[M]aybe the Queen of Swords ins’t a monster. Maybe she never was. Maybe she just needed monsters to fight.
Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! I am just going to take a moment here to talk about this absolutely amazing cover. A young girl with a terrifying and ritualistic mask – is it her head, is she wearing it? It is entirely the selling point for me, even if I have an interesting history with Sourcebook’s young adult imprint.
Here There Are Monsters
by Amelinda Berube
Published Date: August 2019
Read Date: June 2019
Genre: YA, Horror, Fantasy
Page Count: 352 Pages
Rating: 3.5/5 Moose
The night of Halloween, Skye’s younger sister Deidre goes missing. Deidre, who is weird and complicated and unable to adjust to their new town and new schools. Deidre, who has always preferred to live in fantasy worlds fighting monsters with her sister Skye, the Queen of Swords.
But Skye doesn’t want to live in a fantasy world anymore. She has friends and a life, and wants to be normal. Yet Deidre keeps trying to pull her back in. So when she goes missing, Skye remains torn on finding her sister and trying to move on.
Until the monsters come for her.
Skye – The older sister who fell asleep early the Halloween night. She is also the Queen of Swords.
Deidre – The younger sister. She’s picked on in school, and has gotten increasingly weird since her family has moved.
William – Skye’s new friend and crush. Deidre considers him an outsider and doesn’t like him.
Rants, Raves, and Reviews
I still don’t know how I feel about this book. It has a strange structure, the main sisters are incredibly unlikable, and it takes nearly 50% of the book before the monsters show up. And yet, I still enjoyed it, I think?
The book opens with Deidre missing. Skye was supposed to be watching her, but she fell asleep incredibly early. (Did she actually fall sleep or was it some kind of magic? Who knows!) It is a great opening…that then goes into a flashback, thus cutting into all anxiety build up. It’s just hard to worry about a missing girl when every other chapter is a flashback. This is also why it takes so long to get to the monsters, of course.
There is no one likable in this book. Okay, maybe William. But the base family? All terrible. The dad is forgettable, the mom is supposed to be disliked but is also a bit forgettable, and the two daughters are just horrible people, to each other, to everyone else, and to themselves. It is incredibly difficult to read. Seriously, Skye’s sister is missing, and she’s basically throwing a fit that she has to care? I mean, I know I am a selfish terrible person, but I would put effort into caring that my sister is missing.
Then again, my sisters are more well adjusted than Deidre. We all may be neurotic and balls of anxiety (okay maybe they aren’t all), but even at their worst days, they’re still better than Deidre. She is just angry and mean. There’s a problem when there isn’t any redeeming qualities of your main characters.
Skye and Deidre’s relationship is fascinating. In some ways, they view their relationship as being the only ones they can rely on. Skye protects Deidre. They’re the most important people to each other. But that comes with some major consequences: isolation, bullying, delusion. Deidre builds fantasy worlds where she and Skye are queens: Deidre is the queen of everything and Skye is her champion, her protector. A role that bleeds into real life. A role that Skye no longer wants. A role that monsters are pushing her to take again.
In some ways, I couldn’t put this book down. I wasn’t pushed to read it, to skip showers and meals for it, but it kept my attention. And once the monsters finally came – real ones, creepy ones, it was definitely leaning more into the horror genre.
This book doesn’t have a happy ending, really. I started to realize that it couldn’t once the monsters gave Skye her first task to find Deidre. When you’re being forced to relive horrible moments publicly, or perhaps kill people in order to find your sister, it cannot end well.
I still don’t know how I feel about this book. It is dark and creepy, it doesn’t quite flow right, the characters are a mishmash, and maybe I am currently afraid of the woods. (Thank god I live in Brooklyn.)