Cover Image: No Gods, No Monsters

No Gods, No Monsters

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Member Reviews

This is an incredibly ambitious book, and to make a long story short it, it achieves what it aims for. Multiple POV, time skips, and meticulously interwoven plots all work together to create an unputdownable read., Each of the different story streams are compelling, and I would love to read novels devoted to each of them.  I will definitely be rereading this, as the sheer amount of content packed into the pages and the speed at which I wanted to read it meant that I missed a few plot points. Absolutely recommended.
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I really liked this book.  I like the narrative style, and how it would change randomly.  I liked the diversity of the characters.  I liked the mystery of the secret orders.  But I didn't like how it ended so abruptly. I want to know what happens next!
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I had an enjoyable time reading this and it held my attention the entire way through that I finished it within the day! I enjoyed every page and thought that the plot/story was very unique. Would recommend to anyone!
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I am fan of this genre! This was quick, gripping, interesting, capturing, action packed and thrilling ride that I was truly excited to experience! The writing in this book is incredibly beautiful. There is no doubt about that.This structure of this story, which winds backward and forward and in other ways through time, didn't give me enough of a throught line to follow the main plot, which I actually found very interesting.
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This is a juicy story that opens with quite the bang. It was a super quick, page-turning read and this kind of ‘urban fantasy thriller’ was a new genre for me and one I’d love to read more of. I always enjoy when books/tv shows/movies/etc. take place in my city (doesn’t everyone?) so the fact that this book is set in Boston really brought the story off the page and into real life for me. There are a ton of characters in this book and a very busy plot, so it could be overwhelming and a bit confusing at times, but overall it’s a very engrossing read that contains themes that are super timely in the US today.
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The timeline was a bit confusing since it was non linear but the representation and the writing were very well done and made it a good read.
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This is going to be a book people either love or hate.

On paper, No Gods, No Monsters is extraordinary. It’s a subversive, genre-bending, philosophical take on intersectionality, quantum theory, and the nature of humanity. It features a cast of BIPOC, queer, and monster characters (often all three at once). It questions the assumptions on which we build our world and the ways in which we can reshape it. It finds beauty in the mundane and horror in the sublime. There is no protagonist, because the novel makes clear that it is in collectives and communities that we find meaning and purpose.

But this book has a specific audience, and it will not appeal to everyone. To begin with, it does not have a traditional plot. The interweaving storylines feel as though they would be more appropriately situated in a short story cycle than a novel. Very little in terms of action actually happens; most of the book is about characters reflecting on their worldviews and philosophies while going about daily tasks, like browsing internet forums, driving to their hometowns, or stocking shelves at a collectively-owned bookstore. This book is not, as I first thought when picking it up, a blend of horror and urban fantasy; I would instead describe it as postmodernist speculative fiction.

The blurb makes it seem as though this is a book about monsters suddenly being revealed to the mundane world and then beginning to interact with it, but in fact this reveal is immediately covered up; the majority of the book is spent in a world that vaguely suspects monsters walk among us, but no one willingly admits to believing in them. The point-of-view characters all know or suspect that monsters exist, but are protected from obtaining any real knowledge about the extent of the supernatural’s presence in the world by the Powers that Be (various non-POV characters or organizations who know more but tell nothing). This can be an incredibly frustrating experience as a reader.

For me, the first 200 pages of the book really dragged. The interweaving storylines read like vignettes, barely connected by being situated in the same world and having the same distanced writing style. More than once, I would start in on a new vignette and realize, a few pages in, that I had met its central character before in an earlier vignette, and had completely forgotten about them in the interim. This doesn’t bode well for anyone who prefers character-driven fiction.

After the 200-page mark, the book really picks up. The vignettes, previously loosely-crossed threads, are pulled together in a tight weave. Characters finally take decisive actions, a coherent theme develops, and the interconnected stories build to a climax. For me, the last three hundred pages were satisfying, a reward for having made it through the often-confusing build-up.

But it’s a hard ask for most readers to wait 200 pages for a book to start making sense. If well-formed prose and philosophical musings delight you, you will love this book from the start; if you dislike being held at arms-length by the narrative, and struggle with different PoV chapters that aren’t readily connected to an overarching narrative, you will struggle to feel engaged for the first two-thirds of the novel. In my opinion, Cadwell Turnbull shows great promise, and I look forward to reading his backlog in short fiction and seeing what his long-form fiction looks like in the future.
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DNF, unfortunately. 

The description of the book really drew me in. It sounded like something I would love. Magical creatures? Dystopian elements? Main characters that are POC and/or queer? Yes, please.
I loved Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House and was hoping for something in that realm. I am disappointed and I wanted so much to like this book, but it just didn’t work for me. 

This is the story of The Fracture, the events leading up to it, and the events that occur as a result of it. It starts with a police shooting and it morphs into something much bigger and scarier. Magical creatures (werewolves, dragons, witches) start to come out of the shadows and make their presence known to the general public. There are secret societies, packs of werewolves, and a pro-monster organization with its own secrets. 

I couldn’t get past the narration/POV. The narrator is sometimes a part of the story and sometimes they just tell the story. It is not immediately obvious who the narrator is; is it the author? Is it someone completely unrelated to the characters? Or is it a disembodied voice? Am I missing something? I found it difficult to keep track of the people and places within the book because there was so much jumping around. A character would be talking about someone like they had been introduced to the reader, but I would have no idea who that person was and how they were related to the character - it just wasn’t explained well enough for me. I prefer to read stories that are more straight-forward and less abstract. 

Though I personally didn’t care for it doesn’t mean that it is a bad book. The prose the author uses is vivid and detailed. The skill of the author shines through because it is a well written book. The concept is interesting and I’m sure people who are into more literary fantasy/supernatural books will enjoy this quite a bit. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t my bag.
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I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

No Gods, No Monsters spits in the face of genre labels, which I love. There are plenty of nods to familiar concepts: a police shooting, fantastical creatures colliding with cityscapes, and underground magic societies jostling for power. However, no theme is presented in a familiar way. This book is truly ambitious, one of the most sincere compliments I can give a contemporary novel.

Turnbull displays real craft with his dialogue and gestures, which helps characterize the people in his crowded novel. Although there must have been an urge to provide clarity in the dialogue, he avoids that trap and captures a realistic cadence with his various characters. He also, I thought, captured the grief, pain, and guilt of loving an addict who could be cruel or selfish but who is in real pain themselves, someone you can never love adequately.

The image of werewolves marching along the highway and then turning into vulnerable human bodies was a striking one, especially given the protests of the last summer, as was the reaction to such an event (in the book), laundered through the media spin cycle.

Turnbull spreads himself a bit thin trying to balance his various characters and subplots. He loses the thread at times, as well, discussing collapsed time and parallel universes, sounding like the gifted freshman in a creative writing class, stoned, deciding to bless us with his thoughts on the cosmos. Ultimately, this is a strong showing but may require adjusted expectations for those seeking out a plot-driven thrill ride.
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This was a very beautifully written, complex book with various storylines and that revealed a whole world of horror and dystopia, tackling the ideas of inclusion, and who we collectively agree to exclude from society. There was also a narrative about quantum waves and physics? To say the scope of this novel is broad is an understatement. 

Laina has been asked to identify a dead body, her brother Lincoln. They are Black and you think that you know where this story is going—a tragic case of policy brutality. But there is more to it. Video from the shooting reveals to the world that monsters are real and they are among us.  We then travel a very winding path with many narratives and many point of views. All were interesting and I was glad to read them, but I was never quite sure where things were going. Which isn’t a bad thing. I did find the number of point of view characters to be slightly confusing and alienating as a reader. But I did value greatly the great number of voices of color as main characters. 

This is good book, more interesting and compelling than a page turner. I valued the read and it kept me thinking for a long time.
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I feel, in some ways, this book is either the novelization or embodiment of a charcuterie board. The parts are individually fantastic, but you spend most of your time looking for a way to get that perfect, magic combination before eventually, even if you're still a little hungry, getting tired of and giving up on the whole process only to drink a vodka cran in the corner.
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This structure of this story, which winds backward and forward and in other ways through time, didn't give me enough of a throughline to follow the main plot, which I actually found very interesting. I loved the politics of it too-- lots of worker-owned/co-op/anarchist discourse but something about the structure really threw me off. In addition, my ARC was not formatted very well :( no indents or page breaks or anything, so that definitely contributed to its difficulty. I might pick it up again when the physical copy is out.

Thanks to Blackstone for the ARC! Just wish it was easier to read on my Kindle.
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No Gods, No Monsters is right on time and grapples with a collective reckoning of the classic "what makes someone a monster and who are the monsters really"  with usually implicit racial violence analyses made explicit in a world teeming with police brutality, disappeared activists & censorship. Here for this world where an indie bookstore co-owning Black trans ace mc in a queer poly relationship doesn't need heavy handwringing to justify. This book can feel like an inside joke between friends, some things are just nods like the co-op drama or SEN Collective dynamics and others are eventually overexplained like the book's title. Some POVs are stronger than others - the book easily could've centered around Laina and Ridley's close Third POVs alone. While I appreciated some of the other character's arcs, some could've used tighter editing or being split into separate works. I also don't feel switching between Third and First was leveraged well here, it was never as disorienting or as clarifying as I personally wanted those switches to be, but I imagine each reader will feel differently.  Overall I'm excited for the conversations No Gods, No Masters could help facilitate in 2021 and hope they aren't sidetracked by the author's appropriately bold narrative style.
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I've been thinking a lot about language this morning, particularly after reading No Gods No Monsters. Wiki says a monster is “often a type of grotesque creature, whose appearance frightens and whose powers of destruction threaten the human world's social or moral order,” but what makes something or someone a monster? How does our perspective & the perspective of our society shape this word? Who gets to decide what grotesque means or what is threatening? These were all questions Turnbull pulled out of me while reading this incredible forthcoming scifi/fantasty. 

I really loved this book & can already tell it will hit my top list of 2021. Turnbull’s clever writing makes you question & think deeply about the society we live in & this is absolutely a book I will be rereading when I buy the physical copy in September. His character building really shines in this & No Gods No Monsters is very organically queer inclusive & features a trans & asexual main character. Thank you @netgalley & @blackstonepublishing for the advanced ecopy of this book!
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*DNF*

Let me just start off my saying that the writing in this book is incredibly beautiful. There is no doubt about that. 

Now, I can see fantasy lovers, or even anyone who loves supernatural beings, be SO into this. I could see them eating it up and enjoying and hanging onto every word of this story. 

But, unfortunately it just was not for me. 

I am not the biggest fan of fantasy to begin with, and I would almost lean this more towards supernatural (which I do enjoy, sometimes). And the synopsis of this book intrigued me, took me in, made me want to hurry up and read the book. That’s why it saddens me that I just did not vibe with it the way I wanted. 

As a woman of color I love the inclusion. But my biggest problem, I think, with the book was the execution of the pov’s. It switched up a lot and went into third and first person pov so frequently and unwarranted that I didn’t really know what was going on, who was speaking, who was what or who. And maybe that was the authors point, in some way I could see why they would do that on purpose. But it just didn’t register with my brain very well. 

That being my only complaint, this is not a bad book, the premise is amazing and author’s talent does shine through with each detail. I just simply did not vibe with it, unfortunately. 

But, as I said, I do believe others will surely love this and find the story quite riveting!
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This book was not for me. I couldn’t stand the narrative shift between first person and third person. It was so distracting. I found the writing tedious and hard to follow. I didn’t connect with any of the characters. This book dealt with a lot of important/difficult topics such as drug use, sexual abuse of a minor, racism etc. but I didn’t think the topics were explored enough and seemed to be just a device to move the story forward.
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Laina's brother is dead, but nothing is at it seems. Tape from police was really disturbing. What is this creature and where it come from?
 
Monsters are real, parallel worlds collide.

Exciting read.
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𝙱𝚘𝚘𝚔 𝚁𝚎𝚟𝚒𝚎𝚠 - 𝙽𝚘 𝚂𝚙𝚘𝚒𝚕𝚎𝚛𝚜

𝑵𝒐 𝑮𝒐𝒅𝒔, 𝑵𝒐 𝑴𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 by Cadwell Turbull

𝚀𝚞𝚘𝚝𝚎
“Everything is connected. Every imagined world is real. all the underworlds and all the heavens. All the worlds within us and without.”

𝙿𝚊𝚐𝚎𝚜
368

𝚃𝚒𝚖𝚎
~4 hours

𝙶𝚎𝚗𝚛𝚎
Adult Fantasy

𝚂𝚞𝚖𝚖𝚊𝚛𝚢
𝑵𝒐 𝑮𝒐𝒅𝒔, 𝑵𝒐 𝑴𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒔 follows the stories of multiple unique individuals. Some with stories of trauma and triumph. Others with stories of confusion and capture. A mysterious being floats through these stories watching and waiting for the moment to emerge. On the horizon waits protests, death, looming war, and most of all monsters. Monsters live among us all, are we ready for the possibilities?

While is it hard to wrap of the insane breadth of this book, I can say that the above mentioned quote truly is how expensive the narrative becomes.

𝚃𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝙸 𝙴𝚗𝚓𝚘𝚢𝚎𝚍
Literally everything so I will try to be specific.
-Reading this felt a little bit like I was browsing through a dream state. It was incapsulating and intoxicating.
-The representation and diversity in this book is on point. It has racial diversity, sex diversity, gender diversity, and relationship diversity. I appreciate that this is not a token moment within the book but just part of this world because diversity is a part of our world.
-I loved that there were affectionate platonic relationships between both men and women in this.

𝚃𝚑𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜 𝙸 𝚍𝚒𝚍𝚗’𝚝 𝙴𝚗𝚓𝚘𝚢 𝚊𝚜 𝙼𝚞𝚌𝚑
-There wasn’t a trigger warning with the book. There are many triggering topics touched on in this, and it would be helpful and needed for many readers.


𝚁𝚊𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐
★★★★.5
I did not rate this a full five stars only because I think that trigger warning is really needed in this book.

𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐤 𝐲𝗼𝐮 𝐭𝗼 𝐍𝐞𝐭𝐠𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐟𝗼𝐫 𝐚𝐧 𝐀𝐑𝐂 𝗼𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐛𝗼𝗼𝐤.

𝚃𝚛𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛𝚜

𝐒𝗼𝗺𝐞 𝗼𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐜𝗼𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐩𝗼𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐢𝗼𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝗼 𝐬𝐩𝗼𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐬. 𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝗼𝐮 𝐝𝗼 𝐧𝗼𝐭 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝗼 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐠𝐞𝐫𝐬, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐝𝗼𝐧’𝐭. 𝐈𝐟 𝐲𝗼𝐮 𝐝𝗼, 𝐩𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐞 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝗼𝐰.

Cursing, sex, sexual abuse towards a minor, drug use, physical abuse, gaslighting, blood, violence, attempted suicide, completed suicide, mass shooting
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Firstly, thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this book! 

This book starts by introducing us to several characters, one of which is Laina who has been asked to identify a dead body. Her brother has been shot and killed by police, and while it appears that this was a case of police brutality, a video unearths a much larger issue at play. The video reveals that monsters are real, and are walking among us. The question of who is a monster, and why, is raised multiple times as the author introduces the reader to new characters and new storylines. 

I enjoyed this book! It tackles a lot of rather intense themes and concepts, but the author, Cadwell Turnbull, does so in a contemporary and unique way. 

I felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of characters and stories that were introduced in the book, and I did feel that we didn't need so many new characters. I would've liked to learn more about fewer, rather than less about more. With that being said, each character brought their own powerful perspective to the themes within the book. 

This is a great book, and I'm definitely expecting this will be received well once published!
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I got an ARC copy from Netgalley after reading about how this was one of the most anticipated books of 2021. I love the premise of this book-it essentially examines the age-old question of who is the real monster? And, what makes a monster? And all this is told through a contemporary lens with characters of many ethnicities, and across the gender and sexual spectrum. 

The world is built over an anthology of interconnected stories. We find out how these stories interact with each other as more characters are included, and they're either related, work with, or are involved with the others. 

I think horror fans will love this modern perspective on these monsters. But I felt that the book was overlong, and hence struggled to connect some of the characters and their backstories. Some stories are in there just because of an incident that is pertinent to the plot. They were thin on plot, character development, and even world-building. I wished those stories had been eschewed for the more compelling ones-characters like Laina and Rebecca had great voices and fleshed out characterizations. I wanted more of them and how they navigated this world, instead of Melku and Dragon.

I hate gore, so there were chunks of some stories that I skimmed. I don't think we needed those. 

Honestly, given the climax of this story, we deserved a build-up that was more relevant, topical, and allegorical. The fanciful stuff just didn't interest me, because those stories felt like they were painting over a much more interesting facade. 

For a new age and diverse look into a favorite genre, this book is a recommended read. But, keep in mind that not all the horror is to many readers' liking.
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