Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Monster" by Mirriam Neal {book review}

So, many of y'all have probably heard about this new novel by teen author Mirriam Neal.

When I first discovered it, and read the short little synopsis/back cover bit, my interest was instantly hooked.

I really reaaaaallly wanted to flip through it and see what it was about, so I asked Mirriam if she wouldn't mind me doing a review on Monster. I was so excited when she approved my request! Besides getting to read through an awesome book, and getting to share it with y'all, this is my first book review on this blog! Whoop!

   Let me first say that I'm always interested in seeing novels that are written by young people/teens, being a young adult myself. It's always inspiring to see what can be matter how young/old you are! (1 Timothy 4:12)

Okay, so on to the review. First of all though, you need to read a bit about this book so you can understand this review better. Here's the back cover snippet:

The year is 2053, and Eva Stewart is a promising young scientist assigned to a remote Alaskan facility. Here she will work for WorldCure, a global organization dedicated to finding the cure for fatal diseases. Soon she is made a Handler and designated her own Subject for research and experimentation. However, Thirteen is not what she expected, and Eva is soon drawn into a horrific plot kept quiet by WorldCure. As everything she thought she knew collapses around her, Eva must discover the truth behind her Subject, her beliefs…and herself.

Dramatic, huh? Exaaactly. And it only gets better.

I literally read this book in two days. I stayed up till' 4 in the morning because I simply could. not. stop. I kid you not, I'd have kept on reading if not for the fact that, well, it was 4 in the morning and my body was crying out for sleep. The next day, as soon as I got home from work I started reading again in and finished the whole thing in a couple hours.

You know a book is good when you can't abandon reading it till' you're finished with it.


The very beginning chapters pulled me in instantly. There was not a stand-still moment in the entire thing, and not once did I find myself bored with it.
The plot itself was really intriguing, and while some things I was expecting, there were events that totally blew me out of the water, leaving me speechless and completely shocked.


Mirriam lists Monster under Bioethics/Semi-Dystopic/Suspense/Thriller/Romance for genre.
I agree with this classification, the story certainly fits on each of those levels. If there was a level that least applied I might say semi-dystopian, because really the only thing that makes it feel anywhere near dystopian is the WorldCure facility and non-human act. Elsewise it feels like a modern contemporary for the most part.

It's definitely one of the best thrillers I've read. And, the bioethics part was phenomenal in so many ways. Suspense...I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, so obviously it didn't flunk that aspect! The romance side of it? Oh. my. word. One of the best romances I've read recently.
I don't want to give away any spoilers but I'll just say that I found Mir's and Eva's relationship so incredibly perfect and immensely sweet. Gah, my heartstrings. The whole romance both broke my heart and touched me at the same time... Let's just leave it with this. I reallllly hope those two get married.


AHHHH... first of all, yes, Mir was perfect. I wanted to cry for him, hug him and cheer him on in many places. His childlike innocence... I have no words to describe it. He is overall a beautiful character and definitely one not easily forgotten.
Eva is a bit hard to relate with at times, and I wish more of her backstory had been expounded on. However, I still like her a lot - she becomes more likable as the book progresses.
Pocky, oh he was darling. Eva is privileged to get a Christian professor in her life like him!
As far as antagonists go, Dr. Ross, Jude, and the wonderful folks at HRI just made my stomach churn. It didn't take long before I despised them just as much as the protagonists did, themselves.


  Description of setting wasn't horrible, but I just wish there'd been a bit more. I love details, myself; and since I've never been to Alaska I'd have loved to have read a bit more concerning the Alaskan setting here. The actual setting itself I found pretty cool -  if you'll pardon the pun.

Underlying Theme(s):

I know that this is simply my own interpretation, but I found Monster to be extremely pro-life - which I appreciated highly. I found many things concerning WorldCure, Mir and the non-human act among others, to relate to things of the current times... Abortion, euthanasia, and racism, for example.
Many excellent arguments for the sanctity of human life were provided in this novel, in an extremely non-preachy way. I really loved the conversations between Eva and Pocky concerning what defines human life. The trial at the end was superb.
What is human life and who defines human life were both questions that pushed the entire plot, in my eyes; honestly I think this fact alone is one of my favorite things about Monster.


1. The plot was epic. 2. The characters were, for the most part, deep and full of character/the opposite of just plain characterizations. 3. Setting was good. 4. I loved the genre, and 5., the underlying theme was terrific.
Overall this book was excellent, excellent, excellent. I'm a huge fan, and firmly believe this book should be read by 98% of folks in today's society and culture. People need to read this kind of thing. Maybe it would get them thinking about things they never deemed very important...such as the basic question: what defines humanity?
As far as writing style goes, Mirriam might as well have dropped me smack dab into the book, into the direct world of her characters, because that's where I felt I was the whole time. I felt Mir's bitterness and pain; I felt anger for his needless suffering and cruel surroundings. I sympathized with Eva, a seeker of truth but equally lost on where to go to find it. I felt my eyebrows knitting together in hatred at the horrific things being called 'humane' and 'normal' in Eva and Mir's world.

Yes, Monster was brilliant. I lie not.

All I can say now is...I sure hope there's going to be a sequel!

{Get your own copy of Monster here.}

Note: I was provided an E-copy of Monster in exchange for my honest review. All opinions remain mine and mine alone and I never employ flattery or falsehood in my reviews.


  1. I ordered this book on the day it came out.I can't wait to read it. Thank you for writing a review on it. I can say from reading some of the stuff on Miriam's blog that she is an amazing writer.