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A Cosmology of Monsters

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A tender and terrifying literary horror novel - the author's debut - that tells the story of a family (creators of a haunted house attraction called the Wandering Dark) and the hereditary monsters - both metaphorical and all-too-real - that haunt them. Monsters both figurative and very literal stalk the Turner family. The youngest child, Noah, narrates the family hi A tender and terrifying literary horror novel - the author's debut - that tells the story of a family (creators of a haunted house attraction called the Wandering Dark) and the hereditary monsters - both metaphorical and all-too-real - that haunt them. Monsters both figurative and very literal stalk the Turner family. The youngest child, Noah, narrates the family history: how in the late '60s, his bookish mother Margaret marries Lovecraft-lover Harry against her better judgment. The couple has two daughters - Sydney, born for the spotlight, and the brilliant but awkward Eunice, a natural writer and storyteller. But finances are tight, Margaret and Eunice are haunted by horrific dreams, and Harry starts acting strangely. He becomes obsessed with the construction of an elaborately crafted haunted house attraction, christened the Wandering Dark. The family tries to shield baby Noah from the house's faux horrors, but unbeknownst to them, he's being visited by a furry beast with glowing orange eyes - the same ghastly being glimpsed by both his mother and sister. However, unlike them, Noah decides to let the creature in... As he approaches the conclusion of his family's tale, it becomes more and more apparent that there's only one way the story can end: with Noah making the ultimate sacrifice.


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A tender and terrifying literary horror novel - the author's debut - that tells the story of a family (creators of a haunted house attraction called the Wandering Dark) and the hereditary monsters - both metaphorical and all-too-real - that haunt them. Monsters both figurative and very literal stalk the Turner family. The youngest child, Noah, narrates the family hi A tender and terrifying literary horror novel - the author's debut - that tells the story of a family (creators of a haunted house attraction called the Wandering Dark) and the hereditary monsters - both metaphorical and all-too-real - that haunt them. Monsters both figurative and very literal stalk the Turner family. The youngest child, Noah, narrates the family history: how in the late '60s, his bookish mother Margaret marries Lovecraft-lover Harry against her better judgment. The couple has two daughters - Sydney, born for the spotlight, and the brilliant but awkward Eunice, a natural writer and storyteller. But finances are tight, Margaret and Eunice are haunted by horrific dreams, and Harry starts acting strangely. He becomes obsessed with the construction of an elaborately crafted haunted house attraction, christened the Wandering Dark. The family tries to shield baby Noah from the house's faux horrors, but unbeknownst to them, he's being visited by a furry beast with glowing orange eyes - the same ghastly being glimpsed by both his mother and sister. However, unlike them, Noah decides to let the creature in... As he approaches the conclusion of his family's tale, it becomes more and more apparent that there's only one way the story can end: with Noah making the ultimate sacrifice.

30 review for A Cosmology of Monsters

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Humphrey

    Full disclosure: I had a bunch of nifty, gorgeous quotes to use on this review, but I seem to have lost them and already mailed my copy of the book to a friend. While you're reading this review, please pretend you are reading the author's words as I give you a FRIENDS-esque summary. {Insert quote ofthe one where Margaret and Harry begin their intensely dark love affair. Also, H.P. Lovecraft.} Ok, so if you've read the summary of this book, you probably had a visceral reaction to its implication, and either/>{Insert Full disclosure: I had a bunch of nifty, gorgeous quotes to use on this review, but I seem to have lost them and already mailed my copy of the book to a friend. While you're reading this review, please pretend you are reading the author's words as I give you a FRIENDS-esque summary.{Insert quote ofthe one where Margaret and Harry begin their intensely dark love affair. Also, H.P. Lovecraft.} Ok, so if you've read the summary of this book, you probably had a visceral reaction to its implication, and either gave a resounding "Definitely not for me!" or an enthusiastic "Hell yeah!" It's a polarizing story, one that worked REALLY well for me, but I can also see it being difficult to swallow for some, or many, to be honest. A Cosmology of Monsters is dark, disturbing, weird, and a bit taboo, but it's also a poetic debut, and an exceptionally well-written tale. There is a mangled beauty to these flawed, suffering characters, and the tragic nature of this story still manages to present the reader with moments of hope and an air of lightness to break up the heavy nature. And, oh friends, is this a heavy story. Obviously you can tell that from the synopsis, the cover, and the genre tags, but as someone who reads a great number of dark novels, I had to put this one down at times and switch it up with other things, but more on that below. {Insert the one about Noah welcoming in the monster.} The format of this novel is quite intriguing, and I love how it is linear, but also isn't at the same time. No spoilers here, but we have straightforward narrative, broken up with script pieces that will make sense to the reader towards the end of the story. We follow the Turner family from its inception, meaning the quirky meeting and courtship of the parents, throughout the childhood of our narrator, Noah, and up until the middle-aged adulthood of Margaret and Harry's children. A Cosmology of Monsters really is a character driven tale, and while it does have a handful of violent, traditionally scary moments, it relies less on b-rated gory horror and more on psychological trauma and inner demons. That's not to say there isn't a fantastical element to the story, because there is, but there is so much to be gained by studying the mental health issues that have plagued every member of this family. I like to think of the book as having a dual, allegorical element, which gives the entire narrative a deep, harrowing vibe. {Insert the one where it features THAT scene. You'll know the one I'm mentioning when you get there.} Now, for the real reason you're coming to this review. Content warnings seem to be a divisive subject in the reviewing community, and I tend to fall in the middle regarding them. I don't always include them, unless it is not apparent in the synopsis that a disturbing theme is mentioned in detail. There are LOADS of content warning worthy mentions for this book, and I'll include them in a spoiler tag for those who like to go in blind. If you're sensitive to any of the following, you may want to skip this book: (view spoiler)[depression, anxiety, suicide (this is a huge theme that features suicide notes in detail and is a major portion of the story), statutory rape, child abuse, physical abuse, death of a loved one (suicide, cancer), kidnapping, neglect, bigotry and verbal abuse toward an LGBT character (not condoned, but used as part of a plot progression), murder, taboo sexual content, adultery, gore, violence, etc) (hide spoiler)] <--- I imagine all of these things will either turn you off completely, or have completely sold you on making this your next read. {Insert quote about the one that deals with the ending, because OMG I'm still disturbed by it.} Overall? This book touched me in a place I didn't even know existed. I've been so burned out on the commercial, mainstream fiction of 2019, that it was refreshing to find something as unique and memorable as A Cosmology of Monsters. If you can stomach the tough stuff and enjoy dark reads while not minding a bit of the paranormal thrown in, I highly recommend you pick up this slim read. Again, this book won't be for everyone, and you've been warned, so don't come knocking on my door when you're still sleeping with the lights on a week after finishing this grim tale. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    karen

    oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST HORROR 2019! what will happen? FRIEND HELP? this is an extraordinary debut novel that comes so damn close to my kind of perfect, and yet another book with a lovecrafty angle that overcomes my antipathy for lovecraft by not adopting his (to me) crappy storytelling shenanigans or his (to any reasonable human) crappy personal views on race&gender&etc. this one’s a complex and delicious blend of literary horror and family tragedy written with the flow and confidenhappen?FRIEND oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST HORROR 2019! what will happen? FRIEND HELP? this is an extraordinary debut novel that comes so damn close to my kind of perfect, and yet another book with a lovecrafty angle that overcomes my antipathy for lovecraft by not adopting his (to me) crappy storytelling shenanigans or his (to any reasonable human) crappy personal views on race&gender&etc. this one’s a complex and delicious blend of literary horror and family tragedy written with the flow and confidence of a much more seasoned author. i don’t want to go into too much detail, because so much of this book’s appeal lies in its sustained ambiguity, but i will say it’s a beautiful and sympathetic story of a family fractured by the ordinary horrors of mental illness, disease, death, disappearances, emotional shortcomings, secret romantic entanglements, and also monsters. perhaps. i’m not gonna commit to much more, because for a big chunk of the book, the monster part, while present, is riding along in the story’s backseat, and it’s unclear whether it is ‘real,’ or if it’s more of a symbolic or figurative presence—a sort of fantasy conjured up as an escapist coping mechanism for a young boy’s feelings of loneliness or confusion in a family in which every member is going through some pretty major, life-changing events, unable to share them with the rest of the family because they are all plagued by an inability to connect or communicate in traditional ways, which is established in the very first paragraph of the novel: I started collecting my older sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old. I still keep them all in my bottom desk drawer, held together with a black binder clip. They were among the only things I was allowed to bring with me, and I’ve read through them often the last few months, searching for comfort, wisdom, or even just a hint that I’ve made the right choices for all of us. Eunice eventually discovered that I was saving her missives and began addressing them to me. In on of my favorites, she writes, “Noah, there is no such thing as a happy ending. There are only good stopping places.” as a family drama, it is straight-up perfection. all of the characters have nuance and are heartbreakingly real, with such delicate detail-work in their construction, and there are a hundred moments that are pure stunning in their emotional rawness. it’s dark without being grit-lit dark; it’s all very empathy-fanning and relatable even though the specific idiosyncrasies are—one—hopes, not the readers’ own. the time-loopy structure, the chapters scattered throughout called The Turner Sequence[s], that describe the various characters’ dreamlike experiences in a place called The City, the enigmatic way the more fantastical elements were handled—all of this was shaping up to be one of those books that slay me in that very specific way i find so hard to describe, but which involve a destabilization of the reader, where something is revealed, or where all of the discrete parts coalesce into something unexpected that changes the whole context of the book, where everything pulls back and any expectations or comfort or certainty about what we thought we were reading explodes in a jarring and sense-rocking way. this one didn’t end up doing that, and the third-act bits were not as glorious as i’d anticipated, but it is still a tremendous achievement. i want to make clear that i do not have a ‘better way’ for this to be written, or how he would have resolved the story into that particular book-feel i was craving, but like a person i wanna make out with—i know it when i see it. it just seemed like it was gonna be that kind of book, it was on the verge of going there, and then it went into some weird sex-stuff instead. which sounds dismissive, i know, and maybe it is. i dunno—i was perfectly happy with the ending and the getting-to-the-ending, but the weird sex-stuff seemed like a stumble in an otherwise very graceful book. in any case, it’s a remarkable debut, and it would be very good friends/excellent companion-reads with My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 and The Saturday Night Ghost Club. it also pairs well with the netflix version of The Haunting of Hill House, in its outstanding interplay between the deeply sad family story and the horror elements; the fine balance between reality and supernatural. Paul Tremblay and i will come to blows over this, but i love that show deep in my corespace, and it totally does that thing i was trying to describe before. SLAIN! i am so there for this author’s next book. *********************************** i am about 2/3 through and i just need to pause for a minute because this book is TOO GOOD. this is SUCH a karen-y book, and unless he throws it all away in the last hundred or so pages, it will be in my top five books of the year. maybe top three, but i'm going to be optimistic that my next two months' worth of reading will all be of this caliber. okay, back to reading! ******************************* SPOOKTOBER SPOOKTACULAR PERSISTS! come to my blog!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    “I started collecting my sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old.” Noah Turner sees monsters. His father saw them - and built a shrine to them with The Wandering Dark, an immersive horror experience that the whole family operates. The rest of the Turner family has experiences with the monsters too, but Noah chooses to let them in... Are you a fan of Stranger Things? How about weird fiction? Or Lovecraftian stories? Or literary horror? If you answered yes to “I started collecting my sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old.” Noah Turner sees monsters. His father saw them - and built a shrine to them with The Wandering Dark, an immersive horror experience that the whole family operates. The rest of the Turner family has experiences with the monsters too, but Noah chooses to let them in... Are you a fan of Stranger Things? How about weird fiction? Or Lovecraftian stories? Or literary horror? If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, then you need to pencil the release date for A Cosmology of Monsters into your diaries! (it’s September 17th, FYI) I don’t always need to care about my characters in order for a horror novel to work - sometimes I just really enjoy a slasher with indiscriminate characters - but when you really care about the outcome, the stakes are raised. The Taylor family were well-developed and incredibly interesting, and I still miss them after having turned the final page. Eunice, in particular, was a standout. I found her story heartbreaking. I’d put this book in the tame category in terms of horror, it’s not created to terrify you, but there are monsters and murders galore, as well as a menacing dread that builds as you progress through the novel. It also ticks a few Lovecraftian and Stranger Things boxes as we have this inter dimensional city that wants your soul! Speaking of Lovecraft, all the little nods and references to his work had me fangirling like crazy. Each part has the title of a Lovecraft story! However, you do not need to have read any Lovecraft in order to appreciate this one! Hamill is one hell of a writer, so beautifully descriptive at times, and I look forward to devouring more of his books! In summary... GET THIS BOOK! 4.5 stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    BlackOxford

    Listen to Your Mother! Life is a horror story straight out of H.P Lovecraft. Only hopeful delusions prevent us from recognising the terrible reality of those things we have been taught to respect, admire and desire - spouse, children, work, moderate suburban comfort. Only by inducing ourselves to believe that these things are inherently valuable and that they justify our lives can we bear to tolerate the triviality, dissatisfaction, and absence of any real affection. Yet reality continues to im Listen to Your Mother! Life is a horror story straight out of H.P Lovecraft. Only hopeful delusions prevent us from recognising the terrible reality of those things we have been taught to respect, admire and desire - spouse, children, work, moderate suburban comfort. Only by inducing ourselves to believe that these things are inherently valuable and that they justify our lives can we bear to tolerate the triviality, dissatisfaction, and absence of any real affection. Yet reality continues to impose itself. Unable to cope with one’s own defects not to mention the continuous rivalry with one’s siblings and parents, the unconscious mind objectifies them as monsters and demons which mean to destroy us - which of course is precisely what reality intends to do. The universe is indeed evil. The prevalence of defective genes, physical illness, and neuroses makes the point obvious even as we temporise and rationalise about them. Parents only begin to understand this after years of marriage and child-rearing. Whatever the original reasons for pursuing family life, they are inadequate for sustaining it. People change. Experience generates suffering. Dreams of the future are never fulfilled. Life becomes tedious and full of resentment and pretence when it was supposed to be an adventure. And the reality of death becomes more real. Yet none of this, of course, can be communicated to the children who are doomed to repeat the experience. Children think that the violence and pain and disappointment they experience are aberrations which can be avoided. They’re not. They are inevitable. All children believe in justice and have no concept of economics. This is what makes them vulnerable. They lack the skills to survive in an unjust, commercial world. And they know parents lie in any case. Particularly apt for pre-marital counselling.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy Imogene Reads

    This is going to hurt, writing this. Trying to decide how to word my very intense, visceral reactions to this story. This is the kind of review where I loved half and hated half, so it's a 3 star purely to keep it fair. Writing: ★★★★ Surreal vs Gritty Realism: ★★★★ Enjoyment: ★ 1/2 for the whole A Cosmology of Monsters is the type of horror novel that doesn't feel like a horror novel until you're halfway through and realizing that what you thought was the scary part....actually wasn't. I almost feel like I'm doing this novel a/>A/>/>Surreal This is going to hurt, writing this. Trying to decide how to word my very intense, visceral reactions to this story. This is the kind of review where I loved half and hated half, so it's a 3 star purely to keep it fair. Writing: ★★★★ Surreal vs Gritty Realism: ★★★★ Enjoyment: ★ 1/2 for the whole A Cosmology of Monsters is the type of horror novel that doesn't feel like a horror novel until you're halfway through and realizing that what you thought was the scary part....actually wasn't. I almost feel like I'm doing this novel a disservice by attempting to review it because I wasn't the right audience. Bear with me, and for a more glowing review I highly recommend Chelsea Humphrey's take. Her review made me want to like this so much more than I did, but it just wasn't for me. Noah is a boy who sees a monster outside of his window. But that's not actually what this story is about. It's also about the life saga of the Turner family in the 1970s-2000s, and their collective experiences with this monster. Some ignore it. Some get intimate (yes, in that way) with it. Some turn to suicide. Some are diagnosed with mental disorders. Some disappear. Some get weirdly cult-ish about it. (Given those phrases, it feels redundant to bring up the triggers for this story but they are numerous.) All of them find their lives enriched and ruined by its presence. Told from Noah's precarious point of view as both a semi-omniscient narrator for his pre-birth years and a main character for his life, A Cosmology of Monsters analyzes the everyday horror and not-so-everyday horror. I found the individual scenes extremely gripping and well written, but the overall arc of Noah's Friend, the monster, didn't call to me and at times it seriously irked me. This might be the case of a novel that was just on the wrong side of the knife's edge for my taste—instead of the perfect blend of the everyday literary with the horror, it felt like the wrong blend of both. I definitely recommend checking this out if you're a hardcore Lovecraft fan—the nods to his work are both in the writing and meta in the text—or if you're willing to dance with a different kind of horror that doesn't rely on blood or ghosts to make it scary. Thank you to Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Char

    Noah and his family are special, but I'm not so sure that's a good thing! A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS is a unique story. With a great opening line like: "I started collecting my older sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old.” how can one NOT get sucked in? This tale about a family, the haunted house/attractions they've managed and their unique relationships with, (I'll just call it "the other" for the purposes of this review), made for fascinating reading. As a longtime fan of hor Noah and his family are special, but I'm not so sure that's a good thing! A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS is a unique story. With a great opening line like: "I started collecting my older sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old.” how can one NOT get sucked in? This tale about a family, the haunted house/attractions they've managed and their unique relationships with, (I'll just call it "the other" for the purposes of this review), made for fascinating reading. As a longtime fan of horror, I loved the shout-outs and homages to those who have come before, most especially Lovecraft and King. (Check out the blurb from King on the cover!) I also enjoyed the character development here, even if I didn't like most of the characters. Almost none of the characters are perfectly good or bad, they are a mix of both, just like in real life. I did, (mostly), root for them anyway, especially Megan because I thought she got a raw deal. That said, the story fast-forwarded a bit after extensive time was spent on Noah's early years. At first it was a bit jarring, and then I became accustomed to it. Other than that, one other thing bothered me, but I can't get into it without spoiling a few plot points. I'll just say that I wanted to know more about "the other." More being everything, really. I just wanted more. For a debut novel, this one kept me turning the pages and I think it will be interesting to see how others react to it. For that reason, I'm going to keep my eyes open for other reviews on this unique and intriguing story. In the meantime, I recommend it! Get your copy here: https://amzn.to/2LCH3Cv *Thank you to NetGalley for the e-ARC, (in exchange for my honest review), and thanks to THE LINEUP for their giveaway, in which I received a beautiful hard copy with no strings attached. This review is my honest opinion.*

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I was skeptical in the beginning. At first the thing scratching at the windows of members of the Turner family seemed more Muppet than monster. But that evolves quickly and once it does, the book takes off and never lets up. It's not scary, it's horrifying. Lovecraft hovers in the increasing atmosphere of dread Hamill evokes. Lovecraft is also woven into the story early because he's part of how father Harry woos future wife Margaret, by lending her his copy of "The Tomb." And then taking her to I was skeptical in the beginning. At first the thing scratching at the windows of members of the Turner family seemed more Muppet than monster. But that evolves quickly and once it does, the book takes off and never lets up. It's not scary, it's horrifying. Lovecraft hovers in the increasing atmosphere of dread Hamill evokes. Lovecraft is also woven into the story early because he's part of how father Harry woos future wife Margaret, by lending her his copy of "The Tomb." And then taking her to Spooky World, which alters the direction of their lives. The creature is part of a race that will get you one way or another once it picks up your scent. What they do to you I won't say. Nate, the youngest child, who isn't even born yet when the scratching begins, hears it and interacts with the creature from a young age. It's an inversion of the classic invisible friend; this creature is real and it's his closely-guarded secret. As he grows up the two grow closer. It takes female form and they make love. (Parents who worry more about their kids being exposed to sex than violence, you've been warned. The violence in "Cosmology of Monsters," is mostly implied, but there's sex, which the kids probably know way more about already than what's in the book.) Meanwhile in the other world, the one we think of as the "real" world, children and teens are disappearing and the Turners lives turn weirder. The writing is indeed literary, a word that is overused but truly applies here. Hamill's plotting and writing are exceptional, so much it's hard to believe this is his first novel. More, please. The family is one the reader cares about from the beginning and more deeply as the book goes on. The monsters, though shadowy, are believably real. Though there are no jump scares, there's an atmosphere of increasing menace that's palpable. At some point I realized I was smiling while I was reading it, which is exactly what I want from horror or weird fiction or whatever: enjoyment. And the end, which is so often a letdown in horror books, is excellent. Overall, "Cosmology of Monsters" is an original, well-written and entertaining book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾

    I had a feeling, when I started reading this book, that it would become a favourite, and in the end I was not disappointed. I actually had to go back a couple of times during some of the most interesting parts because I was distracted thinking how beautiful the story was. Everything in this book was perfect to me: the plot, the characters, the way the story is told, the romance, the creatures, the final reveals... everything came together just perfectly and I couldn't be more happy on how it tu I had a feeling, when I started reading this book, that it would become a favourite, and in the end I was not disappointed. I actually had to go back a couple of times during some of the most interesting parts because I was distracted thinking how beautiful the story was. Everything in this book was perfect to me: the plot, the characters, the way the story is told, the romance, the creatures, the final reveals... everything came together just perfectly and I couldn't be more happy on how it turned out in the end. The character of The Friend is just amazing, Noah's family is made of people whose stories are so tragic and yet so real and believable it almost brought me to tears sometimes. I would like to add more details in this review but I really want to keep it spoiler-free because I want people who still haven't read the book to know just how great it is! I can't believe this is a debut novel! I absolutely can't wait to read more from the author. Bravo!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Crime by the Book

    I won’t be reviewing this one because it’s one of my work books - but suffice it to say I loved this read & am honored to be working on it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This novel worked for me in every possible way. It’s best categorized as literary horror with many ties to Lovecraft. A Cosmology Of Monsters is the story of a family obsessed. It covers many dark and disturbing areas. I could list all the content warnings here, but I don’t want to spoil the story. I will say that at the most distressing moments something beautiful would also emerge. I have been flipping back over this book since I read it. It deserves a reread in the future for sure. This novel worked for me in every possible way. It’s best categorized as literary horror with many ties to Lovecraft. A Cosmology Of Monsters is the story of a family obsessed. It covers many dark and disturbing areas. I could list all the content warnings here, but I don’t want to spoil the story. I will say that at the most distressing moments something beautiful would also emerge. I have been flipping back over this book since I read it. It deserves a reread in the future for sure. Thanks to Pantheon Books for the copy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    I love it when a debut novel catches me completely by surprise. A Cosmology of Monsters is creative, engrossing and just plain entertaining. It's a mash-up of monster horror, coming-of-age and family saga with a splash of strange fantasy and fate. The Turner family's story spans decades and is told by the youngest child, Noah. His family is plagued by monsters....both real and imagined. I don't want to give away too much and ruin any part of the story, so I'm not going to say much about the plot I love it when a debut novel catches me completely by surprise. A Cosmology of Monsters is creative, engrossing and just plain entertaining. It's a mash-up of monster horror, coming-of-age and family saga with a splash of strange fantasy and fate. The Turner family's story spans decades and is told by the youngest child, Noah. His family is plagued by monsters....both real and imagined. I don't want to give away too much and ruin any part of the story, so I'm not going to say much about the plot or even the structure/POV of this novel. It all works together to bring the story full circle. I can say that this story completely sucked me in. I was up reading until the wee hours because I wanted to finish. Very entertaining read!! And very well-written. The story was something new....and it's well told. Nice mix of creepy and emotional. I totally did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I expected a run-of-the-mill monster sort of story. But this book is so much more. Totally surprised me! Loved it! I'm definitely looking forward to more by this author. I like his style. **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Knopf-Doubleday via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

  12. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    (3.5) A Cosmology of Monsters is the story of the Turner family, narrated across decades by youngest son Noah Turner. He first pieces together the story of his parents' marriage before moving on to memories of his older sisters, Sydney and Eunice, and his own childhood. The Turners are dogged by tragedy – several members of the family disappear without a trace – and, according to Noah's account, they are also stalked by monsters. This 'relationship', too, is complicated. As a boy, Noah is visited by a c (3.5) A Cosmology of Monsters is the story of the Turner family, narrated across decades by youngest son Noah Turner. He first pieces together the story of his parents' marriage before moving on to memories of his older sisters, Sydney and Eunice, and his own childhood. The Turners are dogged by tragedy – several members of the family disappear without a trace – and, according to Noah's account, they are also stalked by monsters. This 'relationship', too, is complicated. As a boy, Noah is visited by a creature he christens 'My Friend'; it teaches him to fly and helps him in times of need. But he also suspects the monster and its kind may be the reason children keep going missing in the Turners' hometown. The first half of the book maintains a close focus on the Turner family. It's a careful, authentic portrait of three generations, with the weirdness confined to the margins: flitting past windows, lurking in dark corners. When Noah reaches his late teens, however, the plot takes a sharp turn into fantasy. This doesn't work quite as well. I'm being deliberately vague to avoid spoilers, but what could be an interesting angle on the monster aspect is rendered ineffective by a rather eyeroll-inducing development. Also, the realism of the family scenes arguably acts to undermine the fantasy: it seemed (to me) there should be some ambiguity, some sense that Noah might be making it up or creating his own allegory. But it's all played straight. Not necessarily my favourite sort of horror, but a very enjoyable read, boosted by great writing and characterisation. I received an advance review copy of A Cosmology of Monsters from the publisher through Edelweiss. TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I’ve maybe read five horror novels my whole life, the genre is just slightly out of my comfort zone but when I saw high praise from two of my most trusted reviewers (Chelsea and Abby) I knew I had to give it a shot. And I’ve once again learned why it’s so important to step out of my comfort zone occasionally because this one was really good! While this is definitely a horror novel it’s also not your typical gory, over the top classic horror novel, it’s way deeper and more sophisticate I’ve maybe read five horror novels my whole life, the genre is just slightly out of my comfort zone but when I saw high praise from two of my most trusted reviewers (Chelsea and Abby) I knew I had to give it a shot. And I’ve once again learned why it’s so important to step out of my comfort zone occasionally because this one was really good! While this is definitely a horror novel it’s also not your typical gory, over the top classic horror novel, it’s way deeper and more sophisticated than I expected. Literary horror would be an apt description, there was a quiet beauty to the authors writing even in the midst of such a dark and disturbing tale. I’m not gonna lie, this one is weird you guys, there’s a few moments where I went, wait, WHAT?! But I loved the weirdness and so appreciated that I was reading something wholly unique and like nothing else I’ve read before. It’s beyond dark too and deals with some disturbing stuff but again, there’s something beautiful about the way the author handles deep issues. The structure was also fantastic, there are seven different sections and there’s leaps of years sometimes which really propelled the plot forward at a rapid pace. I really don’t want to say too much more because this was so unique and I went in blind and feel like that’s the best way, but I’ll close by saying that if you like dark thriller try this, it’s a standout, for sure and is unlike much of what is on the market today. The Cosmology of Monsters in three words: Harrowing, Unique and Dark

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    My mother divorced an abusive husband and gave up the child support for survival...a solid enough reason, but with 2 small children to support by herself, and babysitters being pricey to a waitress/aspiring actress, to assume that I was one step removed from a feral child wouldn't be a stretch. This is not meant to be a therapy session, but rather the etiology of one of my guiltiest of pleasures. At a very young age, I was in charge of my little brother -- he was 4, I was 5. On Saturdays, our ba My mother divorced an abusive husband and gave up the child support for survival...a solid enough reason, but with 2 small children to support by herself, and babysitters being pricey to a waitress/aspiring actress, to assume that I was one step removed from a feral child wouldn't be a stretch. This is not meant to be a therapy session, but rather the etiology of one of my guiltiest of pleasures. At a very young age, I was in charge of my little brother -- he was 4, I was 5. On Saturdays, our babysitters were Dodger stadium, where you could watch baseball all day and get a bag of peanuts (breakfast and lunch), for well--peanuts, and movie theaters where the feature film played on a continuous loop and a package of Charms candies was less than a quarter. Sitting for 8 hrs. without a parent, somehow we escaped the fate of our photographs ending up on milk cartons. We sat physically undisturbed (but not mentally) on our booster seats through multiple showings of movies like The Longest Day, Taras Bulba, to The Parent Trap, 101 Dalmations. Depending on where we were living at the time, there were the lesser theaters and the lesser movies, the Peter Lorre and Vincent Price b&w horror films. As a child weaned on cult classics such as the Italian horror film Black Sunday, aka The Mask of Satan, I developed a good sense of psychological distance with monsters. I saw them all once, and afterward only through little sticky fingers fanned over my eyes -- BUT, I saw them all defeated. Dare I say that horror is sometimes... discomforting fun? My blood pressure doesn't rise, my amygdala doesn't scream, "Clown!"" and sometimes I think I smell cotton candy while reading Stephen King. All the anxieties I developed as a child could be quieted knowing that even the most unimaginable horror could be conquered because this was an orderly and hospitable world where someone watched over us. I don't know whether it was when Bambi's mother got shot and *actually* died, or when I saw Dean Stockwell invoking Yog-Sothoth in the 1970 film The Dunwich Horror that the uneasy thought of a malignant cosmos where there are powerful and indifferent creatures that don't give a spit for puny mankind took root in my head. I never owned a Cthulu T-shirt, or read a lot of Lovecraft. It felt a bit too Goth for me, or too trippy. Drawing on the *celestial tapestry of cosmic horror* that is Lovecraft's canon, A Cosmology of Monsters has me thinking about Lovecraft's writing again. Hamill tells a perfectly normal love story of a privileged young woman and a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and a life that spirals down the rabbit hole. Without going into a plot that is constructed to be revealed--necessary to be absorbed piece upon piece--the mechanism (or rabbit hole) is clever. On the all-consuming level of Richard Dreyfuss's character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Turner family father becomes obsessed with building a haunted house. The novel has an atmospheric charge that feels like a carnival ride through the unknown, and is constructed similarly. Reality blurs, delighted screams take on an uncertain quality, and the fun fades to the terror of the unknown becoming known. Without giving away the events that set this story in motion, my first thoughts were how mental disorders are misunderstood and can be terrifying. What role, in addition to physical illnesses, could psychic or sensory disturbances be playing in the story? Deeply disturbing events, abuse, neglect, can wear down our resiliency and even change our biology. I thought of the possibility. In the traditional sense of the review, the characters are beautifully developed. To the reader, they're development is experienced more as a series of alterations. They feel organic, confusing the line of distinction; they seem to grow with the darkest of social maladies twisting about them like distorted spines. Most psychiatric disorders are highly heritable; the estimated heritability for bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism (80% or higher) is much higher than that of diseases like breast cancer and Parkinson disease. Having a close family member affected by a mental illness is the largest known risk factor, to date."On the edge of madness"...that is a comforting thought to hold up to the writings of Lovecraft. Hamill seems to map that area alarmingly well in this worthwhile debut.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    Hm. This is a weird book. It's mainly about the history of a very odd family story that isn't quite explained. What I can say about this book is that it's a good idea. A father who can see monsters and his son who communicates with them. But that's what it is. A good idea. I felt like the story wasn't as fleshed out as it could have been. The idea was there, but it was very different. Each part was a different chunk of life, not necessarily tied together. Years were missing Hm. This is a weird book. It's mainly about the history of a very odd family story that isn't quite explained. What I can say about this book is that it's a good idea. A father who can see monsters and his son who communicates with them. But that's what it is. A good idea. I felt like the story wasn't as fleshed out as it could have been. The idea was there, but it was very different. Each part was a different chunk of life, not necessarily tied together. Years were missing. It starts with Noah's parents having a relationship, then it skips to when they're married with two kids, and then it skips again, and again, and again. I just wanted it to be more fluid. I never felt as if I got terribly attached to these characters, even if I was interested in seeing what happens with the story. In the end, very good idea, but I wasn't a fan of how it actually was on the page. It felt like I was missing something crucial that would have made me rate it higher.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I listened to Amazon’s audible performance of “The Cosmology of Monsters” by Shaun Hamill narrated by Sean Patrick Hopkins. Hopkins does a fabulous job in reading the story. I’m learning that narrators can make or break a story, and he does a great job. I chose this story because in the press for it, Stephen King writes “If John Irving ever wrote a horror novel, it would be something like this.” Well, I’m a huge Irving fan and I haven’t read a horror novel in a long while, so I though I listened to Amazon’s audible performance of “The Cosmology of Monsters” by Shaun Hamill narrated by Sean Patrick Hopkins. Hopkins does a fabulous job in reading the story. I’m learning that narrators can make or break a story, and he does a great job. I chose this story because in the press for it, Stephen King writes “If John Irving ever wrote a horror novel, it would be something like this.” Well, I’m a huge Irving fan and I haven’t read a horror novel in a long while, so I thought I’d give it a shot. In the beginning, it is Irving-esque. It starts off with Noah Turner, unborn at the beginning, telling the story of how his parents met and started a family. Noah’s father is obsessed with all things dark and creepy and somehow captures the attention of Noah’s practical mother. Another Irving-esque piece is that Noah’s oldest sister mysteriously disappears, and this haunts the family. OK, so the horror part…I’m still not a fan of the genre. Noah has a “monster” friend and it gets a bit creepy and strange for me. Add to that, the audio has strange music in an attempt to further the creepiness of the story. I wouldn’t call it horror and the creepiness aren’t the sort of creepiness that I enjoy. It didn’t work for me. But again, I’m not a fan of the horror genre, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. The narrator kept my attention, but I wasn’t a big fan of the story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    This book has a lot of potential, there are stretches of it I really enjoyed. I think it will appeal to most fans of mainstream Horror. The hooks are quite intriguing and the central "monster" is an impressive balancing act of terrifying and tender. Definitely not a traditional haunted house novel or even a haunted family novel. There is an ambitious structure and plot and plenty of homages to Lovecraft rooted in a story of a family's obsession. For me this didn't live up to the poten This book has a lot of potential, there are stretches of it I really enjoyed. I think it will appeal to most fans of mainstream Horror. The hooks are quite intriguing and the central "monster" is an impressive balancing act of terrifying and tender. Definitely not a traditional haunted house novel or even a haunted family novel. There is an ambitious structure and plot and plenty of homages to Lovecraft rooted in a story of a family's obsession. For me this didn't live up to the potential, though the issues I had with it are pretty standard for Horror Written By White Men. Hamill has some strong and imaginative ideas, but the character development and plot didn't always live up to those ideas. I will be looking to see what he does next, though. Note: Personally, I have had more than my fill of Lovecraft homages and I think THE BALLAD OF BLACK TOM should have been the official final nail in that coffin, but I know there are still a lot of fans out there.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Harry Jahnke

    "Life makes monsters of everyone, but it's always possible to come back. Pain and death are real, but so are love, and family, and forgiveness." Wow. What an absolute journey. Every once and while you read a story that you feel was written just for you. This was one of those for me. Incredible storytelling, horribly wonderful, moments that left me literally dropping my jaw. Can't recommend it enough. This is what horror is about; this is why the genre exists. To help us embrace the da "Life makes monsters of everyone, but it's always possible to come back. Pain and death are real, but so are love, and family, and forgiveness." Wow. What an absolute journey. Every once and while you read a story that you feel was written just for you. This was one of those for me. Incredible storytelling, horribly wonderful, moments that left me literally dropping my jaw. Can't recommend it enough. This is what horror is about; this is why the genre exists. To help us embrace the darkness in the night that we cannot face with love and bravery.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)

    How can you not be interested in a book with a Lovecraftian, monster-y cover?? While paying homage to other horror authors and tropes, it really is its own story entirely, and it doesn’t fit in any specific box. I’d define it as a family drama with a splash of supernatural adventure tale. There is a lot I really enjoyed about this book. I loved how the story is told from Noah’s perspective. He starts with how his parents met, which is my favorite part of the whole book. It was just fu How can you not be interested in a book with a Lovecraftian, monster-y cover?? While paying homage to other horror authors and tropes, it really is its own story entirely, and it doesn’t fit in any specific box. I’d define it as a family drama with a splash of supernatural adventure tale. There is a lot I really enjoyed about this book. I loved how the story is told from Noah’s perspective. He starts with how his parents met, which is my favorite part of the whole book. It was just fun: who takes a girl on a second date to a haunted house? I want to be that girl! The story moves on and the family business becomes creating haunted houses for the month of October. I loved the descriptions of the houses; I would totally go their attraction. But it isn’t enough that they create a spooky attraction, Noah starts seeing a monster, an actual monster outside his window every night. The rest of the story is Noah’s—the divide between the real world and the one with monsters, the struggles of his family and the family business, and trying to find a normal life. It is quite a sad tale, and I was left thinking about what the monsters represent and who they were. While I loved the set-up of the story, it goes off in a direction that I didn’t find as interesting as the premise led me to believe. There is so much potential to have a unique story that dances the line between the real and the fantastical, but it just didn’t excite me that much. I wished it went deeper. My thanks to Pantheon for my copy of this one to read and review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Drenning

    Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC of this book. I really loved this story. It was a different kind of horror than Gore and blood. It basically is about torment. Long, drawn out torment. I think the idea was very original and hope to read more by this author. I loved all the throwbacks to Lovecraft and old time monsters. I was really pleased with this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray In his debut novel, A Cosmology of Monsters, author Shaun Hamill serves up a uniquely weird and wonderful reading experience. Noah Turner is the youngest of three children in a family plagued by monsters of both the real and fantastical variety. Noah narrates his family’s story, a tale spanning decades, which starts with his parents falling in love and ends when he is a grown adult. The novel follows the very real highs and lo Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray In his debut novel, A Cosmology of Monsters, author Shaun Hamill serves up a uniquely weird and wonderful reading experience. Noah Turner is the youngest of three children in a family plagued by monsters of both the real and fantastical variety. Noah narrates his family’s story, a tale spanning decades, which starts with his parents falling in love and ends when he is a grown adult. The novel follows the very real highs and lows that any family may face over the years – for example, financial struggles and business success, the pure joy of a new child being born, and the dark reality of terminal illness. However, the Turner family also lives in a world that is nearly hallucinatory, phantasmagoric at times. A world where monsters exist, interacting with each family member in a slightly different way and causing them to alternate between being terrified, puzzled, and comforted by the presence of a beast. Blending horror, fantasy, and literary fiction, Hamill draws the reader into the world of the Turner family with ease. The title of the novel itself gives a nod to the framework and structure of the story. Perhaps the most germane definition of the term “cosmology” is “the scientific study of the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe.” Hamill quite evidently follows this path, as his story is a journey through the origin and evolution of the Turner family that ultimately comes to a close by tying up loose ends in order to clarify the family’s fate. Divided into seven parts, each part of this book is thoughtfully structured, often skipping ahead in time some years from the previous part in order to move the family’s journey forward. Each part also ends with a separate narrative section, denoted by a change in font. These sections begin quite mysteriously, however through the course of the novel build upon themselves to reveal their function and meaning to the reader. Such a description of the structure may sound vague, as it is difficult to provide additional detail without spoiling some of the many unique aspects of this novel. A Cosmology of Monsters twists and turns in unexpected ways, providing bits of information throughout which the reader is responsible for collecting, assessing, and synthesizing. The reader is certain to be surprised countless times by the revelations and connections Hamill makes throughout the book. The second half of the novel in particular really picks up speed, gripping the reader and inducing a frenzied turning of pages in order to get to the crux of who these monsters are and what they want with the Turners. The writing is simply haunting, the story full of heart. Hamill strikes upon meaningful themes throughout the book including the complexities of sacrifice, the strengths and flaws inherent in familial bonds, how fear is created in our lives, and what various shapes a monster may take. I highly recommend this novel for fans of Paul Tremblay and Stephen King. Much in the vein of these two celebrated horror writers, Hamill has built a rich world full of complex characters and he successfully delivers in showing how the horrors of real life can be just as terrifying as any monster.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Burris

    There’s some genuinely eerie scenes in this and that’s where it really excelled. A few three or four scenes that kind of broke the atmosphere but it’s a page turner.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Read my Fall 2019 interview with the author @ More2Read Meet the Turners, they are alike and unlike any other family, there is Deborah, Harry, Margaret, Eunice, Sydney, and Noah Turner, juxtaposing through their myriad of lows and highs, reader and narrator together through marriage, friendships, death, sickness, poverty, disappearances, and suicide attempts, with wonder, creatives, and joys, through their childhood and adulthood complexities, these battles of inner and outer, monsters inne Read my Fall 2019 interview with the author @ More2Read Meet the Turners, they are alike and unlike any other family, there is Deborah, Harry, Margaret, Eunice, Sydney, and Noah Turner, juxtaposing through their myriad of lows and highs, reader and narrator together through marriage, friendships, death, sickness, poverty, disappearances, and suicide attempts, with wonder, creatives, and joys, through their childhood and adulthood complexities, these battles of inner and outer, monsters inner and outer, encounters, and friendship with another kind. There will be unraveling events telling the history of kin and the truths revealing their relationship with an insidious melancholy presence. This world he has created in a debut novel is not an easy task, he has done a great job of creating this world for the reader to escape into, expounding on many complexities and fragilities of the Turner family their tragedies with common and uncommon creatures. Review @ More2Read

  24. 4 out of 5

    Out of the Bex

    Disappointing. I was roped in by the first paragraph and the description, but my hopes for a great story were not met by the end. Some sections of this book are very well-written. Some were more mediocre. Sadly the balance tipped more toward mediocrity when as a whole I began to ask two questions: where is this going? and when will it end? Something is wrong when a reader too often questions the length of the novel and continuously wonders how much is left. I almost DNF'd t Disappointing. I was roped in by the first paragraph and the description, but my hopes for a great story were not met by the end. Some sections of this book are very well-written. Some were more mediocre. Sadly the balance tipped more toward mediocrity when as a whole I began to ask two questions: where is this going? and when will it end? Something is wrong when a reader too often questions the length of the novel and continuously wonders how much is left. I almost DNF'd this, but the occasional bit of intrigue would rope me back in. I felt like pulled taffy by the end. This book is a sort of love letter to Lovecraft. If you're interested in that this book may be a better experience for you. For me, however, I was left wanting. Verdict: Skip It. Disclosure: My review copy of this book was gifted for free by the publisher. This is no way impacts my review. All reviews are 100% honest.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    "I think horror is the most important fiction in the world." I have a complicated relationship with this book. I absolutely loved the first 100+ pages. I was completely hooked, and confident that this was going to be one of my favorite books of the year. Then the story changes. I feel a mixture of love and frustration when I think about this book. I enjoyed so many things about it, but there were other aspects that fell short, or weren't fleshed out enough. I don't want to say much be "I think horror is the most important fiction in the world." I have a complicated relationship with this book. I absolutely loved the first 100+ pages. I was completely hooked, and confident that this was going to be one of my favorite books of the year. Then the story changes. I feel a mixture of love and frustration when I think about this book. I enjoyed so many things about it, but there were other aspects that fell short, or weren't fleshed out enough. I don't want to say much because you deserve to experience this book on your own like I did. I was very entertained by this story, but I wish there would have been more of a focus on the family and the haunted house instead of the monster. It feels weird to say that I loved everything but the monster when the monster was woven into so much of the book. A Cosmology of Monsters was almost a favorite, but it just felt like some things were missing. I still tore through it, and had so much fun reading this story. I would love to check out more horror from the author in the future. CW - kidnapping, suicide attempt, grooming

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Noah Turner has a secret he has held close since he was a young boy. He sees monsters and has befriended one for many years. Noah’s father saw them as well. He went on to build an entire immersive horror experience called The Wandering Dark as an homage to the monsters he saw. The themes within this exhibition have in equal measure brought the Turner family wealth and happiness while also tearing them apart. This is the story of an outside force impacting the fate of a family. At the Noah Turner has a secret he has held close since he was a young boy. He sees monsters and has befriended one for many years. Noah’s father saw them as well. He went on to build an entire immersive horror experience called The Wandering Dark as an homage to the monsters he saw. The themes within this exhibition have in equal measure brought the Turner family wealth and happiness while also tearing them apart. This is the story of an outside force impacting the fate of a family. At the center of this tale is Noah and his monster and how their relationship affects the rest of the Turner family. A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS is part horror, part speculative fiction, and part fantasy. It is also a story of family interaction and how everything we do impacts those around us. I’ve kept the synopsis vague because I feel that it’s a story that needs to be experienced without too many hints to what may happen. At the core of this book is Noah Turner, who is telling us the story of his family. We actually aren’t introduced to Noah until later into the book when he is born, as the book launches with how his parents meet. This gives the reader a unique connection to Noah as we experience not only how he views himself, but also how he views his family’s history. I loved getting to know everyone through Noah’s eyes. He has a true sense of honesty for those around him as well as himself. The structure of this story is uniquely assembled. While the narrative is coming from Noah, as mentioned before, it is broken into parts that are essentially dedicated to specific family members or events from the family’s history. There are at times large time shifts between the parts, which helps to accelerate the story much faster into present-day Noah and how he came to be writing the story of his family. At the end of each section there is also a section featuring a script. At first these threw me off, as they feature an alternate timeline and location, however, as you read more of the script you start to understand their presence in the story and how they link to real-world events. A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS is not a book that I would place in any one single genre. There is an overarching element of horror to the story, which seems obvious when you know you’re walking into a book about monsters. The horror is not straightforward in the sense that you’re reading a book of jump scares. What Hamill gives the reader is much deeper with side of mild gore in some parts of the book. I recommend this story to anyone open to trying something a bit outside of the norm. This is a wonderful, weird, and visceral story that belongs on any TBR! Disclosure: A huge thank you to Pantheon Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

    DNF....a promising start led to me plodding along by the halfway mark. Reads like a mediocre "House of Leaves" with a hint of David Wong. A bunch of unlikable characters and a monster that seems like it was Jim Henson's worst nightmare

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill was actually a pleasure to read! I wasn't sure what to expect and based on the cover, which I must admit, I don't love, I thought it would be a bit childish or a bit on the silly side but I was way wrong. Again proving, don’t always judge a book by it’s cover! The Turner family, primarily Noah Turner and his sister Eunice, are the primary focus in this horror yet oddly - family saga - with a coming of age theme, how’s that for confusing? Strangely, it real A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill was actually a pleasure to read! I wasn't sure what to expect and based on the cover, which I must admit, I don't love, I thought it would be a bit childish or a bit on the silly side but I was way wrong. Again proving, don’t always judge a book by it’s cover! The Turner family, primarily Noah Turner and his sister Eunice, are the primary focus in this horror yet oddly - family saga - with a coming of age theme, how’s that for confusing? Strangely, it really works and it kept my attention throughout the whole book along with keeping me up until 2:30 am to finish it! One of the better horror books I’ve read in a while!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    OUT TODAY! Thank you to Pantheon for providing me with an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review. I knew from the cover art that this was a book I needed to pick up. Once I read the synopsis I was hooked, and I couldn't put it down. This stunning literary horror debut hit me in all the right places. I was up way past lights out flipping the pages, fully invested in the Turner family's story and the monster(s) that haven't stopped haunting them for generations. Good horr OUT TODAY! Thank you to Pantheon for providing me with an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review. I knew from the cover art that this was a book I needed to pick up. Once I read the synopsis I was hooked, and I couldn't put it down. This stunning literary horror debut hit me in all the right places. I was up way past lights out flipping the pages, fully invested in the Turner family's story and the monster(s) that haven't stopped haunting them for generations. Good horror is like a good lie, there's a lot of truth mixed in with the rest. In A Cosmology of Monsters, I would say that truth element is generational trauma. The turner family faces a lot of hardship, but their biggest struggle is one of communication and forgiveness. It's a story of regret, reconciliation, and family healing. But don't get me wrong, it's also about big scary monsters and a hidden inter-dimensional city hungry for your soul. Don't worry, there are true horror elements wrapped up in the interpersonal family drama. Hamill's writing is so beautifully descriptive that it will make you cry and shiver in equal measure. A Cosmology of Monsters has absolutely landed itself on my favorites of 2019 list. If you enjoy family sagas, literary fiction, horror, or science fiction I highly recommend this debut novel by Hamill. This is, weirdly enough, a book for fans of both Stranger Things AND This Is Us haha! More on my blog!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eddie Generous

    Unnerving Magazine Review Listen to my chat with the author here: https://www.unnervingmagazine.com/sin... This one's a fantastically strange ride and skirts the horror, fantasy, and mystery genres without settling in for a majority hold of any one. The family dynamic is engaging and realistic without bogging the pages with the monotony of day-to-day survival. At its core, this one pulls you in a lot of different directions, and does so without any fat on the meat, while it unravels with sufficient light to offset t Unnerving Magazine Review Listen to my chat with the author here: https://www.unnervingmagazine.com/sin... This one's a fantastically strange ride and skirts the horror, fantasy, and mystery genres without settling in for a majority hold of any one. The family dynamic is engaging and realistic without bogging the pages with the monotony of day-to-day survival. At its core, this one pulls you in a lot of different directions, and does so without any fat on the meat, while it unravels with sufficient light to offset the dark. One of the best novels I've read all year. Plus it has weird sex in it.

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