Book Review:  Monsters Born and Made, by Tanvi Berwah

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TitleMonsters Born and Made     
Author:  Tanvi Berwah  
Genre: Fantasy, YA   
Rating:  4.2 out of 5

Sixteen-year-old Koral and her older brother Emrik risk their lives each day to capture the monstrous maristags that live in the black seas around their island. They have to, or else their family will starve.

In an oceanic world swarming with vicious beasts, the Landers―the ruling elite, have indentured Koral’s family to provide the maristags for the Glory Race, a deadly chariot tournament reserved for the upper class. The winning contender receives gold and glory. The others―if they’re lucky―survive.

When the last maristag of the year escapes and Koral has no new maristag to sell, her family’s financial situation takes a turn for the worse and they can’t afford medicine for her chronically ill little sister. Koral’s only choice is to do what no one in the world has ever dared: cheat her way into the Glory Race.

But every step of the way is unpredictable as Koral races against contenders―including her ex-boyfriend―who have trained for this their whole lives and who have no intention of letting a low-caste girl steal their glory. When a rebellion rises and rogues attack Koral to try and force her to drop out, she must choose―her life or her sister’s―before the whole island burns.

She grew up battling the monsters that live in the black seas, but it couldn’t prepare her to face the cunning cruelty of the ruling elite.

I enjoyed this read a lot!  The culture this is set in is very dark and depressing—basically hopeless—and Koral’s struggles to save her family were set amidst that darkness. Though dark, the culture is vividly portrayed, with hints at centuries of history that hide many secrets. Of course this story will draw Hungry Games comparisons  because of its very nature, but I found it compelling in its own right.

Tanvi Berwah graduated from the university of Delhi. Monters Born and Made is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.)

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