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Book: “Ordinary Monsters: by J.M. Miro
Publishing Info: Flatiron Books, June 2022
Book Description: England, 1882. In Victorian London, two children with mysterious powers are hunted by a figure of darkness —a man made of smoke.
Sixteen-year-old Charlie Ovid, despite a lifetime of brutality, doesn’t have a scar on him. His body heals itself, whether he wants it to or not. Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight car, shines with a strange bluish light. He can melt or mend flesh. When two grizzled detectives are recruited to escort them north to safety, they are forced to confront the nature of difference, and belonging, and the shadowy edges of the monstrous.
What follows is a journey from the gaslit streets of London, to an eerie estate outside Edinburgh, where other children with gifts—the Talents—have been gathered. Here, the world of the dead and the world of the living threaten to collide. And as secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities, and the nature of the force that is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.
With lush prose, mesmerizing world-building, and a gripping plot, “Ordinary Monsters” presents a catastrophic vision of the Victorian world—and of the gifted, broken children who must save it.
I always love it when I can find books that cross over two (or more!) genres that I enjoy. It’s the reason why most of the mystery novels I read/review for this blog are also historical pieces and not modern murder mysteries. Much of the fantasy I read, however, is second-world fantasy, meaning the entire setting, time period, and culture is unique to the story. But there’s a pretty solid subgenre of historical fantasy, stories that simply recreate a time and place and add a dash of magic to the entire affair.
Reading through this description, “Ordinary Monsters” essentially sounds like Victorian “X-Men” if you ask me. And who’s not interested in that?! Of course, my usual wariness of large casts of characters is at play, but there are some solid examples of ensemble stories, so hopefully this is one of those!
Per the usual, my review for this book will be up Friday. But don’t wait until then to get in on the chance to win a copy of this book! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on June 14.