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Book Review: The Monster Mash

Years ago the Old Gods went to war against the New Gods over something relatively minor (isn’t that always the way). Centuries later, they have the right to conscript any being of supernatural descent to the cause. A conscription that lasts for as long as the Gods have need of them… which for a mortal is a lifetime. Newly graduated surgeon Petra is just one of those unlucky supernatural descended mortals who gets picked – and now she’s been in the army for over seven years.. Worse, she’s got an ability that has been outlawed by the Gods – she can see the dead. Still, life isn’t too bad at the MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital). She’s got friends – a vegetarian werewolf, a death-metal loving vampire, and a surprisingly innocent sphinx. Oh who’s she kidding, War is H-E-double hockey sticks and Petra is right in the middle of it. When too-handsome-for-his-own-good Galen of Delphi ends up on her surgical table, Petra breaks all of the rules to keep him alive – even going so far as to shove his soul back into his body. Now Galen knows her secret. A secret which has painted a very real target on her back. Because there’s a prophesy about a healer who can see the dead bringing the end to the war – and the gods really really don’t want that.

This was a surprisingly fun genre defying book. It’s like Urban Fantasy met Paranormal Romance and Romantic Comedy and had a threesome with this as the offspring. It’s funny and engaging and sexy and honestly pure fun. The world is massively fascinating. All gods and demi-gods are valid and a lot of them aren’t very nice. Supernatural creatures of all types exist from the usual shifters and vampires to sphinxes and souleaters. The world feels lived in… used. There’s red tape and bureaucracy. Mini-dinosaurs are looked on as akin to sea monkeys. Every character has a past, a personality – even if they’re just a patient on Petra’s table. I did feel like this was a supernatural version of MASH and that Klinger or Hawkeye would walk in with a quip or six. I liked that Petra wasn’t a twenty-something… She’s 42 and part-Fae. She’s also snarky and stand-offish (with good reason). Honestly I really wanted more of the side characters… especially Jeffe. Jeffe was adorable and funny and l loved him. LOL

There is a lot of information that has to be imparted and while for the most part it was done well, I did feel at at times that it slipped into infodump territory. A lot of this is saved by the fact that Petra’s character voice is so strong. She’s very present even when she’s imparting “as you know” information. There was a fun running gag of all of Petra and Galen’s kisses being interrupted by something or someone. I found it funny. I found Galen okay. He was very cliched hero type.. he wasn’t bad and I liked that he didn’t try to force the relationship (he tried to force other things… like the acceptance of the prophecy). But he wasn’t memorable in the way of some other heroes. I hope that changes in the other books. I did like that he was honorable and that his honor ended up being plot relevant. The problem I really had was that the romance felt a little rushed and thin on the ground. It wasn’t bad… but I wanted more.

The plot itself was interesting… but oddly limited BECAUSE we were so present in Petra’s head. The author made a very interesting choice to not have Petra be a part of what would end up being the major action because of realism and her role in the war. I thought it was a neat choice and that it worked… but only because of the care and set up that happened earlier. I appreciated that the author didn’t give in to temptation and do this in a dual POV… I think it would have lessened the impact of several scenes and ultimately the novel itself. There were a few places that I felt would have been improved by having a bit more conversation/action. It was egregious enough (and I noted it enough times) that it lessened my enjoyment. I also noticed several comma faults and wrong words, which also distracted me. In all, this is a fun, fascinating Urban Paranormal Fantasy. I loved the world. I really liked the characters. I’m interested in reading more.

Four stars

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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley

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