Friday, April 17, 2020

Review - Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna

Title: Monstrous Heart
Author: Claire McKenna
Pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2nd April 2020

Blurb from Goodreads: 

A sensational debut novel perfect for fans of Outlander and The Binding. This is gothic, epic, romantic fantasy at it’s very best; a tale of magic, intrigue on dangerous waters and a love story for the ages.

When Arden Beacon is sent to the lighthouse, she is simply a woman with a job to do. She neither seeks, nor expects, distraction. After years tainted by disappointment, Arden is finally taking up her family’s profession. She must prove herself worthy of her name, for she has nothing else.

But the coast she has been tasked with lighting is far from the world she knows – the salt-swept, backwater town of Vigil is battered by a sea teeming with colossal, ancient beasts. It is a place of secrets, rumours and tight-lipped expectations of a woman’s place.

More than anyone, the folk of Vigil whisper about Arden’s new neighbour, Jonah Riven, hunter of leviathans. He murdered his wife, they whisper – a perfect, golden girl, full of charm and potential. So very different to Arden Beacon.

They say he is as much a monster as his prey, but Arden cannot get this dark stranger out of her head.

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Harper Collins UK and NetGalley*

Tending to lighthouses runs in Arden Beacon's family because of the family gift. With her own power a weak one, Arden isn't planning on staying at the lighthouse in the small seaside town of Vigil for long.

Life in Vigil is very different to what Arden is used to - the sea is home to gigantic sea monsters and the town is full of secrets and whispers of Arden's new neighbour, who supposedly murdered his own wife.

Can Arden survive in Vigil?

Is Arden's neighbour as monstrous as everyone claims he is?

Monstrous Heart first came to my attention at YALC, a young adult convention, but it is most certainly not a young adult book as the main character is in her late twenties and there are some graphic scenes.

The world of Monstrous Heart was an interesting one - the powers were intriguing and I liked the idea of there being sea creatures such as kraken. The bloodlines/powers being controlled by an organisation was a bit scary, and I thought it was awful that they could decide whether or not you were allowed to marry someone.

Arden was a mixed protagonist for me, as there were times when I liked and felt sorry for her, and times when I didn't care what happened to her. I actually preferred Chalice, Arden's 'stormbride' (lighthouse assistant), to Arden herself.

The romance was not one of my favourites as I didn't feel the connection between them. It just felt like they were both lonely to me.

The plot was quite slow going at times and not much actually happened. I found the first half more interesting, and my attention did wander more than once throughout the second half of the book. There were a couple of twists that I didn't see coming, but they didn't have the impact they should have because I wasn't invested in what was happening.

For me, the writing style was the main reason I struggled with the book - I found it hard to get into and hard to connect with the characters and storyline because of that.

I feel like Monstrous Heart didn't reach its potential for me, and I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy it more.

Overall, this was an okay read.

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