Monster by Francette Phal
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book has a lot of potential, but the storytelling, so far, is disjointed and tell-y (it reads as if it is a very early draft). Instead of building tension with descrpition and dialogue, the reader is told Dom the Dom is “brutal” and has been “horribly cruel” to his wife. Perhaps it’s the author’s chosen narration. I prefer 3rd person POV, but I’ve seen recently where it has not been used effectively. The distance the author has placed between the narrator and the MCs dulls the reception of the images.
There are other issues I have, but those revolve around editing. Primarily, the book starts too soon and quickly becomes repetitive.
For what it’s worth, I think this is an intriguing set up. I’m going to continue reading because I’m anxious to uncover the real story.
I finished the book by listening to it through my screen reading app. My brain cannot not edit what I read, so I had to remove the words from my view in order to absorb the story being told.
Although the actual story was interesting, it took too long to get there. The author began to find her rhythm when Eden makes a decision, but it was still a bit too long to get to the meat of story.
At a little over 50% in is where things got interesting and the author seemed to catch her stride.
Disclaimer:I don’t seek out books like this, it was red’d by a friend, so my expectations were low.
Dom the Dom’s history surprised me. I love a solid, character-driven story with a lot of angst; revealing Dom’s motivations gave the story what it had been missing thus far–heart.
Up until Dom’s back story, I didn’t care about the MCs, and the supporting cast is an assortment of stock characters who do predictable things and don’t really add much (they don’t detract either).
The FMC…I wasn’t feeling her–ever. Her story is spread all over the place, and the reader is given pieces here and there. Her history doesn’t make her endearing, at least not to me. I’m a stickler for realism, even in fantasies, and felt a lot of what happened to her wasn’t entirely plausible. Sure, the crap her mogul husband did could happen, but her ‘rags to riches to rags to upper middle class’ all with a newborn in tow was a little unrealistic.
All the way up to the end I just never saw any real depth to Eden. Dom changed and grew (which is the crux of any story), but much of his journey took place “off camera”. I would have much rather been witness to therapy sessions, his internal battle to be gracious, his growing affection for his son… I didn’t like watching those moments with Eden. I would have much rather the view come from Dom.
This book is all about Dom, yet he’s not the focus. He’s a good character, well developed, but under utilized.
In the end, I felt like I was given half a book. It started late and ended too soon.
Technical execution: Like I said, I could no longer look at the words if I expected to finish reading within a week, so I had the book read to me. It is unnecessarily verbose. I found the excessive use of redundant adverbial phrases and complex words off putting. Having to grab a dictionary in the middle of a heated scene completely threw off the flow. I laughed every time caramel or macchiatto or honey were used. How many different ways are necessary to say brown? That kind of stuff screams fanfiction to me.
There were a few inconsistencies like her hair was one color then another in an early chapter, or maybe the varying ways the author used to say brown confused me. I’m a simple woman. Toward the end, I noticed a few dropped words and typos, but no book is without those.
Pacing is inconsistent, but maybe I felt that way because I was unsympathetic toward the FMC and the view focused mainly on her. As I said in the first part of my review: I prefer 3rd person, but here it’s underutilized. Where the view could get tight and evoke a lot of emotion, it stays just out of reach, filling the moment with descriptions of clothing and tingling flesh.
Ms. Phal has created a compelling character in Dom, but his story feels unfinished. This is the first book of Ms Phal’s that I’ve read. Her talent is evident; I think I’ll give her Bet series a try.