The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon


A stunning, operatic, epic drama, like no other. Meet Hel, an ordinary teenager – and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair?

Hel tries to make the best of it, creating gleaming halls in her dark kingdom and welcoming the dead who she is forced to host for eternity. Until eternity itself is threatened.

How did I get the book?
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Genre: Classics Retold / Mythology

Review: Personally I adored The Monstrous Child. I love mythology, Greek, Egyptian, Norse… I like retellings, be they based on mythology, classics or fairy-tales/fables. This book was pretty much a ‘me’ read from the start and I loved Hel’s voice. She is a great narrator, full of anger at her fate (I don’t blame her) with a tiny amount of hope tucked away. Hel is both a young girl and timeless, at the beginning of The Monstrous Child it’s very much teen Hel but towards the end you can tell she’s grown.

Francesca Simon builds the different realms Hel visits so you can picture them, yet you don’t feel like you’re drowning in description. The same goes for the amount of Norse mythology (as in Hel’s family history) that needs to be fitted into the story. I thought the balance was good and certainly helped by Hel’s narration.

I enjoyed The Monstrous Child a lot but it is different, so might not be for everyone. That said I’d always recommend trying something different and Hel’s story might but just be that book you didn’t know you’d love.

Recommend it?


Published today by Faber & Faber

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