(3 / 5) – It was okay
It is important to note that I am over “the series,” be it a duology, trilogy or never ending book production in the fantasy genre right now. It seems nearly impossible to find a stand alone fantasy novel and I bought M.J. Miro’s “Ordinary Monsters” with that hope. I was disappointed in that, which has negatively colored my view of this entire book, so please bear that in mind as you engage this review.
I love the premise of “Ordinary Monsters.” A mix between “Harry Potter” and “The X-Men Academy” all set in 19th century United Kingdom. The premise is an absolute win. Miro does a great job of keeping the reader engaged with a myriad of characters even as he takes time to delve into their histories, motivations and various mysterious lives. Much of the first half of this book is character driven development for the reader and even as a relatively slow paced fantasy novel, it kept me engaged and wanting to know more about these children, teachers and circumstances.
For me it was about two thirds of the way through that I realized there was no way this was going to be a stand alone novel as too much was left unresolved to be clarified in the next third of the book and I was right. This disappointment left a bitter taste in my mouth for the rest of the novel unfortunately. The action certainly picked up in the last third of the book and I felt there was a satisfying conclusion to this first novel of what will become a series. I certainly am not disappointed I read it, though I don’t know if I will read any subsequent novels.
If you are looking for a new series to follow, as it is published, and the premise of this intrigues you, I think you will enjoy it. The characters, conflict and plot all offer mature and complex tensions for narrative and one can certainly get lost in this particular world. You will come away in love with some of these characters and rooting for almost all of them.