As I found from her previous novella, The Bear Who Wouldn't Leave, J.H. Moncrieff writes unusual horror. She takes a well known trope - in this case an ancient, gigantic sea creature - and creates a whole new perspective. I loved the way the plot and characters developed, and the change in point of view worked exceptionally well as it could have easily fallen flat in less capable hands. I read the whole story in one riveting read and loved it.
Monsters In Our Wake is not my first creature from the deep book, but it certainly is the most original and a helluva lot of fun. It does require readers to check their disbelief at the door, but if you can do that I think you'll enjoy where this deep sea adventure takes you. Recommended.
Here’s a writer that gives us just what we need. What I mean is that Moncrieff gets us right into the crux of the story without any fluff. Her descriptions are vivid and well-placed. What’s really impressive is how she creates a pretty large cast of different characters without overwhelming the reader. There’s a gradual reveal as we naturally get to know them. Moncrieff doesn’t need to give us the full back story of everyone, but gives us enough to get an understanding of what makes them tick. We get a lot through the realistic and colorful dialogue.
Moncrieff shifts POV between a couple of the crew members, as well as that of one of the sea monsters. I really enjoyed the creativity in that perspective. Another thing I really appreciated is the way the author employs a subtle commentary on gender roles. On the ship, Flora battles the rest of the crew and their inability to handle her being the only woman onboard—it really gets ugly at times. Her character arc involves her sense of herself and her feminine characteristics. These qualities are viewed negatively by most of her fellow crewmembers, but end up really being her greatest strength.
On the flip side, the sea monster bewails the fact that his wife is more powerful than he is. He plays second fiddle to her for most of the story, but things take a turn as he comes to terms with what he is and what he must do at the close of the novel.
For horror fans, there is a lot of gore to be gobbled up on these pages. There’s also a constant sense of dread as we wonder if the crew is going to survive the ancient creatures’ plot to destroy them all. A few chilling scenes are when the monsters show themselves to the crew, often with grisly results.
Being an environmentalist at heart, I can’t help but see this as a cautionary tale about what happens when man attempts to disrupt the balance of nature for their own monetary gain.
Get yourself a copy of this gripping story and follow Moncrief and her other dark works of fiction. You won’t be disappointed.