Review: The Monster Who Wasn’t

Published by Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 8th August 2019
Illustrator: Claire Powell

I absolutely adored this extraordinary story, full of wonderful characters, rich description and powerful messages relating to identity, familial bonds and belonging.  It wholeheartedly captured my imagination as it took me on a riveting rollercoaster of fast-paced action through a series of tantalising twists and turns which astounded and delighted me.

Deep down in The Hole, a monster has been hatched by the Ogre King, formed from the last regretful sigh of a dying man, and the first gurgling laugh of his grandchild.  What hatches is an enigma:  nothing from the known bestiary of monsters, but a young boy, with a heart and a soul.  The boy has been created for a sinister purpose, but will he have the strength and courage to fight against his destiny?

When he draws the keen and hungry attention of King Thunderguts, the ruler of the monsters, and his crone, he makes a desperate escape from the pandemonium that ensues.  During his escape, he encounters three gargoyles:  Wheedle, Bladder and Spigot.  The relationship between the boy and the gargoyles is incredibly heart-warming as these gruff, kind-hearted creatures make him a part of their pack and give him a sense of belonging.  They are hiding a secret of their own which, if revealed, would see them even more despised by the monsters than they already are.  It also explains their kindness, humour, loyalty and protectiveness towards the boy – and possibly their love of chocolate!

The diverse collection of monsters, who have their own hierarchy, are richly imagined and described in horribly delightful detail, striking a perfect balance between the scary and the grotesque. 

The aching vulnerability and innocence which radiates from the boy as he grapples with some of life’s big questions relating to identity and belonging is very touching:  Who am I?  Where do I belong?  As he begins to find answers, the reader is drawn into some amazing twists and unexpected discoveries which makes this a book which I found impossible to put down.   

Thank you to Toppsta Book Giveaways and Bloomsbury Kids for a copy in return for an honest review of the book.

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