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Review by Kelly Jarvis: What Monstrous Gods by Rosamund Hodge


What Monstrous Gods is a complex retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale set in a world of gods and magic. The protagonist and narrator, Lia Kurinava, is about to turn seventeen when the novel opens. She has been raised by the sisters of a convent dedicated to the goddess of spring, new life, and healing, and she is one of a handful of girls to be born with the power to enter the briars, kill the evil sorcerer Ruven, awaken the royal family from their 500 year long sleep, and restore peace and health to the kingdom.


Lia succeeds in her task early on in the novel and is surprised when the newly awakened queen betroths her to Prince Arauun in recompense for her service to the kingdom. Lia has pledged herself to the convent that raised her, hoping to become a nun, but a little known rule that those born with magic power must marry into the royal family or die thwarts her life plan. Lia and Araunn are sent on a pilgrimage to awaken the shrines and bring back the saints, opening the space for a slow burn to their growing relationship. Lia is haunted by the ghost of Ruven and surprised by what she learns of gods, lending tension and suspense to the journey.


Fans of Sleeping Beauty will enjoy Hodge’s loose take on the fairy tale. The story is rich in religious contemplation, and the book begins with a clear overview of the gods and their shrines to help the reader keep track as the characters’ journeys move forward. The book is full of theological musings, mysterious surprises, and atmospheric world building that will delight fans of fantasy and fairy tale. You can find it here.


Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair review.



Kelly Jarvis works as the Assistant Editor for The Fairy Tale Magazine. Her poetry has been featured or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Mermaids Monthly, Eternal Haunted Summer, Forget Me Not Press, A Moon of One’s Own, The Magic of Us, and Corvid Queen. Her short fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine and the World Weaver Press Anthology Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. She can be found at https://kellyjarviswriter.com/

 

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Steven Aelfcyning
Steven Aelfcyning
Feb 28

Sounds interesting!

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Enchanted Conversation
Enchanted Conversation
Feb 28
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Thank you! 😊

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