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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Book Review - The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon

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Review by Suze

Hel's upper body and face are human, but her legs are those of a corpse. She's the child of a giantess and a god. All she wants is to be loved, but what she gets is the exact opposite. Her brothers are monstrous as well and she dislikes them. She doesn't get to spend much time with them though, as Hel's future has been decided, she's been given a domain to rule by herself. She has to be Queen of the Dead and will have to spend her time with rotting corpses, something she hates. Being consumed by anger and disgust Hel tries to survive in her own kingdom, where she'll have to remain until the end of time, but how long is that exactly?

The Monstrous Child is a beautiful story about mythology, decomposing flesh and complex family relationships. Hel laments, she's negative, she's annoyed and she's miffed. She never has any positive emotions. Francesca Simon writes about this intriguing main character in a fantastic humoristic way. Hel's complaining is always borderline irritating in a good way and that is what constantly made me smile. I absolutely loved her sarcasm and her dissatisfaction. She's a character whose behavior I didn't take literally, instead I took her story with a grain of salt and that's what made me enjoy it even more.

Francesca Simon writes about fantastic mythical creatures in a vivid way. I was instantly fascinated by Hel's dysfunctional family. There are power plays and trickery and exclusion is something Hel knows everything about. I sometimes pitied her and felt sad for her, but her difficult personality made it impossible to sympathize with her. That's another thing I liked about this story, Hel is someone to dislike, but I really enjoyed reading about her and constantly felt conflicted. That kept me on my toes and I think Francesca Simon's ability to play with these opposites and stay in control is quite a skillful achievement.

The Monstrous Child is a fabulous creative story. I loved Francesca Simon's gorgeous writing. Her sentences have a nice flow and she's great at choosing the exact right words for her descriptions. That made the story come to life very well. She even manages to describe Hel's colorless surroundings, where everything is dark, dead and decayed, in a colorful way. The Monstrous child is unusual, it's filled with surprises and unexpected twists and turns. I had a lot of fun reading this captivating story.


The Monstrous Child is a fabulous read for both children and adults. It's part of a series, but can easily be read as a standalone. It's a great choice for readers who like monsters, mythology and sarcasm.


  1. It sounds amazing! I love the description, thanks for sharing the book.

  2. Wow this sounds really intriguing!!! Sounds like something my teenage daughter might like as well!

  3. This sounds like a very unique story!

  4. A little snark is good in horror!


  5. Oh wow. This is definitely my kind of book. And I especially like the mix of mythology and creepiness. Awesome cover too! And I enjoy some snark. Keeps it real. LOL

  6. Wow, thanks for sharing that with us. I'd love to read it with my daugter.

  7. very different from what i usually read, thank you for the review and discovery. it's great that it can be read as standalone

  8. I like different retellings of mythical stories.

  9. This sounds brilliant. Francesca Simon is an amazing author. Horrid Henry and Don't Cook Cinderella are firm favourites with my students.

  10. By the sounds of it Ms. Simon has done it again!