A Cosmology of Monsters

Sean Hamill

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I thought this was going to be an easy review to write, but so much of the story relies on the reader not knowing what’s coming. I’ve got a whole list of symbolism and elements [flashback to A-Level English Lit], and I can’t mention 99% of it because it would spoil the story.

A Cosmology of Monsters weaves the tale of the dysfunctional Turner family, and their loves, losses, secrets, and denials. From its fantastic opening line – “I started collecting my older sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old.” – onwards, this dark fantasy unfurls into an exploration of loss and the many and varied ways in which we deal with it. The book is mainly narrated by the youngest member of the family, Noah, with a series of ‘Turner Sequence’ vignettes from the other characters. There are monsters, but they’re mostly the human kind.

Each part is named for a story by H.P. Lovecraft, and his tales are a theme throughout the book. However, you need not have any prior knowledge in order to enjoy this novel – the Lovecraftian element is down to the Gothic tone of the story rather than linking to any of his tales. If I were going to compare it to anything, it would be Stephen King’s and Peter Straub’s The Talisman.

A Cosmology of Monsters is a beautifully written debut novel, and everybody should go out and buy a copy.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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