A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS | Shaun Hamill
09.17.2019 | Pantheon Books
Rating: 5/5 stars
Noah Turner has a secret he has held close since he was a young boy. He sees monsters and has befriended one for many years. Noah’s father saw them as well. He went on to build an entire immersive horror experience called The Wandering Dark as an homage to the monsters he saw. The themes within this exhibition have in equal measure brought the Turner family wealth and happiness while also tearing them apart.
This is the story of an outside force impacting the fate of a family. At the center of this tale is Noah and his monster and how their relationship affects the rest of the Turner family.
Love and a simple life. This is the real magic.
A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS is part horror, part speculative fiction, and part fantasy. It is also a story of family interaction and how everything we do impacts those around us. I’ve kept the synopsis vague because I feel that it’s a story that needs to be experienced without too many hints to what may happen.
At the core of this book is Noah Turner, who is telling us the story of his family. We actually aren’t introduced to Noah until later into the book when he is born, as the book launches with how his parents meet. This gives the reader a unique connection to Noah as we experience not only how he views himself, but also how he views his family’s history. I loved getting to know everyone through Noah’s eyes. He has a true sense of honesty for those around him as well as himself.
…life makes monsters of everyone, but it’s always possible to come back. Pain and death are real, but so are love, and family, and forgiveness.
The structure of this story is uniquely assembled. While the narrative is coming from Noah, as mentioned before, it is broken into parts that are essentially dedicated to specific family members or events from the family’s history. There are at times large time shifts between the parts, which helps to accelerate the story much faster into present-day Noah and how he came to be writing the story of his family. At the end of each section there is also a section featuring a script. At first these threw me off, as they feature an alternate timeline and location, however, as you read more of the script you start to understand their presence in the story and how they link to real-world events.
A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS is not a book that I would place in any one single genre. There is an overarching element of horror to the story, which seems obvious when you know you’re walking into a book about monsters. The horror is not straightforward in the sense that you’re reading a book of jump scares. What Hamill gives the reader is much deeper with side of mild gore in some parts of the book. I recommend this story to anyone open to trying something a bit outside of the norm. This is a wonderful, weird, and visceral story that belongs on any TBR!
Disclosure: A huge thank you to Pantheon Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.