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The Monsters of Rookhaven Hardcover – September 21, 2021
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“A stunning book...a brand new take on the monster story.” ―Eoin Colfer, international bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series
From award-winning author Pádraig Kenny comes an action-packed middle grade fantasy about a family of monsters, perfect for fans of Jonathan Auxier and Victoria Schwab.
Mirabelle is part of a very unusual family. Between Uncle Bertram transforming into a ferocious grizzly bear and Aunt Eliza’s body being made entirely of spiders, it’s safe to say they are an extraordinary lot.
To the human residents of Rookhaven Village, the family is a threat. So long ago, a treaty was reached between them―in return for sundries and supplies, the monsters won’t eat the townspeople―and an invisible glamour was set around the perimeter of the Manor to keep strangers out.
But the glamour serves a second purpose: to keep Mirabelle and her family hidden from those who would do them harm. When two orphans―siblings Jem and Tom―stumble upon a tear in the magical field and open a door that was meant to stay locked, Mirabelle and her family are put in grave danger. A very real monster has locked onto their scent, and he has a hunger for their kind.
At turns chilling and thought-provoking, and stunningly illustrated by Edward Bettison, Pádraig Kenny’s The Monsters of Rookhaven explores difference and empathy through the eyes of characters you won’t soon forget.
“A magnificent, shadowy, gothic adventure full of heart.” ―Emma Carroll, author of When We Were Warriors
“Unique, thrilling and moving...with its timely―yet timeless―message of choosing empathy over fear, The Monsters of Rookhaven is proof that Pádraig Kenny is one of the best children's writers around.” ―Shane Hegarty, author of Darkmouth
“[A] totally absorbing tale, where the most fearsome monster is one that reveals everyone’s deepest fears to all the others.” ―Guardian
“A wildly imaginative story...a triumph.” ―Irish Examiner
"Between the incredible descriptions, unique cast, and dark and lovely illustrations, readers will be enveloped by Rookhaven. They will experience the tragedy and grief that follows not only Jem and Tom but the people from the village, as well as Rookhaven, and they will stay up long into the night to discover who the real monster is. A breathtaking novel about family, loss, and truly seeing those around us." ―Booklist, Starred Review
"Full of gruesome charm and heart-wrenching pathos, this story offers a satisfying gothic fantasy at once chilling and affecting." ―Publishers Weekly
"Themes of grief, empathy, and the nature of monsters play out as danger arrives from an unexpected source . . . A dreamy, imaginative premise gives way to pensive catharsis." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Twelve-year-old Jem is an effective lens for readers to understand the monster world through human eyes, and her grief over the parents recently lost to World War II adds a more serious note that contrasts with the traumas the monsters have faced. Readers will be compelled to keep turning the pages to discover the intriguing workings of this bizarre world and the fate of the Family." ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
About the Author
- Publisher : Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (September 21, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1250623944
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250623942
- Reading age : 10 - 14 years
- Lexile measure : 720L
- Grade level : 5 - 9
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.69 x 1.18 x 8.36 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #340,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2021
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The world that Kenny weaves is mysterious and enchanting. The estate that the family lives on is brooding and sprawling, replete with unnatural flowers guarding the paths. Each of the family has a unique "talent". There's Uncle Betram, who can transform into a huge bear. Aunt Eliza is made up of spiders. Gideon can transport via portals. The twins, well they are their own breed. Piglet is the literal monster in the basement. We have to learn much later what their talent is, but the family keeps them behind a tremendous locked door and whispers "Piglet is dangerous."
There are themes of friendships and found family, and how the monsters aren't always the one to be feared. It's not all love and sweetness though—the last half takes a very dark turn. There is a defined evil under the the burgeoning friendship and comfort that the family supplies. Secrets often can cause harm and there is a big ominous secret waiting in the wings for Mirabelle. It will change everything.
I was lucky enough to get The Monsters of Rookhaven on audiobook narrated by Emma Noakes. She has a gift with voices and made the listen that much more enjoyable. Her volume ebbed and flowed through all the different voices, bringing each character to life in turn. I found myself smiling while listening. I couldn't wait to get my earbuds plugged back in to this unforgettable story with its captivating narrator.
Fans of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will be charmed by this story. It's fantastical and magical. Perfect for middle-grade readers or for those wanting a little more enchantment in their lives.
The illustrations throughout, by Edward Bettison, are beautiful and perfectly atmospheric.
This book tries so hard to be gothic and creepy, but it throws together a bunch of elements without really tying them together. Some of them individually are interesting, such as the woman made of spiders and the carnivorous plants and whatever the heck Piglet is, but they never really connected together to me. And the characters themselves were never really fleshed out enough for me to care about them or what happened to them.
This book will have its fans and followers, and I'm sure it will appeal to many. But unfortunately I'm not one of those fans.