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Mel from Reviews in a Pinch, Ali from No Money 4 Books, and I are all reviewing books on each other’s blogs; this is our second time around. If you’d like to read our first posts, all about Stephen King books, you can find Mel’s review of Firestarter here on my blog, Ali’s review of The Eyes of the Dragon on Mel’s blog, and my review of Doctor Sleep on Ali’s blog.
You can check out today’s reviews by clicking on the links to the blogs above – mine is over at Reviews in a Pinch today!
For this second round, we decided to recommend books that were a little out of the ordinary for each other. Ali and I have very similar tastes in books, so I decided to go out on a wing and suggest Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff. It’s a book I really loved, and it’s even got a lake monster in it, so I figured Ali would enjoy it.
Without further adieu, here she is!
Hello Books Are My Thing readers! I am Ali over at No Money 4 Books and I am very excited to be a guest here today. I typically read and review YA, science fiction, and fantasy books, and I rate all the books I read by what I would be happily willing to pay for them. Here’s my review for Monsters of Templeton, recommended to me by Krystal.
What I’d Pay: $14 (~4.5 stars)
To sum it up: An archaeology graduate student heads home after a disastrous affair, at the same time as a giant prehistoric creature surfaces in the lake near her small hometown.
It took me awhile to warm up to this unique story, but I ended up loving it.
This packs a ton of emotion and history into a complex story that spans different time periods and multiple narrators. It tells the complicated story of one young woman who is researching her own personal ancestry in order to discover the identity of her father, and somehow successfully mixes in her current personal problems and the story of the small town’s history. As the main character discovers bits and pieces about various ancestors, the next chapter is told from that ancestor’s perspective. There are also old pictures of these people at the beginning of each chapter. As the main character fills in the missing gaps in her own genealogy, her family tree gets more and more detailed with each subsequent chapter. I really loved those details in the book because it made it seem so real. Slowly, the truth behind some dramatic decisions and secrets in her own family history, and the history of the town, is revealed.
I will admit that at first I didn’t like the main character at all. I thought she was annoying, harsh, and definitely a little crazy, but she grew on me and I really enjoyed discovering the truth of her family tree along with her. She definitely had a lot to deal with and once she calmed down and focused on her genealogy research, I had more sympathy for her. I loved how there were some supernatural elements woven into the story, such as the friendly but cleanliness-obsessed house ghost and the weird sea monster in the lake. The elements all really worked together to enhance the story and capture the emotion and timelessness of the tale so well. I also really enjoyed that there were answers for the mysteries in her family history, but the main character’s own future was left open to interpretation. This seemed very realistic and hopeful – like there were so many possibilities in the future for her, in contrast with the hopelessness she felt at the beginning of the story. I can’t give away any details, but the final chapter is told from an original narrator that wasn’t present in the rest of the book, and it was a fantastic ending.
I was a bit confused at times by the family tree, but I attribute that to reading the ebook format which makes it difficult to flip around the book and remind myself who’s who as the story progresses. For that reason, I’d recommend an actual physical copy of this book for the most reading enjoyment.
Bottomline: This is one of the most unique stories I’ve ever read, but somehow all the odd supernatural details and different narrators work together and create this amazing journey of a book. It’s not a fast read, but it kept pulling me back in because I wanted to know what happened to all the characters and the writing itself was just beautiful. I will definitely be recommending this to friends of mine, especially those who appreciate a little magical realism and some mystery.
Thanks to Krystal for recommending this one since I never would have picked it up on my own!
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