I wasn’t certain what to expect when I first started reading Monstrous Devices by Damien Love but the cover of the book was not only eye-catching but that one line ‘Beware of things that go click in the night’ is what ultimately sealed the deal for me.
On a winter’s day in a British town, twelve-year old Alex receives a package in the mail: an old tin robot from his grandfather. “This one is special,” says the enclosed note, and when strange events start occurring around him, Alex suspects this small toy is more than special; it might be deadly. — Amazon.com
Below I’ve listed what I enjoyed from the book using minimal spoilers.
- The introduction itself was different, written as if happening in the ‘now’ and it cemented suspense from the get-go, not to mention ‘dark’.
“For the next few seconds, the sounds inside this toy shop are muffled and breathy, desperate, wet, and horrid.”— A Prologue in Prague
- Vivid and descriptive scenes are littered throughout the chapters. A few examples of these are listed below.
“The air under the bus was warmer, he noted. It smelled terribly of spent oil and rubber. He was about to watch his legs get crushed, he thought, weirdly calm.”— The Unexpected Guest
“The sleep was deep and punctured by fragments of a vivid, jumbled dream.”— Station to Station
- Alex’ grandfather is full of sass, charm, misery and yet frustratingly complex, like a puzzle. I found myself more interested in the Grandfather than Alex himself.
“Well, there was a story about all that, anyway. Oh, by the way: it goes without saying you should never really go around breaking into places of worship.”—A Prowl Through Prague
- Alex had his moments, however. Overall, he is an average boy that likes to play it safe and avoid bullying by boring his bullies… by not ‘fighting back’. He tries his hardest to not stand out from the crowd, adopting an almost ‘invisible’ role.
“A wise old head on those young shoulders. Whereas I’m more the other way around.”— Alex Grandfather when describing Alex.
- While I enjoyed the plot twists and the plot itself, the book left with a cliffhanger that only raised more questions. I was expecting a conclusion of sorts and it left me feeling unsatisfied that some questions were not answered or origins left unexplained.
Overall? It was a wonderful read. Chosen by its book cover alone, it proved to be stellar. The pace was natural which is difficult to find in books as towards the middle, there’s always a rush of sorts to get to the end. Not this book. It built up to its finale.
Genre: Young adult, Fiction