MON­STER

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Sarah Dobbs

The beast within re­leased OUT NOW! 318 pages | Pa­per­back/ Ebook

Au­thor CJ Skuse

Pub­lisher MIRA Ink

Hav­ing to spend Christ­mas

at school is a hor­ri­fy­ing prospect. Hav­ing to spend it with a bunch of mis­fits you don’t know or like is even worse. But for six pupils of Bathory School, it’s about to get prop­erly night­mar­ish. There’s a killer on the loose, and the list of sus­pects in­cludes a con­victed mur­derer and a mys­te­ri­ous black cat known as the Beast of Bathory. Plus the ma­tron has dis­ap­peared, along with all their mo­bile phones, and out­side the snow shows no sign of stop­ping…

Mon­ster piles on the peril un­til the odds are se­ri­ously stacked against the girls – even if they do dis­play Enid Bly­ton lev­els of re­source­ful­ness. The mys­tery is en­gag­ing, the re­la­tion­ships be­tween the var­i­ous dif­fer­ent teens are in­ter­est­ing, and there’s even a bit of ro­mance thrown in for good mea­sure.

But while it’s nice to see a less- than- per­fect Young Adult hero­ine, Mon­ster’s Nash has some se­ri­ous flaws that are never re­ally ad­dressed. And just when it looks like she’s start­ing to re­alise some­thing’s wrong, the book comes to a crash­ing end. It’s such an an­ti­cli­max that it feels like the last chap­ter got ac­ci­den­tally deleted and the pub­lish­ers were hop­ing that no one would no­tice.

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