**Also published on Goodreads**
I received a copy of this for free in exchange for an honest review.
I think this book tried to be too many things at once. Full of convoluted plot points that don’t really come together to form a coherent picture, this story starts off as one thing and as the story progresses it shifts into something else entirely. The interest invoked by the shotgun kidnapping, the hints at an overbearing and pressurized family, the twists and turns of who could be the kidnapper get lost amongst a wild, unexpected tale of science experiments and genetics. I found myself wishing the author had picked just ONE theme and stuck with it, because in the end none of them worked well together.
I found the characters to be pretty flat and predictable. Samantha was sympathetic, but ultimately a little annoying. She is just shy of constantly mean to Blake, she spends all this time pointing out how she’s a tomboy, yet it’s all about the clothes and makeup and boys. And she shows no signs of trauma, despite her terrifying experiences (ignoring the end). I mean, she’s supposed to be all messed up about the kidnapping, then it’s jumping into Blake’s arms? Jeremy’s an idiot. Blake’s too All-American. Jen the BFF barely ever shows up. Mack the other BFF is about the only likable one and that goes to hell, too. And why is everyone blonde?
The dragonfly stuff is weird and totally out of the blue. Don’t even get me started on the whole Sammy thing. I mean, you can’t just spring things on us like yhat without any leading evidentiary support! What the heck!
The thing is, the writing isn’t terrible. The romance, while instalove, isn’t just unbearable. The who done it isn’t implausible (entirely anyway). Even the odd sci fi aspect isn’t horrendous. Unfortunately, none of it was exceptionally well done on it’s own. Thrown together? It’s just a headache. There was too much going on for one story and it’s a shame, because there’s potential. I think the author needs to outline things prior to writing to plot things out and see where some holes might be. And I think she needs editors and beta readers to help point out problem parts. I think her writing needs to mature a little, to explore the world and he characters more, and to mature the overall structure of her writing. And mostly, I think she needs to decide what kind of story she wants to write and narrow her focus to that, because too much in a shorter book like this leaves readers feeling confused and overall a little annoyed.
I wish I could rate this higher, but in the end I have to give this a 2.3 star rating. I wouldn’t recommend it until the author cleans it up a bit.
Title: Hidden Monster (Monsters Among Us #1)
Author: Amanda Strong
Approximate Length: 298 pages
I received a free ebook copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. (Isn’t the cover just gorgeous? It should get a star just for that… which it might have, now that I think about it.)