it'll be in other people's best of the year lists. Basically it's got a gigantic cast and we switch between many many stories and voices and it's never made entirely clear what's actually going on. We get elusive trails of meaning and hints and lots of parts that didn't make an obvious whole, to me at least. If you're all right putting yourself in the hands of a skilled writer and being swept along in a current of impressions and ideas and voices and glimpses, this will be perfect for you. It didn't work for me because I'm a more plot-driven reader, but wouldn't life be boring if we were all the same.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cadwell Turnbull

    Hey Good People, First off, thank you for coming on this journey with me. Books are nothing without readers. My gratitude is unending. This isn’t a review. (For an unabridged version of this not-review, go HERE.) Can an author review their own work? I think so. I considered giving myself a rating, even. An honest one. But I worry it'd be the sort of thing that sounds like a good idea right up until the internet proves it isn't. So, the better question: do I think this book is worth your time? Maybe. Hey Good People, First off, thank you for coming on this journey with me. Books are nothing without readers. My gratitude is unending. This isn’t a review. (For an unabridged version of this not-review, go HERE.) Can an author review their own work? I think so. I considered giving myself a rating, even. An honest one. But I worry it'd be the sort of thing that sounds like a good idea right up until the internet proves it isn't. So, the better question: do I think this book is worth your time? Maybe. I hope so. If after this not-review you still want to read the book. I know some of you have been confused about certain aspects of No Gods. So, here I am with a half-compromise to half-help readers who've found this book. Readers who might've seen this talked about, or buzzed about, or enthusiastically pushed into their inboxes, and now find themselves with a confused look on their face. Or readers that read my debut The Lesson and thought, "hey, I like what this guy is doing" and picked this up only to realize "I have no idea what this guy is doing, please help me." Please know I did not intend to be completely bewildering. Maybe just a little. Or in an exciting way. Or in that very specific way when you're talking to a friend about a challenging topic and you're both invested in getting to the bottom of it, but you also know you won't because no one has gotten to bottom of it. It is just the air we all breathe, and you have to accept it, but occasionally not accepting it can be an enriching experience, you know? Maybe you don’t and there’s no hope for this creature of mine to make sense to you. But I want to try. Because I do think it is amazing that readers take precious moments out of their own life to read work they're excited about. So maybe a head-to-head/heart-to-heart will do enough to make this worth the time/resources you've put in to read my book. Anyway, here we go. Things you should know while reading No Gods, No Monsters. 1. The protagonist is the community. What “community” means may not be altogether clear yet. The community is on a hero’s journey (and they haven’t all found each other yet). Calamities will bring them together. Each POV is given to add (more) weight to each person within that whole. Examples from TV: The Wire (mostly The Wire, maybe The Expanse?) Examples from fiction: “The Matter of Seggri" by Ursula K. Le Guin (an epistolary novella, made up of different "matter" from the inhabitants of a planet called Seggri. The story of Seggri is told through shifting POVs over time. The planet has a narrative arc through the individual narratives.) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel Why am I doing this to you? No Gods is sprawling, but there will be an honest attempt at bringing all the elements together over the course of the Convergence Saga (it’s three books, so, a trilogy, but why stop confusing you now?). When I discussed the name for the series with my publisher, we all agreed that the name of the series was important on many levels. In my acknowledgments I (synonym for "acknowledged") that there were “too many” characters. Lots of POVs is how my brain works. But I think that’s how stories in our world work, too. Communities move according to many intersecting narratives, not through the actions of single protagonists. The goal is to represent community somehow, while giving the individual representations, the people, significant weight. They pull against the central narrative with their own specific concerns. 2. This book (and series) is about power. And MYSTERY. And how power uses mystery and is motivated by mystery. (More importantly it is about trying to capture the feeling of helplessness when hitting up against the incomprehensible.) Examples from TV: For Power: The Wire (again), Luke Cage (?), House of Cards, Succession For MYSTERY: Lots, but my favorite is The Leftovers. Examples in fiction: For Power: Lots, but which ones can I name specifically. The Broken Earth Trilogy. Really, anything by Jemisin. Or Butler. Or Le Guin. For MYSTERY: Big one that comes to mind is the Southern Reach Trilogy. Why am I doing this to you? Because it feels real to me? I’ve had to get comfortable with not knowing things or finding things out that lead to greater not knowings. I have a theory that there’s a relationship between this not-knowing and power. I also think too much about metaphysics. So, how do I represent that to a reader? By writing a whole book where the big things are happening in the background and even the major players seem confused. There are lots of things that will be answered. Promise. But I’m afraid to tell you that this mystery thing (and its power over people) comes up a LOT more. I really can’t say anything else because I am having a bodily reaction. 3. Plot is events. Otherwise, it is people learning things about themselves. (Or, Plot is external things outside people’s control (calamity). Otherwise, it is (mostly) internal heart/mind things (sometimes) within people’s control brought about by social situations.) I won’t give examples. I think this is a salt to taste thing, mostly. Some people like action, where action means people are actively doing a lot of things. And in No Gods people are doing things. Sometimes it is action-ish. Sometimes it is two people baking bread and one person’s hand gets burned and they both learn something? I can’t say why that’s plot to me, but it is. Why am I doing this to you? I really don’t know. This point isn’t as important as the other two, but if you read No Gods and it feels like nothing is happening and/or makes you think, “Am I missing something?” You’re not. That’s just what this is. (Edit (that is also sort of a spoiler for future books): (view spoiler)[ Structurally this trilogy will be broken down thusly: Book One: The People. Book Two: The Monsters. Book Three: The Gods. There's some crossover in each book, of course, but the concerns shift accordingly. Also, each book can be thematically summarized thusly: Revelation, Reckoning, Reconciliation. Each of these aren't clear-cut. This is the sort of stuff that makes my skin itch to say, but it might help calibrate expectations. (hide spoiler)] . *** Writing books are hard, so a big part of surviving the process is chasing the joy. And selling a book is primarily about selling the things people get excited about and hoping that folks stick around for the other things you've slipped in (or packed in so hard the thing won’t close). If none of this is helpful, thank you for coming to this thing I made anyway. Hope I can catch you again down the road. Also, have you read The Lesson? Shameless plug to read The Lesson. (But maybe don’t because the above things are also true-ish of The Lesson.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    No Gods, No Monsters is a book you have to go with the flow on. I loved it, in the end, but I think it's going to be one of those books that polarises readers. Almost flow of conciousness, almost (initially) a series of linked short stories, rather than a novel, the reader is greeted with the sister of a man shot by police, as she is led to the discovery of the truth behind his death. In this way, Cadwell Turnbull starts as he means to go on, with monsters just another of the many marginalized gr No Gods, No Monsters is a book you have to go with the flow on. I loved it, in the end, but I think it's going to be one of those books that polarises readers. Almost flow of conciousness, almost (initially) a series of linked short stories, rather than a novel, the reader is greeted with the sister of a man shot by police, as she is led to the discovery of the truth behind his death. In this way, Cadwell Turnbull starts as he means to go on, with monsters just another of the many marginalized groups in the world. Different in their own way, but just as human and just as vulnerable to injustice and misunderstanding - just as undeserving of either. This was a tricky book to get into, I won't lie; the narration moves from person to person without warning, and between perspectives just as abruptly. Even the omniscient narrator turns out to be first person; it's a little jarring in places, but if you're able to get into the flow of it it really does work beautifully. It helps that the writing is gorgeous, and that the characters are easy to connect with - the more you can trust the author to eventually pull back (some of) the curtain, the better time you'll have. The range of diversity in both the monsters and the human characters was just perfection. This is the first book in a series, and there's a fairly open ending; it matches the story style, and doesn't walk too close to the cliffhanger style, so I'll certainly be back for book two.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I sat with this a few days after finishing the book in order to attempt to process it. Unfortunately, that didn't help. The writing here is phenomenal. You really get a sense of his characters and settings because his descriptions are so detailed. It's nice to see such a variety of identities. While reading this book, I would get confused. The story jumped to various POVs and it seemed like different time frames and I just couldn't keep up. I think a lot of people will love it, but unfortunately I sat with this a few days after finishing the book in order to attempt to process it. Unfortunately, that didn't help. The writing here is phenomenal. You really get a sense of his characters and settings because his descriptions are so detailed. It's nice to see such a variety of identities. While reading this book, I would get confused. The story jumped to various POVs and it seemed like different time frames and I just couldn't keep up. I think a lot of people will love it, but unfortunately this one just wasn't for me and that's a shame. My appreciation to Blackstone Publishing Cadwell Turnbull, and NetGalley for gifting me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lady Amanda

    Read my full review HERE :) Here is a summary: No Gods, No Monsters is an incredibly inclusive story about othering, oppression, police violence, connection and how we stay safe and fight back. Though it is heavy at times, and there are many characters to follow, it is absolutely a wonderful work of art. *I received a copy of this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily* Read my full review HERE :) Here is a summary: No Gods, No Monsters is an incredibly inclusive story about othering, oppression, police violence, connection and how we stay safe and fight back. Though it is heavy at times, and there are many characters to follow, it is absolutely a wonderful work of art. *I received a copy of this book for free and am leaving this review voluntarily*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sylvain Neuvel

    Magic and monsters roam every corner of this page-turner, but the real star is Cadwell Turnbull's breathtaking prose. A perfect hymn to otherness and the beauty of the strange, No Gods, No Monsters is so good it reads like music. Simply masterful.' Magic and monsters roam every corner of this page-turner, but the real star is Cadwell Turnbull's breathtaking prose. A perfect hymn to otherness and the beauty of the strange, No Gods, No Monsters is so good it reads like music. Simply masterful.'

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mitticus

    What do we have around here? Apparently monsters have always lived among us, even organized in secret societies (with all the internal struggles that accompany that), and suddenly everything explodes and comes to light. And that is what some want and others do not. The reason for that precise moment we do not know. I am going to try to organize my ideas, but I want to say that the novel does not present the plot that way so neatly, which is a problem; it is like a pile of threads that you are pul What do we have around here? Apparently monsters have always lived among us, even organized in secret societies (with all the internal struggles that accompany that), and suddenly everything explodes and comes to light. And that is what some want and others do not. The reason for that precise moment we do not know. I am going to try to organize my ideas, but I want to say that the novel does not present the plot that way so neatly, which is a problem; it is like a pile of threads that you are pulling and pulling trying to untangle the skein, and you find different stamens, and without finding the end of the skein that you were looking for, I must say it. (There is a second book.) It is a choral novel/ensemble. It has various perspectives of different characters, at different times, and jumps back and forth. The various narrators themselves are not too dense inconvenient, what I did struggle to understand was the perspective of the 'all-knowing' narrator, which is not. He is another character. And it is difficult to me, difficult to make this distinction. Someone may consider it a brilliant, interesting literary device that borders between that 'fourth wall' and what seems to have been perhaps a stream of consciousness, but it definitely does not make it easier to read. As I mentioned in one of my comments, this will probably improve if the novel is read more than once, to understand all these times and perspectives. The book has a strong level of violence, sexual abuse against children and domestic violence. And its good bit of gore. I suppose this could count as a kind of allegory about minorities and how in a moment social conflicts erupt, that they are all the same, or something like that. But all this violence and manipulations, without even finding a clear objective, did not end up liking me. Some real people are mentioned in relation to this story, mainly in relation to cults and secret occult societies that actually exist. -Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn https://www.grunge.com/296071/the-tru... -L. Ron Hubbard and Jack Parsons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema -Marjorie Cameron and Thelema https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjori... The fictional part that it puts, reminds me of some famous horror tales. --------------------------- Me gustó? No. Cosas interesantes? Sí. +Digital ARC gently provided by Netgalley and publishers in exchange for an honest review+

  15. 5 out of 5

    lauren.

    *DNF* Let me just start off by saying that the writing in this book is incredibly beautiful. There is no doubt about that. Now, I can see fantasy lovers, or even anyone who loves supernatural beings, be SO into this. I could see them eating it up and enjoying and hanging onto every word of this story. But, unfortunately it just was not for me. I am not the biggest fan of fantasy to begin with, and I would almost lean this more towards supernatural (which I do enjoy, sometimes). And the synopsis o *DNF* Let me just start off by saying that the writing in this book is incredibly beautiful. There is no doubt about that. Now, I can see fantasy lovers, or even anyone who loves supernatural beings, be SO into this. I could see them eating it up and enjoying and hanging onto every word of this story. But, unfortunately it just was not for me. I am not the biggest fan of fantasy to begin with, and I would almost lean this more towards supernatural (which I do enjoy, sometimes). And the synopsis of this book intrigued me, took me in, made me want to hurry up and read the book. That’s why it saddens me that I just did not vibe with it the way I wanted. As a woman of color I love the inclusion. But my biggest problem I think with the book was the execution of the pov’s. It switched up a lot and went into third and first person pov so frequently and unwarranted that I didn’t really know what was going on, who was speaking, who was what or who. And maybe that was the authors point, in some way I could see why they would do that on purpose. But it just didn’t register with my brain very well. That being my only complaint, this is not a bad book, the premise is amazing and author’s talent does shine through with each detail. I just simply did not vibe with it, unfortunately. But, as I said, I do believe others will surely love this and find the story quite riveting!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    This sounds fucking AMAZING

  17. 5 out of 5

    Circe Moskowitz

    Utterly spectacular.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)

    3.5 Stars This was a rather unique novel that provided a wonderfully poignant conversation about marginalization and prejudice. From the premise, I expected this to be a straightforward and simple social commentary on race relations and police brutality in the United States. However, the story ended up being so much more nuanced. I was impressed how this novel provided such an excellent intersectional conversation about these complex issues.  My favourite aspect of this novel was easily the charac 3.5 Stars This was a rather unique novel that provided a wonderfully poignant conversation about marginalization and prejudice. From the premise, I expected this to be a straightforward and simple social commentary on race relations and police brutality in the United States. However, the story ended up being so much more nuanced. I was impressed how this novel provided such an excellent intersectional conversation about these complex issues.  My favourite aspect of this novel was easily the character work. There was fantastic representation for queer and non white people. All of the people in this book felt flawed in a realistic way. I found myself identifying with several of the characters, even when I had not experienced the same personal struggles. In terms of pacing, this novel is very slow, focusing on characters over plot. This was technically a piece of urban fantasy with mild horror, but read more like a literary piece of social commentary. I would have liked to learn more about the fantastical elements, but they were in the background of the story. I wished this one had a more narrative drive, yet I still enjoyed the reading experience for the most part.  I would recommend this one to readers looking for an insightful exploration of the challenges that affect marginalized people in America today. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    No Gods, No Monsters (The Convergence Saga #1) by Cadwell Turnbull This book is one of the strangest books I have read! That's not bad, I love strange! It just makes it difficult to review and make sense to anyone reading the review. I will try to avoid spoilers, there might be a hint of some but in this book you wouldn't have a clue what I am talking about anyway. Here goes. Werewolves have decides to come out. Maybe someone is making them? But our gal of the story finds out that her brother is ki No Gods, No Monsters (The Convergence Saga #1) by Cadwell Turnbull This book is one of the strangest books I have read! That's not bad, I love strange! It just makes it difficult to review and make sense to anyone reading the review. I will try to avoid spoilers, there might be a hint of some but in this book you wouldn't have a clue what I am talking about anyway. Here goes. Werewolves have decides to come out. Maybe someone is making them? But our gal of the story finds out that her brother is killed, shot by a cop. What the cop's body cam reveals is stunning. She wants to find out what is going on. The video goes viral then disappears. No monsters, No gods is the protest saying as the marches go through towns. But there several monsters and gods in this book and we meet some of each. Not just werewolves but powerful mages, shifters, and more. Gods that walk with nebulas for eyes. Gods that purr. People that teleport between places and some teleport between time. A boy, that is very much not a boy, and he is kind but used as a weapon. The story unfolds slowly, one person at a time until they all come together. Then it bounces between places, time, and people's lives. This was the difficult part for me. That and Hugh's life. I really got a bit bored there. This is a different kind of fantasy book then I have read in a long time. Lots of great things going for it. Other than the above mentioned issues, it was great. It is something I had to concentrate on. Not a book to rush through. A book to soak up, to simmer, to bathe in, and let it baste my brain. I had to wait a few days to review it to really think it over. I did enjoy it and it was the strangest and oddest book I have read this year but that is certainly not a bad thing. I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this intriguing book!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Woc Reader

    This story begins with Laina mourning her brother's death. They were estranged for some time as her brother battled drug addiction which only adds to her guilt. At first it just seems like an act of police brutality though what happened doesn't truly make sense. However she discovers it's not that simple when she receives the missing body cam footage from the officer who shot her brother. It reveals that her brother was a werewolf. She shares the footage online and it goes viral though is scrubb This story begins with Laina mourning her brother's death. They were estranged for some time as her brother battled drug addiction which only adds to her guilt. At first it just seems like an act of police brutality though what happened doesn't truly make sense. However she discovers it's not that simple when she receives the missing body cam footage from the officer who shot her brother. It reveals that her brother was a werewolf. She shares the footage online and it goes viral though is scrubbed from the net as if someone is intent on keeping these monsters hidden. Not long after a pack of werewolves transform in the middle of a busy street proving that the footage wasn't just an internet hoax. There weren't just werewolves; but also dragons, an invisible woman, succouyants, a man who can jump across timelines, secret societies, and much more. We don't just follow the monsters who are trying to adapt to the new normal amid riots and protests, but also some of their allies who are struggling with the new revelations and how they can help. There are characters in this story dealing with grief, sexuality, drug addiction, and other issues. I'd say my favorite parts of the story were the parts that took place in St. Thomas where readers are painted a vivid picture of every day island life. We get to appearance the feeling of the plane touching down in the airport as Calvin returns home from his time in the US. While he is happy that so much that he's familiar with has remained the same he's struggling with life after his brother's death. Spending time with his niece in an attempt to be a better uncle only exasperates those feelings. This book excels at building atmosphere without describing every mundane detail so it's easy to sit back and just get lost in the story. I was reading a physical copy alongside the audiobook which has a very easy flowing narration that perfectly fits. While at times things could be a little confusing the story never stopped being engaging. You have to pay close attention because it also moves at a very fast pace and at times across decades and universes. As I read further I started to see how so many of the character's lives were interconnected. And they all have the common goal of wanting to find a place where they belong and feel loved. There's no big bad all the characters are fighting against but rather we see a look at everyday society which these monsters are very much apart of but also on the outskirts. It's very literary so if literary stories aren't your style proceed with caution but I'm curious to see where book 2 goes. I received a finished copy for review from Blackstone Publishing https://womenofcolorreadtoo.blogspot....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    It's worth saying that this isn't really genre fiction. It's literary fiction making use of sci-fantasy & horror genre elements. It's strange and meandering with a huge cast of characters and a maze of plot threads, sometimes pivoting into existential pondering about the nature of reality and choice. It's the sort of book that the right reader might fall in love with and spend hours teasing apart threads of nuance and meaning. I can see the potential appeal because I feel that way about some boo It's worth saying that this isn't really genre fiction. It's literary fiction making use of sci-fantasy & horror genre elements. It's strange and meandering with a huge cast of characters and a maze of plot threads, sometimes pivoting into existential pondering about the nature of reality and choice. It's the sort of book that the right reader might fall in love with and spend hours teasing apart threads of nuance and meaning. I can see the potential appeal because I feel that way about some books that I read. For me, there was just too much happening for one book. A character or piece of the plot would catch my interest and then before I could blink we were on to something else. And while I get some pieces of what this book is trying to say, it's inconsistent and often unclear what the intent of a scene or plot element is. It's also the kind of thing that seems more interesting to discuss than it is pleasant to read. For instance, the titular monsters might be people with magic or werewolves or other mythological human-like beings. And sometimes they are stand-ins/overlap with people from marginalized communities: Black, POC, queer... But there also seem to be shadowy monsters who are themselves taking advantage of and harming others. In hindsight perhaps kids like Dragon are supposed to be indicative of cycles of abuse. It's also clear there's something being said here about police violence, about how we other those we fear, about performative allyship. All of which I care about and find conceptually interesting. In execution, it feels muddy and needlessly abstruse. I appreciate what the author is trying to do here and the dizzying world he has created, but I didn't necessarily enjoy the reading experience. Hopefully this helps the right readers find the book and gives you some idea of what you're getting. Do note that there are many content warnings including graphic violence, abuse (not graphic), death, grief, drug use etc. I won't get specific, but just know it isn't a light book. The audio narration is solid, no real complaints there. I received an audio review copy of this book via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Roomies' Digest

    5 ⭐️ WOW!!! Netgalley e-ARC STUNNING. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!! I randomly added this book into my August Netgalley reading vlog because I saw it on a YA LGBTQIA+ fantasy reading list and I have never been more happy with my compulsory need to add books to my TBR. Completely unexpected, this book imagines what life would be like if werewolves were suddenly exposed to the real world. Alive, living & breathing, very real MONSTERS, which then opens up Pandora's box to the question: if werewolves are real, 5 ⭐️ WOW!!! Netgalley e-ARC STUNNING. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!! I randomly added this book into my August Netgalley reading vlog because I saw it on a YA LGBTQIA+ fantasy reading list and I have never been more happy with my compulsory need to add books to my TBR. Completely unexpected, this book imagines what life would be like if werewolves were suddenly exposed to the real world. Alive, living & breathing, very real MONSTERS, which then opens up Pandora's box to the question: if werewolves are real, then what else is too? I LOVED this book so much. Love, love, LOVEEEED this book. I'm not going to lie I was very confused for the first part of it, but the writing execution is so good that I had to keep going. I'm so glad I did! This is obviously an urban fantasy, BUT ALSO did you know there are sci-fi elements as well? O_0 WHAT. I loved the originality of the monsters and what their powers are, and putting it into an urban fantasy setting... y'all I loved it. We have real honest to god monsters that were alive when Dracula roamed the earth, and our MCs are still trying to beat 5 o'clock traffic to get to a birthday party on time. There is also some really nice LGBTQIA+ rep, mental health rep, and I loved the questions this book brings up about the value of a person's life- I.e. if a monster isn't deadly, just different, are they still considered people? Can all monsters be put into the same category regardless of their intentions and who they are? Loved it. LOVED IT. Overall, if you're an urban fantasy reader, and you want a story with a sprinkle of sci-fi, mystery, romance, diversity, heartbreak, and downright REALNESS, then this is the book for you. Highly recommend!! xx -Christine

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    A very not-for-me novel that felt like an embodiment of most of what I hate about literary fiction. The story, such as it is, is a series of inter-linked vignettes with a huge cast of deeply forgettable characters moving forward in time from the revelation of monsters living in our society. I'm sure the author has a point that he's trying to make, and it's all probably an allegory for maligned minority groups (particularly with the way that the truth about them is suppressed in media), but it's ju A very not-for-me novel that felt like an embodiment of most of what I hate about literary fiction. The story, such as it is, is a series of inter-linked vignettes with a huge cast of deeply forgettable characters moving forward in time from the revelation of monsters living in our society. I'm sure the author has a point that he's trying to make, and it's all probably an allegory for maligned minority groups (particularly with the way that the truth about them is suppressed in media), but it's just so confusing that I feel the message is obfuscated beyond my interest. And when I say confusing, I mean the plot is confusing, the characters are confusing, the structure of the story is confusing and there's no resolution to any of it, and nor do I care about any of the characters. Easily the worst reading experience of the year so far for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    charlotte,

    On my blog. Actual rating 3.5 Rep: Black bi mc, Puerto Rican American sapphic mc, biracial bi ace trans mc, nonbinary side character, Black bi side character, Black side characters CWs: implied sexual abuse, drug abuse, implied domestic abuse, police brutality, gun violence Galley provided by publisher No Gods, No Monsters is an urban fantasy of the fast-paced and unputdownable variety. It throws you in at the deep end and says, hey, you’re going to be so desperate to find out what’s going on, yo On my blog. Actual rating 3.5 Rep: Black bi mc, Puerto Rican American sapphic mc, biracial bi ace trans mc, nonbinary side character, Black bi side character, Black side characters CWs: implied sexual abuse, drug abuse, implied domestic abuse, police brutality, gun violence Galley provided by publisher No Gods, No Monsters is an urban fantasy of the fast-paced and unputdownable variety. It throws you in at the deep end and says, hey, you’re going to be so desperate to find out what’s going on, you won’t even put this book down once. It drip feeds you the crumbs of what’s happening in such a way that you’re compelled to just keep going. Basically, it’s the best kind of book. Without too many spoilers, No Gods, No Monsters follows a number of POV characters, tracking each of their stories as they slowly come to intertwine. The blurb doesn’t really capture that, to be honest, so it’s a little confusing as you start out. But, as you get into it, you start to see where the plotlines all tie together. Really, the best thing about this book is its characters. They are the reason that you continue reading even if you find yourself with not really the slightest bit of an idea what’s going on (or, more accurately, why what’s going on is going on). They’re characters you won’t be able to help but find yourself rooting for. Every time the POV switches, you’ll feel there hasn’t been enough of the previous one, sure, but the next one pulls you in just as neatly. It takes skill to juggle multiple POVs like this, and to make them distinctive, and Turnbull shows it in abundance. It’s also a more understated fantasy, for want of a better word. It’s not about saving the world, or defeating some (named) bad guy. It’s more about what the world (or, the USA, really) does when faced with the knowledge that creatures from horror fiction are in fact real. I think if there was anything I would criticise about it (and this is a very light criticism), it’s that it was quite… shallow in the worldbuilding. There were a few times where it felt something wasn’t explained very in depth, but there was just some leap of logic you were supposed to have made. And I think that led to the plot being somewhat confusing (not convoluted, but perhaps vaguer than I would have liked), and the ending being a little more like it’s leaving you at the beginning of something rather than the conclusion. Although that may well have been about leaving space for a sequel, I suppose. However, if you looked at this book and were on the fence about it, or you had never looked at it before now, let me just say it’s one you don’t want to miss out on.

  25. 5 out of 5

    2TReads

    Turnbull knows how to tell a damn good story. Turnbull is a smooth writer. Whatever tale he is telling just flows so easily from page to page, even when the subject matter is heavy. He ensures that his readers will have an easy time of it, while remaining interested and engaged. He did it with The Lesson and he has brought this same style to No Gods, No Monsters. As he builds the reveal that monsters are among us, Turnbull is also raising questions around community and family: how they grow and ch Turnbull knows how to tell a damn good story. Turnbull is a smooth writer. Whatever tale he is telling just flows so easily from page to page, even when the subject matter is heavy. He ensures that his readers will have an easy time of it, while remaining interested and engaged. He did it with The Lesson and he has brought this same style to No Gods, No Monsters. As he builds the reveal that monsters are among us, Turnbull is also raising questions around community and family: how they grow and change, what brings them together, what drives them apart, and how the shadowy areas overlap. The story of No Gods, No Monsters is one of those stories that has moving parts which requires attention and which rewards a reader that sticks it out. With storylines that move forwards and backwards through time and place, expanding the cast of characters, introducing new magics and monsters, and then looping everyone together in some way was just a great reading experience. I love a book that keeps me puzzled here, clues me in there, and that has heart. Because at the heart of this story is family and finding a place to be safe and to belong. Isn't that what we all want?

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    No Gods, No Monsters is the first instalment in The Convergence Saga, a contemporary fantasy about the complex nature of injustice and identity and the part they play in your fate. Laina awakens one morning to devastating news; her brother, Lincoln, who she hadn't seen for seven years primarily due to his transient lifestyle caused by drug addiction, has been tragically shot and killed at the hands of a City of Boston police officer, and she is currently standing beside his deceased body. She is No Gods, No Monsters is the first instalment in The Convergence Saga, a contemporary fantasy about the complex nature of injustice and identity and the part they play in your fate. Laina awakens one morning to devastating news; her brother, Lincoln, who she hadn't seen for seven years primarily due to his transient lifestyle caused by drug addiction, has been tragically shot and killed at the hands of a City of Boston police officer, and she is currently standing beside his deceased body. She is also acutely aware that finding out the real truth of what happened will be no easy feat. Then an enigmatic individual sends her a link to a video of the incident actually taking place, and she is shocked that it not only reveals that werewolves exist, but it depicts Lincoln shapeshifting from a human into a werewolf just before he was brutally murdered. However, when Laina tries to share the video online she finds herself up against shadowy unknown entities who do not appear to want to truth to be set free. The unedited version of the video is repeatedly taken down by a group who seem to be dedicating a lot of their time towards keeping the secret that monsters really do exist. Laina, and a handful of others, are hellbent on revealing to the wider population the existence of animal shapeshifters, witches and other supernatural beings, but there are also those devoted to obscuring the truth. What ensues is a compulsive and enthralling tale encompassing beings of myth and legend, powerful gods and clandestine underground organisations. Utilising several multilayered storylines and switching seamlessly between the perspectives of many of the superbly painted characters, Turnbull has crafted a world rich in both intricacy and atmosphere in which the immersive prose serves only to capture your interest further. Despite its undeniable supernatural aspects, this is a profoundly human story and presents the struggles and real-world topical issues in a fascinating way that is relevant to the story being told. The cast is as strong and engaging as it is diverse with multiracial and LGBTQ+ representation and each character is both flawed and relatable. With excellent characterisation, a beautifully woven plot, perceptive social commentary, unexpected twists and taut speculative elements, this is a thoroughly entertaining fantasy. Highly recommended.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Book Clubbed,

    I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. No Gods, No Monsters spits in the face of genre labels, which I love. There are plenty of nods to familiar concepts: a police shooting, fantastical creatures colliding with cityscapes, and underground magic societies jostling for power. However, no theme is presented in a familiar way. This book is truly ambitious, one of the most sincere compliments I can give a contemporary novel. Turnbull displays real craft with his dialogue and I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. No Gods, No Monsters spits in the face of genre labels, which I love. There are plenty of nods to familiar concepts: a police shooting, fantastical creatures colliding with cityscapes, and underground magic societies jostling for power. However, no theme is presented in a familiar way. This book is truly ambitious, one of the most sincere compliments I can give a contemporary novel. Turnbull displays real craft with his dialogue and gestures, which helps characterize the people in his crowded novel. Although there must have been an urge to provide clarity in the dialogue, he avoids that trap and captures a realistic cadence with his various characters. He also, I thought, captured the grief, pain, and guilt of loving an addict who could be cruel or selfish but who is in real pain themselves, someone you can never love adequately. The image of werewolves marching along the highway and then turning into vulnerable human bodies was a striking one, especially given the protests of the last summer, as was the reaction to such an event (in the book), laundered through the media spin cycle. Turnbull spreads himself a bit thin trying to balance his various characters and subplots. He loses the thread at times, as well, discussing collapsed time and parallel universes, sounding like the gifted freshman in a creative writing class, stoned, deciding to bless us with his thoughts on the cosmos. Ultimately, this is a strong showing but may require adjusted expectations for those seeking out a plot-driven thrill ride. Listen to full reviews, by Book Clubbed, at https://bookclubbed.buzzsprout.com/

  28. 5 out of 5

    Borders Are Global Apartheid

    Check it out y'all, we did it. A queer fantasy book named with a pun on an anarchist slogan. Anarchism has arrived. We have penetrated the public consciousness. And all it took was America going full fascist dystopia! Check it out y'all, we did it. A queer fantasy book named with a pun on an anarchist slogan. Anarchism has arrived. We have penetrated the public consciousness. And all it took was America going full fascist dystopia!

  29. 5 out of 5

    lauraღ

    Nothing ends. It bleeds. 4.5 stars. I'm thrumming with excitement. I love when I finish a book and my mind won't shut up about it; my brain keeps spinning with ideas and theories and turning over all the cutting, delicious, insightful things this had to say. This book landed at the perfect intersections for me; fantasy, folklore, mystery, queerness. It's dense, but told in the perfect way, so I never felt overwhelmed, just eager for every new reveal. Monsters are real, and the world is about t Nothing ends. It bleeds. 4.5 stars. I'm thrumming with excitement. I love when I finish a book and my mind won't shut up about it; my brain keeps spinning with ideas and theories and turning over all the cutting, delicious, insightful things this had to say. This book landed at the perfect intersections for me; fantasy, folklore, mystery, queerness. It's dense, but told in the perfect way, so I never felt overwhelmed, just eager for every new reveal. Monsters are real, and the world is about to find out just how real they are. We're following a diverse cast of characters: a woman who just lost her brother to police violence, her bookstore owning husband, a little boy who's a pawn in ways he doesn't understand, a conspiracy theorist professor, an invisible woman, and several varied shifters. They each have their part to play in the story that unfolds, as the reality of monsters is brought to light in the world. The thread that ties them all together and the way it's revealed is one of the cleverest, coolest things I've ever read; I loved it so much. I can be really picky about POV in books, and all I can say without giving away too much is that I loved the hell out of the way this was told. The story does take some time to find its legs, and the beginning chapters where the reader is in the dark were confusing in a few ways. But never in a frustrating way; I devoured this, and just wanted to know everything about this world. The writing was so sublime; raw and heavy, always packing a punch, but never overwrought or over the top. There are a few scenes and images from this book that keep coming back to me; they were so striking and vivid. In a couple scenes I felt like I was being held by the face and being made to look. I loved it. Even folks who claimed not to believe in God knew not to tempt devils.    I'll probably never stop yelling about how I love seeing dialect used in books, no matter how small or casual; especially when it's a Caribbean dialect. I adored the way USVI culture and folklore played a part in this world, amongst all the other cultural influences that were evident. I especially loved it when it came to the monsters. One of my favourite folklore characters has a role here; I suspected who/what she was from the moment she appeared (so to speak) on page, and I was delighted with pretty much everything she did and said and the type of part she played. I also loved the casual diversity of this; we've got a mostly black and brown cast, and there's all the queer characters, the trans and nonbinary characters, the polyamory. This also talks about activism in a way that clearly calls to mind recent events, but in a far less clumsy way than I've seen other recent books try to do it. It felt firmly rooted in Turnbull's world, but also relatable. Listened to the audiobook as read by Dion Graham, and really loved it. He has one of those universally changeable and (imo) universally pleasing voices. Because of the style of the POV, and all the different characters, this might have been a tricky one to narrate, but Graham handled it perfectly. There are a lot of different accents in this book, and I'm not an expert on any of them, but they sounded great to my ear, and made the experience such an immersive one. This was just such a satisfying read; giving a voice to monsters and marginalised people. It's been a while since I've been this excited to start a new fantasy series; particularly one that isn't even done yet. But this was absolutely gorgeous, really powerful, and I can't wait to see what's next for these characters and this world. Content warnings: (view spoiler)[police violence, gore, death, child abuse, domestic violence (hide spoiler)] . ☆ Review copy provided via the publisher and NetGalley. Thank you! Anything with substance can be manipulated. One becomes ten, then a hundred. And pretty soon, the whole world flaps its wings.     

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I picked this up because after Turnbull's previous novel, THE LESSON, I knew I wanted to see what he did next. I was really pleased to see he's once again writing a speculative novel with great metaphor and theme, set in a world similar to ours but the one big difference here is the existence of human monsters, who have managed to keep themselves quiet until now. I will not lie, the thing that got me, the thing that won me all the way over, was a very carefully laid down sentence or two early on I picked this up because after Turnbull's previous novel, THE LESSON, I knew I wanted to see what he did next. I was really pleased to see he's once again writing a speculative novel with great metaphor and theme, set in a world similar to ours but the one big difference here is the existence of human monsters, who have managed to keep themselves quiet until now. I will not lie, the thing that got me, the thing that won me all the way over, was a very carefully laid down sentence or two early on when what had previously appeared to be a traditional third person narration suddenly switched to first. I will not give any additional details or spoilers except to say that it's clear at that moment that there is more here than meets the eye and oh boy do I love that kind of stuff. I was even more pleased to see how this plays out, sprinkled in occasionally for the first half, and then fully explained in the second in a satisfying way. This is a novel with a complex structure, multiple narratives that eventually tie together, and this can be a very tricky thing to do well. Many novels lose me with this approach, especially if there are a lot of plots and characters and I struggle to keep track. This definitely could have been one of those. There are a lot of stories and a lot of characters and I still can't be 100% sure I remember exactly who all of them are and their whole deal. But Turnbull guides you through so confidently, and everything is rooted in these central themes and specific smaller stories and, most importantly, emotions. I didn't worry about keeping track of everything, I just let myself swim through it and it worked surprisingly well. This isn't trying to hide its themes from you (just like THE LESSON made its themes of colonization quite clear) and there's a lot about that I like. It's clear that monsters are a stand-in for marginalized people, especially marginalized folks whose differences are not visible. Monsters can hide in plain sight in human form. And it feels very right that the cast of characters here is very diverse, including queer women and a trans man among its main characters. There's also some very timely plot points on misinformation and the way society responds to information it doesn't like, hoaxes, etc. I definitely downloaded this without realizing it's the first in a series. It finishes after a big climax but in a moment of transition, which I get is how series work but reminds me of why I usually wait to read series until they are all finished. This can be somewhat gory, it also is sort of Horror I think? Includes police violence, drug use and overdose, suicide.

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