Cover Image: No Gods, No Monsters

No Gods, No Monsters

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Wow, wow, wow. This book was mesmerizing and terrifying. The writing was so good. I really enjoyed the audiobook narrator.
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I am in love with this audiobook. The book itself keeps you on your toes and moves at an amazing pace. Set in our world but werewolves, monsters, shapeshifters, witches, and even a child dragon come out of the shadows. If you enjoy urban fiction or speculative fiction and want some mystery but also monsters for a spooky read this is perfection. The narrator of the audiobook is one of the best voice actors and how many different character voices he blended so well felt like an immersive movie. Highly recommend 10/10!
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I really wanted to love this book and I thought I would. However, despite my best efforts I just couldn't get into it and stay interested. The concept and plot was super interesting, as was the worldbuilding but I just couldn't stay focused and invested. 

I read this partially in book format and partially listened to it as an audiobook. The audiobook was probably easier to follow along for me and I thought the narration was perfect for the style and genre of this book. 

The cast of characters was diverse and all seemed to have interesting backstories and motivations but I just didn't click with them like I expected I was. 

Overall, this was a decent book but it just wasn't for me. 

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
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WOW!!!
Netgalley e-ARC

STUNNING. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!!

I randomly added this book into my August Netgalley reading vlog because I saw it on a YA LGBTQIA+ fantasy reading list and I have never been more happy with my compulsory need to add books to my TBR.

Completely unexpected, this book imagines what life would be like if werewolves were suddenly exposed to the real world. Alive, living & breathing, very real MONSTERS, which then opens up Pandora's box to the question: if werewolves are real, then what else is too?

I LOVED this book so much. Love, love, LOVEEEED this book. I'm not going to lie I was very confused for the first part of it, but the writing execution is so good that I had to keep going. I'm so glad I did! 

This is obviously an urban fantasy, BUT ALSO did you know there are sci-fi elements as well? O_0 WHAT. I loved the originality of the monsters and what their powers are, and putting it into an urban fantasy setting... y'all I loved it. We have real honest to god monsters that were alive when Dracula roamed the earth, and our MCs are still trying to beat 5 o'clock traffic to get to a birthday party on time. 

There is also some really nice LGBTQIA+ rep, mental health rep, and I loved the questions this book brings up about the value of a person's life- I.e. if a monster isn't deadly, just different, are they still considered people? Can all monsters be put into the same category regardless of their intentions and who they are? Loved it. LOVED IT.

Overall, if you're an urban fantasy reader, and you want a story with a sprinkle of sci-fi, mystery, romance, diversity, heartbreak, and downright REALNESS, then this is the book for you. Highly recommend!!

xx
-Christine
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No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull
4/9/2021
0 Comments

Thanks to the publisher for providing the audiobook for No Gods, No Monsters in exchange for an honest review!

If you've read any other reviews for this book, you probably know the narrative style is intentionally disjointed, following one character and plotline and then the next seemingly randomly until things start to converge. I know some readers have really enjoyed that and some have found it confusing, but I think a book like this that's even trickier to follow POV wise as a physical reader requires a full cast to function as an audiobook. I was immediately lost and never quite figured out who we were following or what was going on until just before it'd change again and throw me for another loop.

I can't speak to this book's potential enjoyment if you're thinking of reading it physically because I can see a lot of my confusion being fixed were I reading it physically, but not all books work well as audiobooks and this is just one that doesn't.
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Interesting premise and well written but with the narrator and changing POV it can be hard to follow
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The premise of this book was so intriguing and there is no doubt this author has talent. The description was very vivid and I loved the amount of rep in this book. 

My biggest issue was I was lost for a good amount of the story. I had a hard time remembering the different characters and their stories and I felt like every time I started making sense of things, it’d switch to a different story. 

I will say, this genre is not my typical read, so maybe that’s why I struggled. 

The narrator did a great job with the audiobook. I wonder if having a full cast would have helped with distinguishing all the characters?
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This wasn't AT ALL what I expected it to be, but ultimately I don't think that took away from my enjoyment. The writing is great - I really cannot overstate how talented I believe Turnbull is. They really understand their characters and how to create characters that are engaging and interesting. I cared more about the individual characters than the plot, which I don't think is a slight on Turnbull or the book, but definitely something I hadn't been expecting. The plot definitely was secondary to the trauma + emotions of the characters.
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The title of this book is a play on the old anarchist slogan, “No Gods, No Masters.” It’s a reference to the belief that no one should be above anyone else and no one should be below anyone else. That all humans should be equal

The “monsters” that have suddenly come out of wherever they’ve been hiding themselves have adopted the old slogan to put forward the idea that monsters aren’t separate from the rest of the population, that neither humans nor monsters should be above or below each other, that all should be equal.

It’s a question that has come to the forefront in the wake of an event that the amorphous, unreliable narrator of this story refers to as the “Fracture”, when a group of shifters – werewolves and their kith and kin – staged a peaceful demonstration of their ability to shift from wolf to human. A demonstration that took place in front of a bunch of cops and other bystanders, and was filmed in its entirety.

The video of the demonstration appeared very briefly on the internet, showing the full change from a line of wolves to a line of humans. The video went viral. Everybody saw it. People were debating the existence of monsters and what it meant.

At least until all the copies of the video were edited to eliminate the parts that showed the change. And the debate shifted, from people discussing what they saw to people arguing about whether or not they’d really seen it. About whether or not monsters really exist at all.

But even with and beside and under the debate, the world is changing. The “Fracture” has had an effect on everyone, whether believer or skeptic, monster or human. Even for those who have chosen not to rock their familiar world by admitting that there might be more things on heaven and earth than were dreamt of in anyone’s philosophy, nothing and no one will ever be the same.

Escape Rating B: There are multiple ways of looking at this story, because it feels like it says different things depending on how the reader approaches it, beginning with the debate about whether this is science fiction or fantasy. To which the answer is probably “Yes”.

The point of view characters, whether monster or human, focus the story on the perspective of the “other”, where being a monster is just one additional axis upon which a person can be considered “other”.

The story opens with the death of Laina’s brother Lincoln, where Laina is looking for the truth about why the cops shot him. Laina expects to find yet another police cover up of cops killing a black man for no particular reason. What she finds is a video of really, truly, seriously frightened cops shooting an out-of-control werewolf who only turns into her brother after he’s dead. That the video is left for her by an invisible woman adds to Laina’s desire for answers to questions she hadn’t even known were possible.

The story spins out from there. Laina releases the video. Mysterious forces edit the video. More monsters reveal themselves to their friends and family. More people have questions and search for answers – only to find that those answers are more dangerous than they ever imagined.

The story doesn’t so much proceed as it spirals outward in ever increasing circles and greater and greater number of perspectives, from the members of a co-op who learn that one of the members is a techno-mage and that factions of monsters are hunting all of them to a young politician and secret weredog and who is still desperate to learn what happened to the parents who disappeared when she was a child – only to discover that the forces that broke them want to take and break her as well.

Conspiracy theorists learn the lesson about being careful what you wish for because you might get it. Or it might get you. That it takes a monster to catch a monster – as one of last week’s books explored much less seriously  and considerably less well – and that the only ones capable of really damaging creatures who are seriously at the top of the food chain are others who are just the same.

The switches in perspective and narration made it a bit difficult to follow the story. They give a strong sense of the story being much bigger than what we see, but also make it harder to put everything in any kind of order. At the same time, because this is also a story of the multiverse, those hints that the situation is bigger than we imagine make a certain kind of sense.

Even if I occasionally wished we stuck with one perspective so we could figure out a bit more of what’s really going on.

One of the things that I kept coming back to in my own head was that we all know that there ARE gods and there ARE monsters, even if the gods are the kind that man creates in his own image and the monsters all walk on two legs all of the time. The certainty of both of those things does not prohibit the possibility that there are also gods or pantheons of gods of the omniscient and omnipotent variety, nor that some of the monsters that go bump in the night in fiction don’t also do it for real.

It becomes clear over the course of this story that the humans are capable of being way more monstrous than the actual monsters, and that the ones who believe they are godlike are the worst of all.

The end of the blurb leads readers to questions that the story itself doesn’t raise – at least not yet in the series. Why is this happening now? (At least for certain perspectives on exactly what “now” means.)

Speaking of perspectives, at least in the audiobook that I listened to they blurred into each other just a bit. The reader was good, and if his voice was intended to represent the unreliable narrator we begin and end the story with, he does a good job of representing that particular voice. But this story has a LOT of voices, all of whom are unreliable to one degree or another – some because they don’t know what they don’t know, and some because they don’t want to know what they don’t know – and the audio might have worked a bit better if there had been a few more narrators to help the listener keep track.

In the end, which is not an end but really just a pause, I’m intrigued. It feels like this book opens a tiny window into a much wider and deeper catalog of worlds and stories and possibilities and what ifs. This first book felt like a whole bunch of teasers and I want to see where they ALL lead.
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DNF at 40%

I was intrigued by the premise of this book and found the storytelling style to be rather interesting and inventive. However, I found myself extremely confused as I was listening and am not invested enough in the story or the characters to continue/restart. I did enjoy the narrator though and think Turnbull's ideas are very fascinating and may check out his other work.
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Excellent book. There was a lot going on. I could tell it was a set up for a big series, but I really loved the character development and the way it unfolded. The omniscient narrator was interesting, a little unsettling at first, but it makes sense as you go along. Overall, a great story with lots of suspense. Can't wait for the next one.
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I am so sad that I didn’t like this book as well as I thought I would. 

Don’t get me wrong its written beautifully. I just found the audiobook a little difficult to follow with. I was extremely confused through the book, and I just kept having to rewind. But when I finally got caught up, I was intrigued. It’s actually a really interesting and very unique story. I just don’t think audio book was for me. 

I highly recommend the print version; I’m definitely going to be picking it up because the story is really one to read. 

Thank You to Cadwell Turnbull and Blackstone Publishing, for the audio-digital ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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*I received this book as a digital ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Thank you NetGalley, Cadwell Turnball, and Blackstone Publishing for approving my request for this book. 

CW: drug use, past sexual abuse, death, referenced police brutality

This book is… amazing! I’m not gonna lie, I still don’t totally understand everything that happened in the book, I’m not gonna lie. But this novel was haunting and riveting and ahhhh! I truly don’t have words. A unique take on a modern fantasy that requires a lot of attention to detail and connecting the dots. I listened on audiobook and had to keep rewinding to make sure what I thought I heard. 

Definitely worth giving a read if you don’t mind putting the pizzle pieces from several different character stories together.

4/5
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Despite my best efforts, I could not finish this audiobook. There was nothing bad about it, but there also wasn't anything that kept my attention going. Every time I started the audiobook it seemed like nothing was happening and I would get very bored. It's most likely a case of "it's not you, it's me."

My rating mainly comes from the phenomenal performance given by Dion Graham (he gets 5 stars). Even with a book whose content made it very hard to pay attention, Graham's performance easily catapulted him to one of my favorite narrators. Whenever I talked about this book, I always described Graham's narration as something more like a friend telling you a story rather than someone narrating something. He showed amusement, exasperation, despair, all the emotions you could want with the slightest change in his voice or by adding a huffing laugh, a growl - sometimes I could even feel him rolling his eyes in exasperation. Honestly, his performance is outstanding and I'm now a huge fan. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for allowing me to listen to this audiobook in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.
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I always enjoy books that are set in the surrounding Boston area! I've lived here for the last 6 years and it's always so cool to see places I know in books. This book had really great political undertones and I loved how the author made the monsters just so normal. The writing was so well done as well..
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I was 100% wholly invested in this book, and then it just... ENDED!! I know now that that's because it's the first book in a series of books, but still, I wasn't expecting the book to end, so when I got to the end and heard the "This concludes the reading of "No Gods, No Monsters" by Cadwell Turnbull," I nearly lost my mind! 

This was an excellently written book. It started out a bit slow... no. Not slow. That's not the right word. It started out a bit... confusing. There were so many new characters thrown at me in the first few pages of the book, that I was a little confused. I think, for that reason only, this one may be one that's better read than listened to. 

I feel like I would have been fine with all the new characters and such had I been physically reading the book, but since I was listening to the audiobook, it was a little more difficult to keep track of everyone at first. 

I quickly caught on to who everyone was, though, and from that moment in, I was invested. I loved the whole premise of the book, and the representation (people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, normal, everyday people who have open relationships with their partners, etc.) was excellent. Also, it was done in such a way that it wasn't over the top. 

Sometimes, authors and casting directors (happens more in tv shows and movies than books) pack so much "representation" into a show/movie that it almost feels like they've forgotten the plot or point of the show/book/movie and are just packing more representation in for the sake of doing it. This book didn't make a big deal out of people with they/them pronouns and transgendered people. In fact, I didn't even realize one of the main characters WAS transgendered until at least halfway through the book (or more), and even then, it was revealed in a way that made sense and then not brought up again. 

I don't want to go into the plot of the book because not knowing anything going in is half the fun, but overall, I really, really enjoyed this book. I just wish the ending hadn't come so abruptly. 

Oh, and as to the narration and all that - the narrator was fine. No complaints. The audio was clear and read at a pace that wasn't too draggy or too fast. Again, my only problem with the audiobook format was that it was hard to tell who people were at the beginning.
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Rating 4.5

I really liked this book. It was really well-written and I liked most of the characters. Some of it went over my head, but I think that's just because I listened to the audiobook. I'd recommend this to anyone who liked Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark.
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Let me be clear, this book was good. The topics covered were so interesting and the descriptions so visceral that I couldn't put it down. But I'm left feeling like I didn't truly *get* it. It's truly a descent into strangeness that I'd like to revisit in written form. While the narrator was phenomenal, I got lost in all of the names and stream of consciousness transitions.

*Thank you to Blackstone Publishing for the ALC in exchange for my honest review*
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NO GODS, NO MONSTERS is a stunning novel.

While completely different in most ways, it has the kind of impact GIDEON THE NINTH had on me. It is complex and compelling, brainy and emotional. Dark as night with a thread of hope.
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This is a really odd and dark book that was right up my alley. Unfortunately I do not think this is a book for everyone. A lot is going on in this book and a lot of it is hard to swallow. The switching between story lines also doesn't help the dense nature of this book. All of it together makes this book really hard to chew. I will say if this sort of book is something you are into then this is a great example of the genre. I really enjoyed this book and I know many people who will as well. Just be aware this book is a lot to take but definitely worth it.
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