The Monstrous Child

The Monstrous Child

by Francesca Simon


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A stunning, operatic, epic drama, like no other. Meet Hel, an ordinary teenager — and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair? Hel tries to make the best of it, creating gleaming halls in her dark kingdom and welcoming the dead who she is forced to host for eternity. Until eternity itself is threatened.

Francesca's first and wonderful foray into teen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780571330263
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication date: 05/05/2016
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.00(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Francesca Simon is universally known for the staggeringly popular Horrid Henry series. These books and CDs have sold millions of copies worldwide and are published in 27 countries. She lives in North London with her family.

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The Monstrous Child 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
**I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to LibraryThing and Faber & Faber for this opportunity** I feel like this book had a lot of potential, then it tried to cover too much ground too quickly. In this book, Francesca Simon covers a plethora of myths, starting at Hel's birth and moving on towards Ragnarok. We meet a LOT of characters and we go through them all so quickly that with the exception of her giantess friend, we don't really get to know any of them enough to care. I understand this is the third book in a series, but I feel like the story would have been better served more fleshed out and over the course of several books. I really liked Hel's voice. She was angry and witty and sarcastic. Given her history, she had every right to be! Unfortunately, this anger also leads to a lot of ranting and rambling on Hel's part and it just got repetitive after a while. HOWEVER. I appreciate the fact that Simon chose to remain loyal to Norse mythology. This in not the story of an average teenage girl who eventually became Hel, Queen of the Underworld. Most mythology is weird. Gods are born in strange and precarious ways, and that is EXACTLY how Simon runs with the story. Hel's siblings are a snake and a wolf and yup, that's correct per the mythology. It's not what we'd normal see in fiction, but it's technically canon. Overall, I did like this story, and I read it really quickly. It was interesting and witty and fun but there was a lot of room for improvement in the speed of the story, the fleshing out of the world and characters, and personally I think we could have done with a better dialogue/description balance. Plus, Hel never changed or matured... I felt like the character didn't grow at all. I don't know. I liked it, but it's definitely a two star book for me.
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Hel's upper body and face are human, but her legs are those of a corpse. She's the child of a giantess and a god. All she wants is to be loved, but what she gets is the exact opposite. Her brothers are monstrous as well and she dislikes them. She doesn't get to spend much time with them though, as Hel's future has been decided, she's been given a domain to rule by herself. She has to be Queen of the Dead and will have to spend her time with rotting corpses, something she hates. Being consumed by anger and disgust Hel tries to survive in her own kingdom, where she'll have to remain until the end of time, but how long is that exactly? The Monstrous Child is a beautiful story about mythology, decomposing flesh and complex family relationships. Hel laments, she's negative, she's annoyed and she's miffed. She never has any positive emotions. Francesca Simon writes about this intriguing main character in a fantastic humoristic way. Hel's complaining is always borderline irritating in a good way and that is what constantly made me smile. I absolutely loved her sarcasm and her dissatisfaction. She's a character whose behavior I didn't take literally, instead I took her story with a grain of salt and that's what made me enjoy it even more. Francesca Simon writes about fantastic mythical creatures in a vivid way. I was instantly fascinated by Hel's dysfunctional family. There are power plays and trickery and exclusion is something Hel knows everything about. I sometimes pitied her and felt sad for her, but her difficult personality made it impossible to sympathize with her. That's another thing I liked about this story, Hel is someone to dislike, but I really enjoyed reading about her and constantly felt conflicted. That kept me on my toes and I think Francesca Simon's ability to play with these opposites and stay in control is quite a skillful achievement. The Monstrous Child is a fabulous creative story. I loved Francesca Simon's gorgeous writing. Her sentences have a nice flow and she's great at choosing the exact right words for her descriptions. That made the story come to life very well. She even manages to describe Hel's colorless surroundings, where everything is dark, dead and decayed, in a colorful way. The Monstrous child is unusual, it's filled with surprises and unexpected twists and turns. I had a lot of fun reading this captivating story.
_staceykym_ More than 1 year ago
ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review. Title: The Monstrous Child Author: Francesca Simon Published: 22 June 2016 Publisher: Allen & Unwin RRP: $19.99 Review When I was first fortunate to come across this book I must say that I was both curious and wary. I am a BIG fan of all sorts of mythologies. And when I read "sister to Fenrir the wolf" I had a feeling I knew what this novel was going to be about: Norse mythology. Yet, what really captured me was "Queen of the Dead" in the blurb. I must admit I also hoped for a retelling of Persephone and Hades but what I got was so much more. I really shouldn't be saying this because 'The Monstrous Child' stands and speaks for itself, but if you're SUPER into the 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' series than you will also love this. Curious? Think, Percy Jackson but with a smarter, drier sense of humour and from a girl's perspective. People, readers, young-adult lovers, I LOVED IT! I was hooked, reeled and sunk within the first page. I loved the author's writing style and I really shouldn't be so surprised since the author, Francesca Simon, had attended both Yale and Harvard Universities. I couldn't spot any typos or spelling mistakes. The grammar and writing was SO GOOD! And the prose was even better! 'The Monstrous Child' is written in first person narration and follows only Hel's point of view. I loved the dry, angry yet yearning-for-love character which the authoress painted. Hel was a very, very flawed character but as the reader gets to know her better through her recount of her...problematic...upbringing, they slowly come to enjoy the story. I enjoyed the story yet the plot could have been worked on a little more. It is told in chronological order and this gave the novel a very smooth pace and rhythm. Everything – from small to big – was slowly revealed…which did make me drift off from time to time. Francesca Simon's retelling of Norse mythology was quite hilarious. She put a twist on the rarely-retold-but-often-used-by-Marvel myths and gave (what I believe) was a unique experience. And yes, there is Loki and Thor and Odin, but they were not exactly as they appeared. If you're not into any evil-Loki's, Thors or Odins – well, be prepared to have your mind changed. The novel also explored themes such as hate, love, childhood, revenge and many other things that really skyrocketed its rating for me. This added quality and value to reading 'The Monstrous Child' which I really appreciated. A strong recommendation from me for young-adults of twelve to fourteen years of age. But anybody over that will, no doubt, enjoy this, too. The title was actually very misleading. I was expecting a horrendously ugly main character who was going to do some EXTREMELY gruesome and horror but it wasn’t at all like that...for the most part. There were some unpleasant bits but they weren't full on and actually made the reading experience a lot better. Congratulations to Francesca Simon on publishing a great first young-adult novel!