“A black tide of perversity, violence, and lush writing. I loved it.” —Joe Hill
A Finalist for the 2019 Shirley Jackson Award!
Debut author Jennifer Giesbrecht paints a darkly compelling fantasy of revenge in The Monster of Elendhaven, a dark fantasy about murder, a monster, and the magician who loves both.
The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.
These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Full of foul, intoxicating odors and fouler characters, this disquieting short novel employs serial suicide and multiple homicides to offer criticism of its decadent setting. In vaguely Victorian, coal-grimed Elendhaven, Johann, a supernatural companion mistakenly summoned by sorcerer Florian Leickenbloom, becomes Florian's assistant in crafting a plan to reintroduce a deadly plague. Florian, last heir of the fallen Leickenbloom fortune, schemes to collapse Elendhaven's nouveau riche elites and take vengeance on the neighboring countries who profited on the devastation wrought by the previous plague outbreak. Opposing him and Johann is a Mage Hunter who's charged with removing either Florian's magic or his life. Giesbrecht tries for a sardonic tone in showing how societies deserve the monsters that they produce, but the imagery of pestilence and splattered bodily fluids tips the balance from picaresque to grotesque. Her work goes beyond grimdark to something more like grimglum, and few readers will be able to stick it out even for the brief length of this misery-marinated story.
Engrossing, dark, and substantial.
Had access to it before release and it’s an impeccable first novel. Whip smart and darkly humorous, Monster of Elendhaven is a novel carved as expertly as its titular characters leave their victims. Revenge, sensuality, necromancy: guaranteed a fun time even in lesser hands. The world building and characters will leave you hungry for so much more from the author. Can’t wait to see her future work!