3 out of 4 stars
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Monster’s Children by Daniel Hansen caught my eye because of its intriguing title and the stylish artwork on the cover. This novel is classified as sci-fi/ fantasy. However, I would also label it as philosophical fiction since Hansen subtly inserts numerous thought-provoking philosophy lessons throughout the story. Not surprisingly, the author is a philosopher and an artist. He obviously employed skills from both disciplines to write this book, the first installment in The Tricksters’ War Series.
The premise for this story is quite interesting. The “Monster” once roamed the Earth, leaving destruction wherever he went. Hence, the Queen of Order and the Trickster gods allied to defeat him. However, after their victory, the allegiance was dissolved due to differences in world views: The Queen of Order believes that the world should be like a rigid organized system, but the Tricksters believe in being wild and free. This war of ideology has been ongoing for millennials unknown to most humans.
In this novel, the focus is on Jasmine, the newest Chosen of the Spider Trickster, Uazit. The Tricksters and the Queen of Order have chosen ones to champion their cause. Jasmine, nicknamed Jamie throughout the book, must learn to harness the power that Uazit has gifted her to fight in the war. She must also learn to interact with the other chosen children of Uazit (all of Uazit’s chosen are underaged).
I enjoyed reading Monster’s Children. It consisted of 14 chapters and was just a little over 300 pages, so I was able to read it in a few days. I was not able to detect any grammatical or formatting errors, so I must conclude that it was professionally edited. Once again, I make mention of the philosophy lessons, because they were well thought out. Alcibiades (from the First Alcibiades accredited to Plato, may be a key character in this novel). I was really impressed by the level of detail in Hansen’s writing style. There were numerous extended metaphors, emotive words and other literary devices that helped me to create a clear mental picture of the story. The characters also kept their roles consistently throughout the novel and there was still an element of suspense from beginning to the end of the novel.
Unfortunately, some of the strong points in this book can also be classified as weaknesses. There were many instances where the highly detailed writing style, while beautiful, hindered the pace of action scenes. For example, there was a scene where an awesome fight was about to start but I had to read a paragraph about one of the villains’ ‘high-quality suit,’ in the middle of the action. This was not the case for every action scene but there were many other cases where the story would have flowed more smoothly if the level of description was toned down. I was not able to really connect with any of the characters, but this is a subjective point because I have a feeling that other readers may be able to connect with them. Jamie and Nettle (another of Uazit’s children) seemed to be developing a lesbian relationship near the end of the book and this was not appealing to me at all.
In conclusion, I rate Monster’s Children 3 out of 4 stars. I would have given this a perfect rating if the highly detailed writing did not interfere with the enjoyment of several action scenes. I still highly recommend this book to fans of sci-fi/fantasy novels.
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