Monsters is an illustrated collection of wild, weird, and whimsical tales with a twist. These stories are not about mythical creatures; here, the creatures speak for themselves. There's an orc who hates Tolkien, a young demon awash in teenage angst, an angel abandoned by Jesus who finds the Fates. Jensen creates a world both delicately dreamlike and all too real, where the villain is sometimes the victim and evil is not always what we thought. If stories teach us how to be human, then the stories in Monsters are the ones we need now. These are fractured fairy tales for grown-ups, where the roots of sadism are laid bare and the horrors of human supremacism are firmly faced. But as in all of Jensen's work, love is both always possible and also a call to action. By turns macabre, melancholy, and magical, these stories and their accompanying images will leave you wondering who the real monsters are and how they can be defeated.
Jensen's entertaining collection of 15 very short tales, all accompanied by illustrations from nine artists, explores traditional and nontraditional monsters with a shot of ironic humor. One of the highlights is the title story, which profiles human "monsters": a family man cherishes his wife and children at breakfast and then goes to work as an overseer of one of the most horrible places in history; prairie dogs experience gut-wrenching horror as they're killed en masse to build a mall. In "Angel," an angel wonders why the other angels don't want to be friends with her, and is appalled to find out. Other stories focus on humans' interconnectedness with nature and destruction of it, such as the chilling "The Murdered Tree," which tells Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree from the tree's perspective as a vicious boy slowly kills a majestic tree for his own gain. In the heartbreaking "The Delivery," every baby has a job to do, and every baby must be delivered to its parents, creating dilemmas for those who must deliver tiny souls into terrible circumstances. Readers looking for intelligent horror will find it in these thoughtful stories.