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3.5 out of 5 stars42
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 5 November 2015
First of all, Lauren Beukes is a fantastic writer. Effortlessly blending crime, horror and social commentary and at the same time spinning a great yarn populated with well-drawn characters. There are several distinctive aspects to this great book. One, Detroit as a character in its own right, decaying yet possessing an energy and pulse which has a strange attraction to its denizens, whether cops, killers or creatives. Two, the book is about flawed people making poor decisions, for noble reasons, albeit that many of them are brave and essentially decent folk. The third aspect is that there is a subtle Lovecrafian element to it, although this has not been picked up by reviewers which surprised me slightly. Finally, and most importantly, the book is about the power of the media, particularly social media and the need for people to respect this power or face the consequences. I loved Beukes last book, the Shining Girls which I felt would be difficult to top, but this one manages to do just that. As good as any horror/suspense novel I have read in many years.
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on 2 August 2015
Whilst there are supernatural elements that at times take the story into dangerously abstract territory, Beukes manages to steer a relatively untroubled path to a decent conclusion.

The internet "chat" grounds things nicely and the characters , even the killer, are pretty well fleshed out and to varying degrees elicit empathy.

It's not terribly scary but there's a decent tension because even side characters get some time so the victims aren't just cardboard cut outs but real human beings.

A decent read
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on 18 April 2016
I've never really read any horror before, so when I stumbled across this on NetGalley, I thought that I'd give it a go. Perhaps my lack of familiarity with the genre didn't help, because I really didn't get on with this book.

Other people have said that it kept them awake at night - really? I didn't find it scary at all. I hate writing negative reviews, but I didn't find many redeeming features in this novel. I didn't really care all that much about the characters (except Lay and Cas towards the end - otherwise this would have got no stars at all!) and the plot didn't hold my interest. It was unique, I'll give it that, but not in a way that appealed to me.

Don't take my word for it though; I'd be fascinated to talk to someone who really enjoyed this book, so they can tell me what I'm missing, because I must be missing something! Any takers?

Please note : I was given a free e-copy of this novel by NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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on 29 October 2015
Excellent book. I was kept guessing all along whether it was a procedural crime thriller or supernatural tale - still not completely convinced I know.

Lauren Beukes is definitely one of my favourite authors now.
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Read this book and never sleep again. No really I am NEVER SLEEPING AGAIN. It was worth it though. When I’m dragging my weary sleep deprived self through the next few days I shall look back on the sheer exhileration of this reading experience and embrace the madness…

The single problem I have with this novel is how to review it without spoiling some ambience, some of the beauty hidden inside the horror of it all so I can give the next reader the same total immersion into that world that I had. I certainly can’t tell you what it is all about. It is a dream read this one, both literally and figuratively. Even killers have dreams indeed….

There are many engaging characters, one of which is the city of Detroit itself, living and breathing here in the pages as much as any of the people residing there – you will absolutely walk the streets and feel the vibe.

We follow several of these residents as the hunt for a killer turns into an urban myth in the making, the sheer magic of the storytelling involving the reader every step of the way. And oh my word, how can I describe how Lauren Beukes makes you SEE things in your head, often things that will burn themselves onto your psyche and hold on for dear life…hence the rather intense dreams I have found myself having the last few nights as I got further and further into the brilliantly imagined drama.

I will warn you this is definitely not for the faint hearted. And there is no point in trying to fit this one into a genre box, it will punch its way back out again a few chapters later. It will entertain you, it will haunt you. It will drag you kicking and screaming into an unimaginable place that is all too real. A rollercoaster of a ride with some heart stopping moments and some tremendously stunning imagery, it is one of those stories that will chill your soul and make you wonder about the world around you.

So go in, mind open, try not to read TOO much about it before you start and just let yourself be transported to Detroit. Take your camera!

Amazing. I am in awe.

Happy Reading Folks!

**copy provided by Harper Collins for review purposes**
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on 2 April 2016
Storyline incomprehensible and disjointed. Yes it was creepy and yes mixed with police procedural but not for me. 😟
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on 19 September 2014
When Lauren Beukes' The Shining Girls made a splash on literary lists last year I was massively intrigued and it was one of those novels that was on my radar continuously as to-read and to-buy but due to an overflowing shelf of review books I unfortunately never got around to actually picking it up. So when completely unexpectedly a proof for her latest novel, Broken Monsters, arrived in my mail box a few months ago I squealed in delight at the prospect of finally getting acquainted with Beukes' writing and the interesting sounding combination of crime fiction and urban fantasy.

The first thing I have to admit before getting to the review part of this post is that I am not a fan of crime. I don't tend to read crime-related news stories, I rarely watch cop shows (the sole exception being the comedic variety, such as Castle and White Collar) and I definitely wouldn't voluntarily pick up straight up crime fiction which more often than not describes the most horrifically imagined murders into stomach-turning detail.

You'd be right to think that I am not the target audience for Beukes' novels then, so what on earth was I getting all excited for? I suppose it's the power of an exceptionally well thought-out marketing campaign and The Shining Girls landing on mainstream literary lists such as The Richard and Judy Book Club that initially peaked my interest. And it was the time travel aspect in that first novel that continued holding it. After reading the blurb for Broken Monsters I dismissed the very obvious underlying crime theme and focused on the paranormal aspect. Unfortunately that is where I went wrong.

Expecting a heavy supernatural focus within the novel, the first three-quarters of the book took me completely by surprise as it was a pretty straight-forward crime fiction novel; cop discovers (mutilated) body and goes on the hunt for the murderer who soon turns out to be a serial killer, leaving a trail of gruesome mutations in his wake. To add dept to the story we also delve into the cop's life and that of her daughter, which is to make the reader feel more connected to the 'good guys', but really only distracted from the main plot of the killer and as both Detective Gabriella Versado and her daughter Layla grated on my nerves, that didn't help me to sympathise with them either.

The paranormal aspect then, though vaguely alluded to all throughout the novel, really broke into the story in the final quarter. Unfortunately this revelation came far too late for me and made it feel like an afterthought that wasn't properly plotted or structured, rather than the vital plot point it was supposed to be. The bizarre turn the story took at this stage added a lot of confusion and was so 'out there' that it felt completely at odds with all that had gone before.

The one element that I did truly admire within this novel was the underlying theme and criticism of social media dependence. We are as a society completely obsessed with connectivity and at the same time utterly ignorant of the underlying dangers. This on its own is a powerful topic of debate and it's a shame then that Beukes' justified judgments get lost among the more vocal parts of the story that couldn't keep my interest.

The idea of combining two complex genres such as crime and urban fantasy is a fascinating one and it certainly has a lot of potential, but unfortunately the execution in Broken Monsters didn't work for me. The initial heavy focus on the gruesome murders was off-putting to a crime-novice such as myself and the paranormal elements that eventually came to the surface were condensed in too short a space; creating a disappointing and disheveled read overall.

2.5 stars
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on 25 August 2014
Very disappointing. Lauren Beukes' first two novels, Moxyland and Zoo City were superb. Fresh and exciting, they were bursting with ideas amid a vividly drawn real-world-with-a-twist setting. Shining Girls was a good, steady follow-up but didn't reach the same heights. Unfortunately, Broken Monsters continues the downward trend. It's a fairly straightforward serial killer novel featuring a hackneyed detective (troubled personal life – yawn) with a daughter who exists only as an excuse for some tedious moralizing about the evils of the internet. It's a risky approach - there are hordes of other crime novels out there so this book would have to be something really special to stand out. Right at the end, Beukes throws in some wholly unconvincing supernatural events which are at odds with the mundane nature of the previous chapters. It's obviously intended to be a twist – hey, that killer's not schizophrenic after all, the 'dream' is real – but it just doesn't work.

The other aspect of this book that disappoints is the fact that Beukes seems to have finally abandoned South Africa in favour of America, presumably to increase her sales. (Maybe her publisher thinks Americans don't read books that aren't set in the USA). As a British reader I'm very familiar with books set in the UK and US so the South African setting of Moxyland and Zoo City gave them a freshness and distinctiveness which her later novels lack.

It hurts me to write this, but it's a crying shame to see an author who so memorably burst on to the scene reduced to writing something so poor.
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on 16 August 2014
Really looked forward to this book after reading the shining girls and found it a big disappointment. I read it to the end in the hope that as it got going it would improve. Didn't like the style, characters nothing at all . From a five star rating for the shining girls to barely one for broken monsters says it all.
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on 15 February 2015
This book was awful, I was ready to be scared silly but actually its just a lecture on the evils of social media. The end was a massive waste of time and I had to keep skipping bits of it, one of the worst books I've ever read.
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