Monday, 3 September 2018

Book Review: The Monsters We Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick (Literary Fiction)

Title: The Monsters We Deserve
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher:
Zephyr - Head of Zeus

Publication Date: 6 September 2018
Pages:
140
Format:
eBook - EPUB
Genre:
Literary Fiction
Source:
ARC via NetGalley

 


'Do monsters always stay in the book where they were born? Are they content to live out their lives on paper, and never step foot into the real world?'

The Villa Diodati, on the shore of Lake Geneva, 1816: the Year without Summer. As Byron, Polidori, and Mr and Mrs Shelley shelter from the unexpected weather, old ghost stories are read and new ghost stories imagined. Born by the twin brains of the Shelleys is Frankenstein, one of the most influential tales of horror of all time.

In a remote mountain house, high in the French Alps, an author broods on Shelley's creation. Reality and perception merge, fuelled by poisoned thoughts. Humankind makes monsters; but who really creates who? This is a book about reason, the imagination, and the creative act of reading and writing. Marcus Sedgwick's ghostly, menacing novel celebrates the legacy of Mary Shelley's literary debut in its bicentenary year.


The Monsters We Deserve certainly offers something different. I can't say what I was expecting, but I can confirm what I got caught me by surprise. At first I found that a tad jarring; however, I was soon sucked in to both story and concept, so my initial reaction no longer matter. The Monsters We Deserve is an intriguing idea, and it offers some interesting thoughts on the nature of creation and how characters can take on lives of their own, independent of the author's original intent, fuelled by the imaginations of the story's readers. The link with Frankenstein worked well for the most part, and I enjoyed the author's thoughts on that book, and how they connected to his own ideas, gradually changing alongside his experiences in the cabin. I didn't find the conclusion of the piece completely satisfying, and the use of incorrect punctuation here and there made me frown. Nonetheless, this was a thought-provoking and original work, and for that I commend the author.

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