Title: Ordinary Monsters
Author: J. M. Miro
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
England, 1882. In Victorian London, two children with mysterious powers are hunted by a figure of darkness —a man made of smoke.
Sixteen-year-old Charlie Ovid, despite a lifetime of brutality, doesn’t have a scar on him. His body heals itself, whether he wants it to or not. Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight car, shines with a strange bluish light. He can melt or mend flesh. When two grizzled detectives are recruited to escort them north to safety, they are forced to confront the nature of difference, and belonging, and the shadowy edges of the monstrous.
What follows is a journey from the gaslit streets of London, to an eerie estate outside Edinburgh, where other children with gifts—the Talents—have been gathered. Here, the world of the dead and the world of the living threaten to collide. And as secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities, and the nature of the force that is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.
This took me a long time to read. It’s long, and I didn’t find it very fast-paced, even though there’s a lot going on. I thought it was fairly dark and a bit depressing, and there are echoes of other books I’ve read in there. There were a few loose threads, too, like Alice’s backstory, that just kind of stopped and I didn’t feel were resolved. Possibly for the rest of the trilogy?
J. M. Miro is from the Pacific Northwest. Ordinary Monsters is the first book in The Talents trilogy.
(Galley courtesy of Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.)