If I had to pick just one paranormal creature to read about, it would probably be witches. Unfortunately for me, a recent Top 5 Wednesday topic already covered books with witches so it was a bit of a struggle to find another favourite that I had read more than one or two books about. I enjoy paranormal stories but I haven’t read too many of them because so many seem very similar to Twilight. I decided to go with books about monsters since they seem to be a kind of creature that don’t get as much attention as vampires, ghosts or werewolves. It may be a bit of a cheat in a sense, since I’ve always thought of monster as a fairly broad term covering most paranormal creatures. Here are five books about monsters that I’ve read and enjoyed.
Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.
1) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This was the first book that came to mind when I decided to write about books about monsters. This book still resonates as one of the strongest books that I read last year, which I devoured in one sitting. It is about a young boy named Conor who has frightening nightmares about a monster while dealing with his mother’s cancer treatments. Conor wakes up to find the monster outside his window, who visits him each night. This is an incredible, raw and emotional book, especially for something aimed toward a middle grade audience. It is one of the few books that has genuinely made me cry. The illustrations are stunning, and the story is so well-written.
2) This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
I read this book earlier this year, and it quickly became a favourite. It takes place in a city where people’s cruel and violent acts create real monsters. The book focuses on Kate, the daughter of powerful man who lets monsters roam free and forces people to pay for protection from them, and August, a monster who does not want to be one. This was the first book by Victoria Schwab that I have ever read, and I was very impressed with her writing style. I thought it was really interesting how this book incorporated several different kinds of monsters, and especially the whole element of how people (and monsters) can choose whether to behave like monsters. I always tend to love characters who have these kinds of shades of grey, and I can’t wait to read the next one.
3) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I couldn’t possibly make a list of monster books without including this classic. As I’m sure most people know from all the versions of this over the years, this book is about a creature cobbled together from other people’s remains by Dr. Victor Frankenstein. As soon as the creature is brought to life, Dr. Frankenstein is horrified by what he has done and abandons it, causing the creature to wander the world to find a place where he might belong, becoming more angry and vengeful the more he is rejected. I was a little hesitant to read this book after already being so familiar with the basic story. I ended up really enjoying it. The book is quite different from the many versions we see in the movies, but it is still a powerful story.
4) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
This is probably one of the earliest monster books most children read. I actually barely remember reading it as a child and I don’t think I was a huge fan of it, but I reread it again as an adult for my children’s literature class and I loved it. This book is about a little boy named Max who gets into trouble at home and is sent to his room. While there, a forest grows and a boat comes to take Max to a place where the “wild things” are, where he immediately decides he will be their king and starts a huge party. Unlike other monster stories, this is definitely not a scary book. It is actually a very sweet story that shows how even when children behave like wild animals, their parents still care about them. I’m glad I gave this book another chance.
5) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Most people think of the peculiar children when they think of this series, but there are also some pretty creepy monsters involved. The book features two main kinds of monsters: wights and hollowgasts, both of which are strange creatures that attack Peculiars to consume their souls. The hollowgasts were the more obvious monsters, especially frightening because they are invisible to Peculiars, but the Wights were even more creepy in a way because they look so human and can shapeshift easily, making them very difficult to detect in what may be an even scarier way. As disturbing as invisible monsters are, the idea of monsters hiding out in plain sight as humans is just as creepy! This is not a book I would necessarily consider a monster story, but they definitely play a key role.