I catch monsters.
They gesture in the confines of 8 mm film, screaming at the camera lens. Their mouths gaped, finger-pointing, accusing, in your face.
Their faces can’t find their truths rendered mute by the words they weave. In my prison, they don’t speak but their lips mimic the action.
Black & white, sepia & color.
They exist in all forms. There’s one in every age.
The thing that shakes me to my core when I take in their faces.
They look like mine. Not exactly like mine but they have similar shapes.
Eyes. Mouth. Nose. Teeth.
The same but different.
I can see the monster in me as I do in them.
Their monstrosity resonating with the stranger in us all.
I swallow to bile in me, raise my weapon, & let the monsters roll in.
The Thing didn’t know who he was or where he came from. But in time he knew other things. How to steal, how to blend into the shadows, how to kill easy with the flick of his wrist. A genuine monster who couldn’t be killed. He called himself Johann, the monster of Elendhaven.
This monster is drawn to the last of an old family, Florian Leikenbloom. He’s a sorcerer with a dark past and darker intentions. Together they seek revenge for the city.
I was first drawn to this book by its cover. I like a good monster story and this book hooked me instantly. It also didn’t disappoint. The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht is a dark fantasy. It was dark, beautiful, and grotesque in all the right ways.
This novella packs so much into its 159 pages. It brings forth a lush fantasy world in Elendhaven, isolated in the north by a churning black sea rife with seals and monsters. It’s a society build up and cursed by industry. A rot fermenting deep in its waters and boiling up in plague.
The characters were also really enjoyable. I liked how twisted the main characters were and how their darknesses feed off each other. I enjoyed every page.
My only complaint is that I wish this book was longer. I would’ve loved to see more of them and more about its magic systems.
The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.
These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.