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My Name is Monster by Katie Hale

We've all read the premise - an apocalyptic war, an ensuring sickness, a wiped out race. My Name is Monster's plot is no different - Monster, the only survivor in a new world that has been terrorised by sickness and war, begins to rebuild a life, until, one day, she finds a girl: feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. - yet Hale has cleverly reworked old ideas into a compellingly contemporary novel which will leave you thinking long into the silence that follows the ending.

Whilst Hale's writing is beautifully executed, the story itself was generally kept very vague and elusive - a lot of questions were left unanswered and the ending left to the readers own imagination, however personally I found this a clever structural device and ultimately fitting to the context.

When I read that My Name is Monster was inspired by the epic novel Frankenstein (one of my favourite novels of all time) I couldn't wait to read it, and this inspiration clearly shines through. Hale intelligently, yet subtly, explores issues surrounding power, the things that society leaves imprinted on us when the rules no longer apply, and about the strength and the danger of a mother’s love.

Told through two different and dynamic narratives - Mother (the original Monster) who survives and adapts to the post-apocalyptic world, and Monster - a blank sheet, created, taught and grown in this new world - Hale's captivation of the two very different female voices is masterfully done. Like Victor Frankenstein creating his monster, Hale too, explores the contrasting results that language, ownership, morality, and the obsessions that follow, between the relationship between Mother and Monster.

Whilst this probably won't enjoy readers looking for a fast-paced, thrilling read, Hale has undoubtedly written a lyrically intriguing and refreshingly new viewpoint to this overcrowded genre, and offered something timely and unique.


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