Review: Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Of Monsters and MadnessOf Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Page Count: 288
Published by: EgmontUSA
Source: eArc received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Summoned to her father's home in 1820's Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which he might be implicated. She is torn romantically between her father's assistants-one kind and proper, one mysterious and brooding-who share a dark secret and may have more to do with the violent events than they're letting on.

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Of Monsters and Madness was a very quick read and a pretty good story. I thought it started off quite slow, and not much happened for the first 50 pages or so. But then it started getting darker and more interesting and I was able to become more invested in the story.

We meet Annabel as she arrives in America for the first time after being summoned by her estranged father. She is surprised by the dark and dreary city that she is met with, and shocked when she learns there is a serial killer on the loose. Annabel is scared in her new surroundings, and she has to learn how to cope with a house full of occupants that are strange and secretive.

I liked Annabel. I thought she was strong willed and capable, yet very naive at times. I liked that she was interested in medicine during a time when women were not allowed to be doctors. Her Grandfather was very welcoming towards Annabel and showed her love and affection. Her father was compulsively secretive and very harsh towards her at times, and he spent most of his time in his laboratory. Her father's two assistants - Allan and Edgar - were complete opposites and the most complex and interesting characters. I was hoping for more of their background to be included in the story.

Of Monsters and Madness was creepy and suspenseful enough for me, but I can understand how it might not be enough for fans of the horror genre. I loved the historical setting, and I enjoyed the many references to Poe's work. This turned out to be an entertaining read despite the story and the characters not being fleshed out enough. I thought the storyline was quite predictable, so nothing really came as much of a surprise to me.

Overall, I though this book was an okay read. It was well written with just enough angst and gore to keep me interested. I wanted to get behind the love triangle / romance, but it felt too forced for my taste.

I don't quite know what to make of that ending. Is this meant to be the first book in a series? If so, I would be interested in reading more from this author.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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