Rant Review | Only a Monster (Monsters #1) by Vanessa Len

Title: Only a Monster (Monsters #1) by Vanessa Len

Published: February 17, 2022

Genre(s): fantasy, young adult, romance, paranormal

Read as: physical from FairyLoot

Rating: 1.5

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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. (Goodreads)

Ya’ll, this book was bad. I’m not going to mince words about it. The more I think about it the more reasons I find to dislike it. Is this going to be a rant review? I feel like it is going to be a rant review.

First of all, let’s talk about Joan, our lead female. If you see in the synopsis of this book, she is described as “not the hero.” Okay, I dig that, but it does give you certain expectations. None of those expectations added up to the Joan that was delivered to us. No, this Joan was a whiny, dramatic, rude, self absorbed, want-to-do-gooder. She considered no one’s feelings but her own and spent most of the book having epic, dramatic, shouting breakdowns about not being able to do the good-girl option in situations. And yet, for some reason, two of the male characters liked her. I can’t for the life of me fathom why. I would have dropped her so fast and laughed on my way out. She would have cried and screamed about it because that just seems like her normal reaction to any situation that isn’t sunshine and roses.

Secondly, can we discuss the lack of resolution? Yes, I understand that this is the first book in a trilogy, however, I very much feel that this was written as a standalone and then pushed into a trilogy after the publisher acquired it. The ending of this book is very much written in a “this is it, bye” kind of way which lead me to some very bitter feelings. There are loose ends galore hanging around. There is no emotional resolution to the trauma and you are left feeling highly dissatisfied at the conclusion. There are plot monkeys just jumping around willy-nilly all over the place and none of them are addressed.

Next, can we please talk about the romanticized abuse here because I would love to touch on that. Joan’s Love Interest #1 is played off as Joan’s true love and how the entire world will re-write itself to make sure these two people get together. Okay, but why? He is emotionally and psychologically abusive every step of the way. Why is abuse so often written off as romantic in YA novels? “I hurt you because I love you but I’ve learned my lesson, please come here so I can hurt you some more while gaslighting you into thinking I’m not.” No. Stop this nonsense. He literally chains her to a wall and constantly threatens to kill her but somehow that is love because the cosmos said so. Makes me furious.

In a nutshell, this book was just bad. There are loose ends galore so you don’t truly feel any resolution to the story, the characters are annoyingly painful to read, there are no actual monsters just people with fantasy powers like any other fantasy story, and sweet Jesus the romanticized abuse is the absolute worst. None of that even addresses the horrendous pacing of this story. Very disappointing on almost every single level.

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