i received a copy of only a monster from allen and unwin nz in exchange for an honest review.

star rating

only a monster review

in case you weren’t aware, only a monster is about time travel. well it’s about a lot of things. but time travel is the most important. (in my humble opinion).

and as a lover of all things time travel, of course i had to love this one.

and yes, i read this book in one sitting. i devoured it.

while this book was fairly short, it didn’t like in world building. it was rich and descriptive. i was a little worried as to how the author would explain time travel without being too detailed (which is always confusing), but also not too vague (i do like some answers!). the time travel wasn’t over done – the characters only went to a few different locations, so it wasn’t like vanessa len was trying to cram a lot in (which i was grateful for).

the characters were interesting. joan, our main character, was very realistic and believable. she had concerns about doing “bad” things, as she had always been little miss good. i liked as she broadened her outlook on what was considered good/bad as things went on.

only a monster ends with lots of talk about soul mates. this isn’t something i like. i feel like being soul mates is something you don’t have a choice in (same as fate, destiny and all those other things). like, what if you’re destined to be with someone, but they do something inexcusable? are you stuffed? never going to love again?

because of this, i’m a little worried with how things will progress in the next book. either way, i have my preferred love interest in mind – i just hope the author can read my thoughts from so far away.

considering i loved pretty much everything about this book, i have two things that bothered me (but aren’t the end of the world):

  • the ending felt rushed.

so much was packed into the last few pages, it was unreal.

  • the excessive use of the term “monster.”

i’m sure if you open up the ebook and search in the term, there’ll be at least one on every page, if not more.

my biggest issue with this is that the author seemed to label select groups as “monster” and “hero” (monster is used to describe a group of people, like british, american, etc.). it felt like these were supposed to be placeholder terms where the author was going to change it later on. while this was annoying due to the repetitiveness of the word, i still enjoyed the book. a lot.

overall, if you haven’t figured it out by now: you should read only a monster. it’s so damn good.

buy your copy now!

mighty ape | the nile | paper plus


  1. avatar

    i somehow had not known that this book also has time travel??!! i’ve only read VERY FEW books with time travel in all of my life as a bookworm, but i definitely want to try more of it! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one so much! and thank you for getting me even more excited for it with this amazing review!

    1. avatar

      it’s strange that time travel is a very well known concept, but there are hardly any books on the subject! i definitely recommend this one, i couldn’t put it down.

  2. avatar
    WendyW says:

    I do enjoy a time travel book. I haven’t read many, but they do appeal to me.

    1. avatar

      i’m the same! i haven’t read many, but i love the concept. i couldn’t recommend this one enough.

  3. avatar

    I think the time travel was one of my favorite parts and originally before I picked this up I hadn’t known that it would be such a huge part of the story, so that surprised me in a good way too! I also liked the cast, though my favorite was Joan bc I enjoyed how real she felt as a character. LOVED reading your review Chelsea 💗💗

    1. avatar

      i’m glad you enjoyed it too! and i agree about not knowing it would play a large part of it (i mean, i obviously didn’t read the blurb very well bc i didn’t know it was about it at all!)

  4. avatar

    Oooo, I really like the sound of this, especially with the explanation of time travel not being too detailed and not being too vague – unfortunately I struggle the most with this (despite loving time travel books) because I end up confused more often than not (even worse on audiobook). Also I didn’t realize this had time travel?! I heard about monsters being involved, but yeah, no, the time travel definitely did not process into my head.

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this book, though I’m sorry to hear the ending felt rushed and “monster” was used practically on every page. Hopefully it’ll be less excessive in the sequel.

    1. avatar

      i’m glad i’m not the only one who struggles with this! it’s either too much or not enough.

      i recon the time travel was more interesting than the monster aspect. i look forward to reading the next one.

  5. avatar

    Great review! I finished the book a week or so ago and still need to write mine but I was curious to see your thoughts on it. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was a little bit more iffy for me, probably 3/3.5. It looks like we’re headed for a love triangle, and I’m not a fan. I kinda can’t choose at the moment…usually I end up with second lead syndrome so I’m not looking forward to that! Thanks for sharing your review. I’m definitely ready for the next book!

    1. avatar

      i’m interested to hear your thoughts! i really don’t want a love triangle, and i’m not a fan of soul mates/anything along that sort so we’ll see where the next book goes!

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