The Monstrous Child
Written by Francesca Simon
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The Lovereading4Kids comment
January 2017 Book of the Month | Shortlisted for YA Book Prize 2017 | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children's Book category Francesca Simon has chosen a singular heroine for her first novel for teenagers. Hel is Queen of the Norse underworld, but never has the eternal teenage cry, ‘It’s not fair’ been more justified. Offspring of giants and gods, she is despised by all; human to the waist, she’s a ‘corpse baby’ - her legs are dangling and gangrenous at birth. Despatched to the Underworld, harbinger of Asgard’s downfall, she nonetheless retains her sharp tongue, her cynicism, her sense of humour and that’s what makes the book so interesting: who wouldn’t want to spend time in this teenager’s company as she works out how to make the best of her situation, unwisely falls in love and reluctantly accepts her fate. It’s an extraordinary novel, dark and grim, but Hel’s energy and vitality will keep readers on her side. ~ Andrea Reece
The Costa Judges said: “An ancient anti-heroine is given a fierce modern voice in this story of gods, monsters and growing up.”
Kids love to read and so in addition to the review by one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel members were also lucky enough to read and review this title. Click here to read their full reviews.
- Rose Roberts, age 13 - 'It's one of those books that is so good you find it hard to describe. Emotional, this book is page-turning in a different way. It isn't full of action, but you read it at a speed as if it is.'
- Katie Adeniji, age 16 - 'The Monstrous Child is an interesting read that - despite it's dark undertones - will intrigue a reader looking for a witty and cynical heroine to fall win love with.
- Sidney Greenslade, age 13 - 'The Monstrous Child absorbed me completely. Compelling and incredibly, even scarily, vivid, I found myself utterly lost in Hel's beautifully described world.'
- Eloise Mae Clarkson, age 14 - 'It was an enjoyable read and I would rate it five out of five stars.'
- Ella Bourke, age 12 - 'Every single fantasy character you could think of lies within these pages. This book is not for the faint-hearted and not about lovable princesses.'
- William Longlands, age 13 - 'The book is very descriptive and tells you lots so I would recommend it, especially if you want to find out about Norse Gods.'
- Talia Jacobs, age 15 - 'The Monstrous Child is an interesting, gory read incorporating Norse Mythology! Great for 10-13 year olds. Hilarious and amusing, dark and gruesome, sorrowful and lovely, all in one!'
- Chadwick, Melanie - 'A very dark tale based on Norse mythology which is steeped in death, disappointment and hatred.'
- Edel Waugh - 'The world building in this book is exceptional, from the opening pages you know this is not going to be a light and fluffy read and with that known read on!'
- Ruth Ward, Library & Resources Manager, Great Torrington School - 'You will be surprised at how this original story flows from the depths of darkness with strains of sarcastic humour. The Norse Goddess of the dead, Hel, tells her own ghastly story…deliciously loathsome tales await you…'
- Kyra, age 17 - 'Doused with a concoction of mythology, a sassy narrator with a biting tongue, a world suffering under the vindictive reign of the Norse gods written in a darkly comical manner - you'll be bewitched.'
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The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon
'Before you reject me, before you hate me, remember: I never asked to be Hel's queen.' But being a normal teenager wasn't an option either. Now she's stuck ruling the underworld. For eternity. She doesn't want your pity. But she does demand that you listen. It's only fair you hear her side of the story ...It didn't have to be like this.
I need no one. Hel's persuasive, compelling, brutally grim, and very funny voice drives the narrative. Seen from below, the Twilight of the Gods is neither tragic nor noble--it's long overdue. (Fantasy. 12-16) --Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Interest Age: From 12
More books by Francesca Simon
Faber & Faber
5th January 2017
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