Saturday 9 May 2020

Book Review: Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna (Fantasy)

Title: Monstrous Heart
Author: Claire McKenna
Harper Voyager
Publication Date: 2 April 2020
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley


When Arden Beacon is sent to the lighthouse, she is simply a woman with a job to do. She neither seeks, nor expects, distraction. After years tainted by disappointment, Arden is finally taking up her family’s profession. She must prove herself worthy of her name, for she has nothing else.

But the coast she has been tasked with lighting is far from the world she knows – the salt-swept, backwater town of Vigil is battered by a sea teeming with colossal, ancient beasts. It is a place of secrets, rumours and tight-lipped expectations of a woman’s place.

More than anyone, the folk of Vigil whisper about Arden’s new neighbour, Jonah Riven, hunter of leviathans. He murdered his wife, they whisper – a perfect, golden girl, full of charm and potential. So very different to Arden Beacon.

They say he is as much a monster as his prey, but Arden cannot get this dark stranger out of her head. 

Monstrous Heart is a book with a great premise, and that's what made me what to read it. However, it never quite came together for me. The prose was flowery and verbose, but little of it contributed to the world building, which felt underdeveloped. I had so many questions about the setting and background to the story that were never answered. I also struggled to relate to the romance element, which seemed to come out of nowhere and be more lust than love. I've no objection to sex scenes in books when they are meaningful, and the first one did work well, but subsequent occurrences seemed unnecessary, as they didn't add anything to the story or characters. I think there is a great story concept buried in this work, but the execution of that story left me cold. I'd opened the first page wanting to be caught up in the promised dark, Gothic romance, but it never happened. For me this is 3-star read. I thought there was a lot of potential, despite the obvious flaws, and I am sure some readers will take to this work more than I did.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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