Author: MarcyKate Connolly
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
The city of Bryre suffers under the magic of an evil wizard. Because of his curse, girls sicken and disappear without a trace, and Bryre's inhabitants live in fear. No one is allowed outside after dark. Yet night is the only time that Kymera can enter this dangerous city, for she must not be seen by humans. Her father says they would not understand her wings, the bolts in her neck, or her spiky tail—they would kill her. They would not understand that she was created for a purpose: to rescue the girls of Bryre. Despite her caution, a boy named Ren sees Kym and begins to leave a perfect red rose for her every evening. As they become friends, Kym learns that Ren knows about the missing girls, the wizard, and the evil magic that haunts Bryre. And what he knows will change Kym's life.
Monstrous is a sweet and fun, and as time goes on, rather sinister, story of magic and science. A tale of monsters and young girls, of good and evil and how they are told apart. A tale about finding our place in the world, whether we exist with a purpose in mind or we discover it along the way.
Kymera is unique. Clever and strong, inquisitive about the world around her because she only knows, only remembers, so much beyond what her father has told her. Because of that, she's filled with a sweet child-like innocence. What reason would she have to question her father? He's been nothing but kind, love. He brought her back to life so the two of them could save the young girls of Bryre. They just want to help. As the book goes on, her honest curiosity battles against her father's control over her. He tells her that no one would understand her, that people would be afraid of her. But she's not sure if that's true, so she's caught between the worlds that push her down and her thoughts of meeting new people. Perhaps making a friend.
But what is Kym, with her human brain and cat eyes and wings and a barbed tail? Is she still human or is she a monster? Can monsters with claws and wings be heroes, saving young girls from certain death? Can monsters grow roses? Is it what's on the inside or only what's on the outside? Kym looks dangerous, she looks like a terrible monster, so she must be dangerous, yes? What this book touches on is how we define who/what is a monster and who/what isn't and how problematic it is to judge people based on their appearances. What will help us determine the truth is knowledge, time, and our own instincts.
The world-building here is so much fun. It's a mixture of fairy tales, fables, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Magic and monsters and a girl brought back to life made up of parts that aren't originally hers. Kym navigates the world as the reader does, learning more and more about what evil plagues Bryre and what must be done in order to save it.
I found this to be a magical story, a sweet tale about a girl who isn't like other girls, one made up of good intentions and a strong need to help and protect others. We can't always be afraid of those who look like monsters, with scaly wings and sharp fangs and long tails, because they could be the bravest and most caring of all.
(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from Edelweiss through HarperCollins.)