Reviews

Where There Are Monsters by Breanne Mc Ivor

fmpereira's review

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dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

revans77's review

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challenging dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

bookish_by_elle's review

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4.0

Absolutely refreshing!

helenareadsbooks's review

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dark emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced

4.25

Breanne Mc Ivor’s WHERE THERE ARE MONSTERS is a strong and engaging collection of contemporary short stories set in Trinidad. A variety of topics are explored in these stories—mental health, familial relationships, motherhood, queerness, and love. Several characters feel the need to find themselves and break free from the expectations others place on them, while other characters contemplate the lengths they’d go to to get what they want. This collection comments on the duality of humanity and monstrosity, and the struggles that accompany the choices we make. Trinidad has a clear and memorable presence in this book, and it adds an atmospheric layer to every story. 
 
This book is an intriguing exploration of masks and disguises; of embracing your truth vs. hiding it. Within these stories I found quiet feelings and familiar truths. Some of the characters feel suffocated by their circumstances and long for a different life. Some characters hide their truths out of fear, while others confront or embrace their monsters. Regardless, these stories will keep you on your toes and ask you to reflect on the monsters in your own life. 
 
For a contemporary collection that’s not considered SFFH, I wasn’t expecting some of these stories to be so horrifying and dark but I was pleasantly surprised to see the author go in this direction and make my skin crawl. Mc Ivor’s writing is sharp and captivating, and I love the way Trinidadian folklore is woven into these tales, with some stories being more heavily inspired by folklore than others. It was easy for me to be invested in these stories because of Mc Ivor’s writing, and I love how there was a mix of the types of monsters on display. 
 
I’m so glad I finally read this, and I can’t wait to read the author's new book THE GOD OF GOOD LOOKS! 

sharongrigg's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

A dark, clever collection of short stories that leave an air of mystery in their hinting at being incomplete yet finished state. Smart stuff.

ladycaster's review

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dark emotional mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? N/A
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

jaclyn_sixminutesforme's review

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4.0

What a brilliant collection, many thanks to Cindy @bookofcinz for putting this on my radar. This is a collection of contemporary short stories set in Trinidad, and I loved how distinct each story was while still having thematic connections across them. There was a distinctly gothic feel to the collection (some stories venturing into violent realms and cannibalism, for example), and thematically I found the engagement with class and economic divisions, particularly the stories early in the collection, really well explored. The split of this collection into two parts allowed for a really cool interrogation of this theme of “monsters”—those real and walking around communities, and also those within us (thanks for chatting to me about this, Cindy!).
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For me the final story was an absolute stand out—it had one of the most unlikeable characters depicted in the entire book (he truly was a total shit and really creepy!) but I was so mesmerized by the story and what it was exploring thematically about gendered violence and assumptions that we make about people we meet. Highly recommend this collection!

northernbiblio's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced

4.0

hannahmarie39's review

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3.0

The writing is engaging, but slow. All the stories feel like the first twenty minutes of a movie - like all the setup is out of the way finally, but then it ends before the big exciting part.