Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

September 7, 2014
Broken Monsters by Lauren BeukesBroken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
Also by this author: The Shining Girls
Published by Mulholland Books on September 16, 2014
Genres: Horror
Pages: 528
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Thanks to Mulholland Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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From Arthur C Clarke award-winning author Lauren Beukes comes an unsettling yet compulsive new thriller. Broken city, broken dreams ... In the city that's become a symbol for the death of the American dream, a nightmare killer is unravelling reality. A terrifying new thriller from Lauren Beukes, award-winning author of The Shining Girls. Detective Gabi Versado no longer believes in justice. She's seen too much stupidity, corruption and just plain badness. But never anything like this. And now it's bleeding into her life.He was a broken man. The dreams which once fueled his ambition have curdled inside him - dreams of recognition, love and family. But now he has new dreams - dreams of flesh and bone made monstrously beautiful.Detroit is the decaying corpse of the American Dream. Motor-city. Murder-city. Now a killer with the touch of an artist is turning it into the worst kind of nightmare ... Praise for Broken Monsters:

After finishing this book, I can’t help but ask myself why I have not read anything by Lauren Beukes before. This book is is just incredible (for lack of a more imaginative word). It is horrific, spell-binding and poetic, a fantastic story that left me both incredibly satisfied and wanting to read more by the author.

“This city is all about the people, who have to burn against the dark. It’s the bright against the blight”

The setting is depressing and perfect. Detroit is a shell of a city, with evidence all around of a better life, the life the city used to have before it went bankrupt. The industrial remains of its once thriving economy are a constant reminder of what used to be, of what was lost. The crime rate is high and there are good people who are homeless, unable to find work after the city fell apart. The tone this setting gives the book is incredible.

“Everyone lives three versions of themselves; a public life, a private life and a secret life”

There are multiple POVs, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m quite used to this in fantasy, but not so much in horror. This really gives the book a stronger presence than it would have if it were told with the more narrow focus of just one character. The characters all come alive, giving the reader a firm grasp of their personalities, their motivations, desires and fears. It’s the type of book where you feel like you can imagine one of the characters walking into the room and you’d feel you already know them. You also get a good glimpse in the disparity between their three lives (public, private and secret). Something that would not be possible with just one perspective.

“Black is the symbol of perfect democracy. All the colors united as one.”

And I won’t say which anything about who it is, but one of the perspectives is being overtaken by a darkness that controls them. As a reader, I was was incredibly intrigued if it was just mental illness or if there was a fantastical element of the book starting to take shape. I won’t say which way it goes, just that I would be pleased either way because either way, it’s some scary freaky stuff. And I did love how it turned out.

“Shakespeare would have it wrong these days. It’s not the world that’s the stage — it’s social media, where you’re trying to put on a  show.”

Another real strength of this book is the integration of social media. It takes what can be nothing and turns it, us, into monsters. It gives fuel to fan fires that would otherwise be nothing more than a flicker. And I’m not just talking major news stories, I’m talking about every day life, normal people that have a bad moment that get captured on social media, becomes sensationalized, goes viral (spreads like a virus). Everyone’s lives are subject to social media. And we are all broken in some way. This book shows what that can do to a person. Once again, some scary stuff, even if it’s not the type of scary that serial killer brings to the table.

“Everyone is broken”

I absolutely recommend this book, to just about anyone, really. I guess if you are someone who has trouble sleeping after reading scary things, maybe read it in the morning, start your day with a good dose of mystery and fright.