Cover Image: No Gods, No Monsters

No Gods, No Monsters

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Member Reviews

The premise sounds so up my alley: A woman (Laina) finds out her brother was brutally killed by cops, found naked on the street... and there is a video footage. However what the video showed revealed even more questions. Werewolves are real? This is a multi POV - where you see glimpses of different characters such as Laina, Rebecca, and the child/Dragon. The writing is stellar but I felt the different POVs were very confusing going into. It didn't really give me a chance to warm up the story/characters. Overall, this was not for me. and I ended up DNF. 

Thank you to Blackstone and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Not sure my rating is very useful as I could not finish this book. I read half of it but it's too meandering for me, too many characters and none of them actually piqued my interest. I'm sure there is a public for this more literary fiction SF but it's not me, at least not this time.
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No Gods, No Monsters is beautifully written - it's dark, weird, and twisting urban fantasy, weaving together stories of monsters being revealed to humans. Because of it's unique style, it can at times be confusing, making you wonder if you missed the point. I'm sure this will be a polarizing book.

I loved the social commentary and the diverse representation in the story. And also how much it made you think about what it takes to open society's minds as to what's real and overcome fear.

The ending did feel abrupt, but based on the rest of the book that felt as if it was by design and to keep you thinking.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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No Gods, No Monsters is something special. Its ambition leaves a lot of room for error, but due to its authors’ past masteries, I went in with high expectations. Cadwell Turnbull has already created ambitious stories that sound too daunting to work but completely do. For a novel to incorporate one incredibly unique idea is a laudable but intimidating feat. No Gods, No Monsters, however, aims to create scores of freshly realized characters, shifting perspectives that are always purposeful and fuel the momentum of the story, along with worlds intersecting without muddling the plot. And it’s a winning success. No Gods, No Monsters doesn’t just include people transforming both metaphorically and literally—the novel itself does that, too. Reading it was a transformative experience that changed itself up constantly, always keeping me on my toes, spotlighting ideas of prejudice, regret, grief, and what constitutes a monster in new angles that altered my perception of them.

In No Gods, No Monsters, Laina gets word that her estranged brother got shot by cops. But there’s more to it than that. She soon learns that her brother and others in a community he’d been associated with can turn into wolf-like beasts. This ignites a fateful fallout, exploring prejudice against the beasts, an introduction to other supernatural forces, and shifting perspectives that don’t just span across a variety of people but also different worlds in which one’s place’s realism meshes with another’s otherworldliness.

The novel’s kaleidoscopic breadth in its plot and characters is always illuminating but never blinding. It’s able to offer a grand scope without losing direction, managing characters that might seem disconnected at first into a more-than-satisfying unifying thread. The story at times feels dream-like, as if trying to get a hold of it is wispy and unholdable, like all the characters are suspended in a fog. But by the end of the novel, things start to come together, evoking a feeling of relative permanence. There’s still surreality, but it’s the kind that your mind eventually gets a hold of. A boy with magical abilities might not seem connected to a grieving sister, but through writerly skill that fittingly feels like magic, both characters are eventually conjoined into narrative and thematic coherence.

No Gods, No Monsters may feel meandering at times, but by the end of the novel, everything fit and made sense. The story shifts with entrancing and calculated disorientation. But even when characters and worlds intersected and switched, one thing was invariably certain: No Gods, No Monsters is a masterfully executed feat and more than worthy of a read.
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Sadly I couldn't really get into this. Even around the halfway point I still didn't know what was going on, and there were so many characters being introduced or just mentioned, and I was expected to remember them all. I thought it sounded like a really interesting book, and I liked some parts still, like the writing, but it was too confusing and all over the place for me.
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I walked into No Gods, No Monsters without firm expectations - and still I was so pleasantly surprised. The slippery nature of the narrative (there are lots of jumps between character focus, time, and place) meant that at times I felt like I was only vaguely comprehending the plot, and who different characters were would slip away from me - but I was utterly engrossed the whole way through regardless. This was the first book in a while where I was actively annoyed whenever I had to put it down. A creeping sense of foreboding permeates every page, and certain scenes and themes will definitely keep circling round my head for a while. I can see me re-reading this very soon, just to pick up on the little aspects I surely missed. How long do I have to wait for the next book?
Thank you to Blackstone Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC.
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So, I waited a few days for this review to let the book simmer a bit. Some of the reviews mentioned this and it's a pretty common thing for me to do. What happened instead is NOT common for me at all - I completely forgot about the book. 

More than anything, the writing and story remind me of The Passage series by Justin Cronin. Some things the same or worse: tons of characters, frequent POV change, loving a character to have them not show up for most of the book, lots of where is this going and what is the point. Some things better here - strong but not preachy social commentary, representation, representation, representation, intersectionality. 

Ultimately, I found it so muddled that it will once again be forgotten, and I doubt I'll be picking up the next installment, but I'm not lamenting the time spent reading it.

My appreciation to Blackstone Publishing  Cadwell Turnbull, and NetGalley for gifting me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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I sat with this a few days after finishing the book in order to attempt to process it. Unfortunately, that didn't help. The writing here is phenomenal. You really get a sense of his characters and settings because his descriptions are so detailed. It's nice to see such a variety of identities. 

While reading this book, I would get confused. The story jumped to various POVs and it seemed like different time frames and I just couldn't keep up. I think a lot of people will love it, but unfortunately this one just wasn't for me and that's a shame. 

My appreciation to Blackstone Publishing  Cadwell Turnbull, and NetGalley for gifting me a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me a chance to read this in advance. From the premise and other reviewers I was eager to get into it, as it reminded me of Jemisin, the leading female sci fi writer of our time. Unfortunately I did quite struggle with this, but can assure it is not the book's fault! My pandemic brain isn't cooperating like it used to, and I find myself having problems concentrating. This novel is beautifully detailed and multilayered, so if you can get into it, you are in for a ride. The chapters are really short, and the cast is huge. This means you need to pay attention. I am sure at a later point, this will be a 5 star read for me. I am thankful to have been able to look into this, which will be helpful in better recommending this title in store to my customers.
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No Gods, No Monsters is the first instalment in The Convergence Saga, a contemporary fantasy about the complex nature of injustice and identity and the part they play in your fate. Laina awakens one morning to devastating news; her brother, Lincoln, who she hadn't seen for seven years primarily due to his transient lifestyle caused by drug addiction, has been tragically shot and killed at the hands of a City of Boston police officer, and she is currently standing beside his deceased body. She is also acutely aware that finding out the real truth of what happened will be no easy feat. Then an enigmatic individual sends her a link to a video of the incident actually taking place, and she is shocked that it not only reveals that werewolves exist, but it depicts Lincoln shapeshifting from a human into a werewolf just before he was brutally murdered. However, when Laina tries to share the video online she finds herself up against shadowy unknown entities who do not appear to want to truth to be set free. The unedited version of the video is repeatedly taken down by a group who seem to be dedicating a lot of their time towards keeping the secret that monsters really do exist. 

Laina, and a handful of others, are hellbent on revealing to the wider population the existence of animal shapeshifters, witches and other supernatural beings, but there are also those devoted to obscuring the truth. What ensues is a compulsive and enthralling tale encompassing beings of myth and legend, powerful gods and clandestine underground organisations. Utilising several multilayered storylines and switching seamlessly between the perspectives of many of the superbly painted characters, Turnbull has crafted a world rich in both intricacy and atmosphere in which the immersive prose serves only to capture your interest further. Despite its undeniable supernatural aspects, this is a profoundly human story and presents the struggles and real-world topical issues in a fascinating way that is relevant to the story being told. The cast is as strong and engaging as it is diverse with multiracial and LGBTQ+ representation and each character is both flawed and relatable. With excellent characterisation, a beautifully woven plot, perceptive social commentary, unexpected twists and taut speculative elements, this is a thoroughly entertaining fantasy. Highly recommended.
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I really liked the overall storyline and how Turnball used the narration to keep me on my toes. I found myself learning more and more in a very organic way as I kept reading. The switching in point of view and how details came out kept me interested and fascinated in how Turnball came up with the story. I am definitely interested in reading more of his works in the future. I also thought the cast of characters were interesting and dynamic. Each character was specifically flawed and detailed enough to be invested. 

That said, I did feel a bit lost in some of the way the plot worked itself out. I felt like the book fell into the "first book in a series trap" where everything was set up with incredibly little payoff. Although I think Turnball's writing is unique, I would have preferred a longer story with more plot or details other than merely introducing us to the characters. I also thought that the beginning was a bit slow for me. I kept moving over to other books instead of being truly captivated by this book.
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I initially became aware of the phenomenal writer Cadwell Turnbull after hearing his short story, Jump, on the LeVar Burton Reads podcast. No Gods, No Monsters is his second novel, and it is safe to say he is establishing himself as a SFF writer to watch. In this rich novel, we are drawn into a world where monsters are real, where people genuinely possess supernatural powers, and inevitably, there are dark forces at work.

When Laina’s brother, Lincoln, is found dead and naked in the street, shot by a police officer, it opens her eyes to a side of her brother, and a side of reality, beyond her comprehension. Monsters are real, and Lincoln was one of them. With her partner, Ridley, and a few other allies, Laina traverses this disruption to the norm, as well as trying to juggle jobs, families, and all the other everyday nonsense we all have to deal with. 

But that’s just part of the story. There are a handful of beguiling characters, secret societies, mystical entities, and disembodied voices to explore. The relaxed, almost conversational tone of Turnbull’s writing makes it effortless to go along with the fantastical plot. His character development is extraordinary; there are lots of players in this novel, and each is so well-established that it is (mostly) easy to follow along. I loved the switches between multiple narrators and perspectives, and seeing them come together in a devastating finale. 

I love how the LGBTQ community is widely represented in this novel without serving as a plot point. I had to check some of my own prejudices about human (and monster) relationships a couple of times, which is fantastic. And I haven’t even touched on the parallels that can be drawn between the oppression of the monsters, and the BLM movement. It seems a little redundant for me to say “what I think Turnbull is doing here…” I’ll let the work speak for itself.

The world Cadwell has so deftly created is one not so detached from reality. A group of “outsiders” rise up, provoking an initial restrained outrage from spectators, and then an eventual attention outage. I am delighted to learn this is the first in The Convergence Saga series, and I hope this book finds its rightful audience in lovers of SFF, and damn good genre fiction. Can I dream of a high-budget screen adaptation? Yes, I can.
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This is confusing and hectic and hard to follow. Those are not necessarily bad things, but there were times when I had to stop and question what had just happened. This appears to be a lot of setup to a story which has not actually begun. I can't tell if that story will be compelling or not, but I'm pretty sure it will be interesting.
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This one is hard to really say something about. It unfortunately suffers from the usual things that the first book of a series does: there are a lot of characters, there is a lot of groundwork to get through, some world-building and the set-up for the main conflict. It's engaging, and I very much enjoyed the book, but it was not what I expected. And while I am definitely not disappointed, and hope to pick up the next book when it comes out, I always struggle a little with books where it feels as though it's just starting by the time you reach the last few pages.

It has a lot of representation, and being on the ace spectrum myself, having one of the main characters be asexual was such a pleasant surprise. Another thing that made me feel fondly about this story is that several of the characters work at a small SFF book store, just as I do.

This story has a lot to offer for readers of urban fantasy, with socialist leanings, the idea of revolution from the bottom up, fighting authority, abolishing capitalism, and many similar themes. The book never gets preachy, which is something I greatly appreciate. There are definitely political and (non)human rights-heavy situations and conversations happening in this story, but I never felt that it was "too much" or added in unnecessary places.

All in all, I hope the next book isn't too far away. If it keeps building on the foundation laid out in this first book, I'm sure it will be a read I'll rate higher than this one's 3.5/5.
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I was lucky enough to get both eARC and Audio ARC access to No Gods, No Monsters via NetGalley and I want to thank whoever approved both! I really love having the option to experience a book both ways. I'm writing one cohesive review through Goodreads and will be submitting to the different NetGalley listings from here, so please forgive the audiobook component in the ebook/print book listing.

Monsters have always walked among us, and sometimes we get to peek behind the veil and see the truth. No Gods, No Monsters opens with a young woman named Laina getting bad news about her brother's untimely death, and jumps off from there revealing monsters left, right, and centre entangled in different lives and communities. It's weird, it's exciting, it's full of mystery, and I'm not sure what I think of it now that I've come out the other end. I don't think I get it?

I'm not sure if this was meant to be a cohesive plot or several disjointed stories, but it felt disjointed, and I kept wondering if I'd drifted off and missed something big. I think this is probably the sort of book that needs to be read slowly and carefully, not set to up for audio playback as the listener knocks out mundane tasks. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the chaotic mystery of this book and I do think it'll definitely find a strong cult following.

In terms of the audiobook recording, this is not the best. All of my audiobook apps are defaulted to 2x playbacks speed, and some books seem slow to me at that, but this one tempted me to slow it down. That means the narration is quite fast-paced and may be too fast for readers who don't normally speed up their audiobooks. On top of that, sometimes when a character other than the POV character was speaking, the narrator adopted a voice that was somewhere between Yoda and Kermit the Frog, and it was... distracting.
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I actually didn't read the synopsis before starting this book, so the whole "monster-emergence" definitely caught me by surprise. I really enjoyed the writing style. Caldwell Turnbull is a new author to me and his voice feels fresh, but I found it hard to keep my concentration on the book. Though I struggled with both comprehension and pace, I made an emotional connection to Laina's brother. His drug use, mental health problems, and unresolved trauma all painted a portrait of someone in near-constant pain. I think if I were able to sit and devote ample time to read and digest this book, I may feel differently about it. I know there are lots of rave reviews. I DNF @ 22%
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Man, I’m really sad about this one. I was looking forward to No Gods, No Monsters for a really long time, but unfortunately, I had to DNF at 50%. The synopsis of this book has everything you could ever want: mystery, horror, monsters, secret societies. It’s all there. But the book was lacking direction. 

At 50% in, I can truly say I have no real idea of what’s going on. The storylines are constantly changing and not told in a linear order.  It’s really hard to follow. There are characters coming at you left and right, and I’m spending so much time getting to know their stories, but I get to the end of the chapter and I don’t even know what I just read. 

I normally give my DNFs a 1 star rating, but I think that a lot of people out there are going to love this one. I loved a good amount of things included in this book, but at the end of the day, my brain just could not wrap itself around this story. I wish it was done differently because Caldwell Trumbull really has a genius idea with this one. I would have loved to have gotten fully immersed in it.  I might come back and try it again one day, but for now, 2 stars and a DNF from me. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an advanced e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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My rating for this book would likely be higher if I hadn't been plagued with concentration issues, and was thinking I should hold off reviewing until a re-read, but I'm way behind on my TBR. I'm still confused about a few things in the narrative, but those will hopefully be resolved in subsequent books, which I'm definitely looking forward to.
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In one of the most unique approaches to the monster story, readers catch a glimpse into secret safe space meetings, government cover ups, and online discourse surrounding the existence of “monsters” as well as how the paranoia and hysteria that comes with it affects marginalized communities as a result of their exposure.

With multiple storylines and characters surrounding various events, overlapping and separating, we jump throughout the general timeline of pre and post-exposure of monsters via police body cam footage.

We explore the secret world of magical creatures living among humans and their growing desire for equity through protest-planning and safe havens. We also see new layers of themes surrounding “passing privilege” and how it applies to these magical “monsters”.

It’s an interesting writing style and pacing that took some getting used to at first, but watching all the ties between storyline and characters be revealed slowly over time was fascinating to see.
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Monsters are coming out. They've always been among us, but they're revealing themselves to plain humans and it is not going well. 
Are we really surprised ? No.
The question ,though, is : Why now ? 
Centuries on end, Monsters have stayed hidden. Blend into society. Avoiding humanity and now, something has forced them out. 
This first book is wonderful. It opens so many door and gives glimpses of so many culture at once. Cadwell Turnbull shows, with his monster, the melting pot of culture that America really is and most of the times tries to hide. So I loved the winks given to all the cultures, their legends and stories. I also loved the intersectionnality. A lot of representation of POC and LBTQ+ community ! 

Besides, the writing is fascinating. We have one point of view, a narrator who seems to be able to travel and be able to spy on each characters. So we see what they know, throught his eyes, what each of them know. We have vague idea of what is happening. We have hints of something big, something amazing going. And it itches. It itches because we want to know more, to find out. 

So to some people it may be a bit confusing. It was for me, I just put up with it, because the writing is beautiful, the characters are interesting (altough equally confusing at times.) and also because I know it is the first in a new series and honestly, I am ready for more. Because as I said, I feel like ... There is something huge coming. So ... at the end of the series, I better feel drained and complete, because this what this first book opens for me.
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