Club Monstrosity (Monstrosity #1)
Published: April 29, 2013 (Pocket Star)
Purchase at: Amazon
Reviewed by: Jo
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
I’m not entirely sure I would have picked up Club Monstrosity if I hadn’t been reviewing it, which would have a huge shame. I would have missed out on a fun, quirky and quite heartwarming story that was unlike anything I’ve read before.
It centers around Natalie Gray, one of Frankenstein’s monsters, and her attendance at Monstofelldosis Anonymous, a support group with a difference. Every week this group of misfits meets to discuss the trials and tribulations of being a supposedly fictional monster trying to stay hidden in modern-day New York City.
Even though they share their deepest secrets with each other, none of the members would consider the others their friends. When one of their group Ellis (the invisible man) is killed the exact same way as his story and another, Bob (the Blob), is missing they soon realize the only way they’re going survive this unknown threat is to open up and trust one another.
The cast of characters in Club Monstrosity is as colorful as the cover. On first meeting the support group each seems to live up the stereotype of their literary alter ego: Dracula is an out-of-touch snob, Jekyll is long suffering whilst Hyde is a psycho, Alec (the werewolf) is a dog when it comes to ladies and has a shaving addiction to name but a few. Natalie just wants to be left to work her job at the morgue (it hides the pesky decomposition smell) and do her best to keep her scars hidden.
It isn’t until the threat of pitchforks and prejudice rears its head once again that they truly start to connect with one another. The plot moves along a brisk pace and I really enjoyed trying to figure out the mystery of the killer alongside the characters. The action is well written and the overall style flows very nicely. The world building isn’t vast, but it does a good job of giving background and I liked the nods to Gothic literary greats.
What stood out to me the most about Club Monstrosity was the relationships. Every member of the group has flaws, some paranormal but also some that were so incredibly human. Each discovers a lost part of him- or herself, whether it’s the ability to forge a friendship, striving to be comfortable in their own body or to open themselves up to the prospect of love. Watching how the dynamics of power shifted as the story goes on was fascinating, especially when it came to Natalie. I loved watching as she began to shed the ‘monster’ stigma she’d carried for years and actually think of herself as a person with hopes and dreams.
On the surface Club Monstrosity is a quirky mystery that pays homage to some of the most famous characters in history. Underneath though is a layered tale of human connection that had me smiling long after I put it down. I’m really excited to see where this series goes in the next installment The Monsters in Your Neighborhood, out July 29th.
Sexual content: Kissing, references to sex