#BookReview: ONLY A MONSTER by Vanessa Len @vanessa_writes @Hodderscape

Publication: 17th February 2022 – Hodder & Stoughton

In every story there is a hero and a monster.

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

Then a Good Samaritan attempt gone wrong sends Joan spinning through time, and her life quickly begins to unravel. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story…

… she is not the hero.

Dive deep into the world of Only a Monster, where the line between monster and hero is razor thin: hidden worlds dwell in the shadows, beautiful monsters with untold powers walk among humans, and secrets are the most powerful weapon of all.



Only A Monster is the debut fantasy novel by Vanessa Len and I am completely addicted. I read it in two days, finding it very hard to put it down. Not only it’s very well-written, but there is magic, time-traveling, a protagonist who is not the hero of the story, and a hero who… I don’t know how to talk about him without spoiling. The plot is action-packed and intriguing, full of twists, and romance.

The protagonist is Joan, a sixteen-year-old who loves spending the summer with her mother’s family in London. She always thought they were a bit strange and eccentric. She also thought her grandmother joked when she called her a monster, but the night she shared her first kiss with the boy she’d been having a crush on all summer, she finds out that her grandmother wasn’t joking. She is really a monster, there are more monsters like her, and there is also monster slayer who won’t stop until he kills them all. The night ends deadly, but Joan is determined to change her fate and the fate of her family, no matter the cost.

This is a great debut novel. The characters are incredible. I really liked them… Joan, Ruth, Aaron… Joan is a fantastic protagonist. She’s a normal teenager who suddenly is thrown in a dangerous world where she has the fate of many people on her hands. She is torn between the love for her family and doing what’s right and not always she makes the right or wise choice.

The world-building is fascinating and very well-thought and the story is so engrossing that I didn’t even notice I was reaching the end. I am so happy that Only A Monster is the first of a trilogy because I can’t wait to go back to this world and see what happens next!

A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of the novel (I also got the Fairyloot edition that is stunning!!!).

Vanessa Len is Australian author of Chinese-Malaysian and Maltese heritage. An educational editor, she has worked on everything from language learning programs to STEM resources, to professional learning for teachers. Vanessa is a graduate of the Clarion Workshop in San Diego, and currently lives in Melbourne. You can find her on Twitter at vanessa_writes and via her website at https://www.vanessalen.com

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