The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope
Read before: No
Ownership: Copy provided by the publisher upon request
Disclaimer: Receiving a review copy from the publisher does not affect my opinion of the book. If you think I review it highly it is due to me knowing my taste well and therefore not requesting books I won’t enjoy. And I am not obligated to review the book if I do not like it, so you may not see bad reviews due to me preferring not to hype down a particular book. I only do reviews of books I disagreed with if I think it is worth bringing a topic or warning to light.
The Monsters We Defy has it all as a book. Part magic, part heist, part finding your identity and your place in the world, part critique about life in the 1920s as a black person, what it is as a whole is an enthralling read.
Clara is doing her best to just live her life quietly and safely. She has her job, her annoying Trick and Zelda as a temporary roommate to contend with and that is more than enough. The problem is that this puts her as a spirit medium and people know she helps folks, which at some point was a gift, but nowadays to her feels like a curse.
But then she starts noticing people disappearing and some odd spirit world things happening, and she just can’t let it go, so she gets involved and suddenly there’s a heist to pull, trying to steal a powerful magical ring that may give her the freedom she craves from her Trick.
Honestly, the way the combination of Charm and Trick works is a delight to read and I found it fascinating once each character covers their back story and you suddenly understand why they wanted the Charm and thought they could cope with the Trick attached to it and make a deal with a spirit.
The whole cast is fascinating and Clara is a strong well developed main character. Zelda is a hoot and I love her dearly. Overall this book had me at the edge of my seat and at the same time laughing and worried. The heist itself is good, the historical setting wasn’t too much nor too far away from the truth of how things were back then the right balance, and there’s a lot going on and many characters to keep you entertained.
Overall really recommend it as there’s very little I can compare it to, but if you like stories of magic, identity, cahoots, and heists and historical background, this is an absolute blast to read.