Publisher: MIRA Ink
Release: 24th September 2015
Genre: UKYA, Thriller
Source: Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits.
As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild.
Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive."
Monster is a gripping mystery driven YA thriller that builds in ferocity with the turn of each page. The book starts off with a slower pace as C.J. Skuse sets the scene with a contemporary Hogwarts- esque type boarding school, an isolated snowy landscape and legend of a killer beast prowling in the school’s grounds.
There is so much intrigue and mystery surrounding the Beast of Bathory that as a reader I was never sure what to believe. I mainly read this at night before bed which was a poor life choice on my part! This book properly freaked me out and played on my mind at times. It’s perfect for fans of James Dawson or anyone looking for a good Halloween read.
The book follows Nash and a group of other girls, some who she’s friendly with and others who she’s not, as they stay behind at boarding school over the Christmas break and things start to go very, very wrong. Once again C.J has created a group of characters who read like real teenagers which is one of the many things that I love about her as a writer. In true C.J fashion there is buckets of hilarious banter between the group – even when things are looking ominous. My personal favourite of the girls was Maggie, an absolute cracker of a character who delivers the best one-liners at the most inappropriate times.
Monster is on point with its plotting - all too often with thrillers I find myself left with loose ends and questions but everything has a place here that is revealed throughout the book rather than with a rushed explanation at the end which I really liked.
Overall Monster was a wickedly scary read with a dash of C.J’s trademark humour that takes a look at the different types of monsters in the world and shows that sometimes a monster isn’t born, sometimes a monster is made.