Only a Monster
Author: Vanessa Len
Pages: 416 pages
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: 22nd February 2022
Rating: 5 Stars!
With the sweeping romance of Passenger and the dark fantasy edge of This Savage Song, this standout YA contemporary fantasy debut from Vanessa Len, is the first in a planned trilogy.
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.
But she soon learns the truth. 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.
Thank you to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton, and the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I did not want this one to end! I loved it so much and the story felt so addictive and has me needing the sequel right now!
Joan is spending the summer in London with her late mother’s family, she has a job at Holland House, which she loves, and a date with her super cute co-worker, Nick. Except before Nick can arrive, Joan somehow travels to later in the evening. Once she returns home, her Gran informs her that she is a monster, and their whole family have the ability to travel to different times by taking time from humans. The next day, she returns to work to apologise to Nick for missing their date. After a strange turn of events, it’s revealed that Nick is a monster slayer, or, the hero. He vows to kill every monster, including Joan if she ever takes time from a human again.
‘If you ever steal time from a human again, I will kill you myself.’
Joan is then on the run and meets Aaron, who takes them to the nineties, where they can hide out and get their bearings together. Despite being a monster her whole life, Joan has only just found out, and has no idea how to use her powers and the ability to travel. Let me tell you I adored Aaron, the tension between these two characters had me swooning and I was obsessed. Aaron is from an enemy/rival monster family, the Oliver’s, and they do not get along with the Hunt’s, Joan’s family. But he seems to make exceptions for Joan and even shields her from his family in the earlier time period.
‘You’re a hero and I’m a monster. There’s only one way that story ever ends.’
This plot felt so unique! It’s not often you read a book that makes you root for the supposed villains, but this one definitely does! Whilst the characters are morally grey, to travel they have to take time from a human’s life, you can’t help but fall for them. This plot had me hooked to the book and I couldn’t put it down. I’m desperate to know what happens next and gutted that the sequel isn’t out for another year! I am a sucker for romance, but this was a slow, slow burn, so slow that it’s mainly just tension and stolen looks, but I’m ready for the sequel!
If anyone reads this book, please talk to me about it. It’s definitely one of my favourites so far this year!