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Monster by C.J. Skuse - Book Review

 Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Good Morning folks! (It's probably not morning in the UK but bear with I'm in Florida ok?). Today I am MASSIVELY excited to say that I have a BOOK REVIEW for y'all! This is probably the first review I've done on here since Seraphina in 2012 so yea... it's kinda a big deal for me anyway. I've been sitting on this review since APRIL because the book as you may already know from the post title is only now coming out this week! So at last I can share some of my feels with you.

Title: Monster
Author: C.J. Skuse
Release Date: 24th September 2015
Source: ARC borrowed from JessHeartsBooks who had received it for review from MIRAInk
Synopsis: At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild. Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive. (Taken from Goodreads)

My Review
 Advisory – This review contains a good dollop of swearing. The book itself also contains a fair amount of swearing and violence so if that’s not your thing then consider yourself warned.

I was able to read this months ahead of it's release date thanks to my dear Twinnie Jess but it's kinda been killing me that I couldn't really talk about Monster until now - spoilers dontcha know? Frankly this is one of those books where it’s best for sheer enjoyment of the story if you don’t know much beyond the fact that there are a group of girls who are the last students to leave the Bathory School for Girls before Christmas when a massive snowstorm rolls in and then well... shit gets fucked up from there.

One of the many things I love about CJ’s books is that every single one is completely different from the last. Some authors keep to a similar genre for all of their work but with CJ it’s a delightful lottery every time I get my grubby mitts on a new book. Her debut Pretty Bad Things (my review) was a riotous candy crime-spree through Vegas; Rockaholic was full of hilarious hijinks following an accidental rockstar kidnapping; Dead Romantic was a macabre FrankenRomance whereas Monster is an adrenaline-drenched thriller with a good dose of Baskervillian terror to keep you up at night.

Our main girl Nash has quite a lot on her plate at the start of the book; she’s working her raspberry socks off trying to impress the headmistress enough to win the Head Girl badge, trying to juggle all the pre-Christmas insanity on top of her newest worries for her big brother Seb who’s gone missing in Colombia. Oh yeah and then there’s that troubling incident where she might have seen the legendary Beast of Bathory. Not that she believes in it. ‘Course not because that would be fucking ludicrous.

I read this waaay back at the start of April (For reasons that people who have seen my review of Pretty Bad Things will understand) and I devoured the whole thing in one sitting. I love a good boarding school story and when you mix the isolation brought on by the blizzard, the group of girls from different cliques with their own secrets causing mischief, plus the menace of a wild beast roaming the snow, you have the perfect recipe for knuckle-biting tension and no sleep.

Even in the midst of heightening drama and the increasing terror that something awful will happen to someone you’re very much attached to, CJ still managed to stop me in my tracks with a line that cut to the core of why I read her books around April 7th and that really encapsulates a lot of the book. That being the idea that the monsters you can’t fight are the worst monsters of all.

Suffice it to say, I was utterly clueless about how this book would end and HOO BOY was I left mind-blown and suitably awed. This is without a doubt C.J.’s best book so far and one that I plan to get my greedy hands on and re-read nearer to Halloween for all the creep-tastic chills and spine-tingling shudders.

You want a hair-raising boarding school thriller to keep you flipping pages well into the night? Go wrangle yourself a copy of Monster. Trust me, you’ll be sorry that you didn’t. 

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Whew! Thank god I've finally got all that off my chest! In all seriousness I can't overstate my appreciation for C.J.'s books in all their blunt, snarky, awesomeness. Even 4 years after my grandad's death I'm still finding comfort and distraction in her words. It might be a little weird to associate a reading experience with such a devastating event but as J.K Rowling wrote "words are our greatest source of magic" and it just so happened that C.J.'s were the words that helped me deal with a very difficult time. I am so grateful for her books for that reason.

A slight side-note that made me even happier about reading Monster - in the arc version (will have to see with the finished book) on the inside of the FRONT cover is a quote from ME! My review of Pretty Bad Things is quoted!! It is as In the Library of LadyViolet but it's me all the same! The same quote was in the back of Dead Romantic as well so now that's two books that I've been quoted in! Considering how I've never been a really "big" blogger it is something I find really exciting.

Anyway before the day runs away from me I shall be off.
What did you think to the review?

Ray x


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