Reviews | Written by Ian White 13/02/2020

A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS

A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS / AUTHOR: SHAUN HAMILL / PUBLISHER: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Noah’s father was a horror fanatic, and building that homemade haunted house had become an obsession for him. Noah’s mother hadn’t been so sure but she played along, and the haunted house eventually became so successful that it turned into a family business. Even while he was dying, Noah’s father was making plans to expand the attraction into an entire nightmarish city, and the sketches he drew were so heavily detailed that you’d almost believe he’d been there. Perhaps he had. But, through it all, Noah’s mother and father never forgot the beast they’d seen before they were married. The robed creature with glowing orange eyes that seemed to be pursuing them...

Noah barely knew his father. Maybe that’s why his Friend came to visit him – a robed beast with glowing orange eyes that he doesn’t tell anybody else about. Even when he suspects the beast may have something to do with the disappearance of his sister, Sydney, he still says nothing. Because Noah loves the beast, and when the beast reveals the beauty inside he loves his mysterious Friend even more.

But as more of the townspeople begin to disappear and a group called the Fellowship of the Missing suspects Noah knows more than he’s telling them, how will he be able to keep his secret safe? What sacrifices will he have to make, to protect the ones he loves from the one he loves?

A Cosmology of Monsters is a twisted coming-of-age story that’s effective because it’s so achingly human. In fact, for the first two thirds of the novel, debut author Shaun Hamill barely puts a foot wrong. It’s only when Cosmology turns into a lycanthropic fairytale, with a pivotal encounter that reads like a jarring comic book beat ‘em up, that the story threatens to slip into a less satisfying groove. However, the quality of the writing remains strong throughout, so maybe our small misgivings can be put down to reader preference. As a slow-burn fantasy that’s also a joyous celebration of the horror child inside all of us, A Cosmology of Monsters definitely hits the mark.

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