Friends. Lovers. Monsters, by Sarah Burton
Hi guys, how has your week been?
It’s been pretty exciting here recently as I’m due to be moving house soon, so fingers crossed it all goes well.
Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Friends. Lovers. Monsters, a thriller novel by Sarah Burton.
Sophie, a stubborn college student has just moved into a new apartment, much to her mother’s annoyance. The problem? Her apartment is in Shady Groves, an area where several girls have recently gone missing. When Sophie discovers a nightmarish creature in the building’s basement, she calls on the help of friends both old and new, to find a solution. Still, things like this don’t just appear out of nowhere. Someone had to have brought the creature into this world and someone will have to find a way to banish it.
Throughout the story, there were many interesting characters. However, I’d like to focus on the five I considered to play major roles in the story’s development.
Sophie was a fun and curious character right from the start. Both feisty and stubborn, she always had something to say (or think) about every situation she found herself in. Her book-smart nature came in handy many times throughout the story, specifically when it came to understanding the grisly creature’s origins. There wasn’t anything I particularly disliked about her. On the contrary, I came to see her as a friend, one with a keen drive to resolve problems and a level of determination and care to rival most.
In contrast to Sophie’s curious and wilful portrayal, Greg, the apartment manager, appeared shy and cautious upon first glance. He was always offering to help Sophie whenever she needed assistance, which quickly endeared me to his character. He seemed sweet and gentle, however, over the course of the story, his demeanour gradually shifted and he felt to me like more of a nuisance than a genuine help to the situation.
Detective Forth was another interesting character. This young man always seemed to be on edge and had a responsible and dutiful manner. He was the type of person who keeps others out of their personal affairs, closing himself off to the world at large. His serious demeanour and strictly rule-bound way of thinking and acting gave me the initial impression that he wouldn’t be likable, however, I was wrong. As the story progressed and I learned more about his past, I came to adore him, strict practicality and all. Of all the characters, he is definitely the one that grew on me the most.
Next, I’d like to discuss Mr Devoto, a decidedly creepy neighbour of Sophie’s. From the moment I first encountered him, he made me feel both nervous and curious. He was a nosy and heavily opinionated man, with a creepy way of turning up when you least expected him. At first glance, he appeared to be snobbish, putting on a posh air and voice, as if to impress, however, he simply came across as unsavoury and condescending. It’s fair to say that he made a strong impression on me and created a good deal of tension throughout the novel.
Finally, we come to Sophie’s younger brother, Devon. This cheeky and deeply sensitive young man was an enigma in my eyes. At first, he simply appeared to be the somewhat lazy younger brother of your typical university student, kidding around with his sister and eating her food while crashing on her sofa. However, as the story progressed, it came to light that his past was somewhat darker, with hidden secrets thereafter affecting his and Sophie’s once close relationship as siblings. My impression of him changed gradually over time as new information was revealed, piece by piece. Overall, I liked his character and felt genuine sympathy for his past struggles.
Friends. Lovers. Monsters was a highly enjoyable book, with many positive aspects, a few of which I’ve mentioned below.
- The main character, Sophie, had a strong presence: her personality practically flew off the page.
- The writing style painted an intricate picture in my mind, not just of the locations in each scene, but of the character’s emotions and desperate need to achieve their shared goal.
- The tension building was subtle, at first, but was well executed throughout the story.
- Dark secrets kept between Sophie and her brother Devon (about their family situation) were gradually revealed and made the dire situation feel more gritty and realistic, with more organic family tensions.
As I read Friends. Lovers. Monsters, five specific quotes stuck with me.
1) ‘People get into trouble for clinging too dearly to virtues, almost as easily as they would for succumbing to vices.’
2) ‘We all wear masks, and the thicker they are, the more they have to hide.’
3) ‘How far would any of us go for acceptance?’
This quote in particular made me think about my own desperate need for acceptance as an individual.
4) ‘Sacrifices are strongest when they are of what you love best.’
5) ‘Some people are just your people- some people you just love.’
Overall, Friends. Lovers. Monsters proved to be a gripping and suspenseful thriller, which revolved around monsters, mysteries, friendships, and family.
My Rating: 4 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of suspenseful thrillers with college aged protagonists, and themes of the occult. If you enjoy the idea of ancient Gods and dark magic, then this book might be right up your alley.
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Wishing you a wonderful week,