Review: Only A Monster by Vanessa Len

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

Then a Good Samaritan attempt gone wrong sends Joan spinning through time, and her life quickly begins to unravel. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.

Only A Monster follows Joan, a teenage girl who is from a family of monsters, thrown into a brand-new world of monster families rivalries, newfound enemies, guttering betrayals and a journey of self discovery that promises her life will never be the same again.

This was a rollercoaster experience! It’s a fast paced YA debut packed with time travel, mysterious magic, an ominous overlord that gate keeps time and star-crossed lovers.

My favourite thing about Only A Monster was the juxtaposition of, just maybe, it can be monsters who are good of heart, and the heroes of our beloved tales being a villain in disguise. It makes you question what makes someone a hero and what makes someone a villain. The story has so much going on, it feels high-stakes, it feels exhilarating yet remains a light read with good humour throughout.

And the romance! I don’t know who I’m supporting for endgame. We definitely have a team Nick and team Aaron situation here. On one hand there is the starcrossed lovers, and on the other hand, there’s the delightfully sarcastic but a true soft boy, who definitely appears to habour deeper feelings for Joan. I can’t wait to see how everybody else reacts to this possible triangle… Either way, it’ll be fun to see how it all works out.

Towards the end, it reminded me of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series, which I don’t want to expand on for fear of spoilers, but there’s a good chance fans of that series will like this. All in all, Only A Monster is a fun debut and the world Vanessa Len has created is exciting – I can’t wait to learn more in the sequel!

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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