Cover Image: No Gods, No Monsters

No Gods, No Monsters

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Member Reviews

I really don’t know about this one…

For one, the overarching concept of monsters being revealed to the world as, well, real, is very cool. And Turnbull’s writing (though I listened to the audiobook) and character development are masterful and compelling. In particular, I loved Riley, an ace trans man very into anticapitalist cooperatives. The audiobook narrator was also excellent--he did a fabulous job differentiating characters in a novel that is especially hard to follow. 

Despite all that good stuff to like, the structure of this novel was just plain difficult. It was tough to follow the many multiple POV and parse out their connections to one another and the mysteries of monsters and secret societies. I expected it to get somewhat easier to follow as the plot progressed and I became more familiar with the characters, but No Gods, No Monsters only got harder to keep track of nearing the end. Which, unfortunately, made the ending feel pretty confusing and unsatisfying for me. I went back and forth between loving and being deeply frustrated by this book. Sad to say this will probably be my last stop in this particular series, but I greatly enjoyed The Lesson and look forward to other series or standalones by Turnbull.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for giving me advance access to this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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The first in a new series, No Gods, No Monsters is a dark, gritty fantasy/horror set in contemporary times. Only in this book, monsters have declared to the world that they're real. The questions is: what scared them out of the dark? *Trigger warning: this book contains descriptions of violence, death, drug addiction, and sexual abuse. I recommend this book to fans of Call of Cthulhu and Lovecraftian horror. It is full of mysteries and hard to put down, but the entire time I was reading it I felt... unsettled? Not for the faint of heart. 

Personally, this book was a DNF. As much as I recognize the quality of the mysteries and the unsettling sensation that the author was able to build, the book became too dark for me to find it enjoyable. However, it is for that exact reason that I will be enthusiastically recommending it to my patrons and friends who enjoy a good dark mystery or horror. The author's use of different perspectives throughout the chapters kept me guessing and revealed little clues along the way that kept me engaged. I only wish that I was made of sterner stuff so that I could have made it to the end! 

The narrator for this audiobook, Dion Graham, did an excellent job. His voice lured me into the story and seemed an excellent fit for the cast of characters.
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It's difficult to describe this book. It's almost like a quilt of interconnected characters pieced together by an unseen quilter. A professor leaves his academic job to move home to St. Thomas. A Boston woman's brother is murdered by police, a shocking video shows him in his Wolf form before death. A child escapes a secret society.

It takes a while for the connections to be made and understood, but I wouldn't say the book is slow moving. The characters are diverse and interesting. This book is the first in a series, and is revving up to be a complex, fascinating story.

The Narrator, Dion Graham does an excellent job, he definitely belongs in the narrator hall of fame!
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I don't really know what to say here... Wow! It's a lot! I loved the narration,I think the narrator did a great job and I liked the many perspectives but I'm not a skilled audiobook listener,so following the plot proved really difficult for me. Just a personal thing, I think I need to read a print version of this to really understand what's going on.
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Wow! This book is weird....but creepy-cool weird! I loved it! 

What would happen if monsters were suddenly and completely real? Myths, legends, strange gods....all those things your parents told you weren't in your closet, under your bed or outside at night.....   

It took me awhile to get into this audio book. The story switches from character to character and jumps perspectives without any warning. But that weird vibe of constantly switching directions fits with this story. Once I got into the rhythm of the tale, I was hooked! 

There's more to this story than just a monster tale though. It's not hard to see through the supernatural trappings and understand what the author is really getting at. 

So creative! So many facets to this book. It's definitely a story that warrants a second listen....and a third! This is the start to a series -- can't wait to find out happens next!

The audio is almost 10 hours long and narrated by Dion Graham. Excellent voice acting -- Graham did a wonderful job! Very entertaining -- and thought provoking -- listening experience!

**I voluntarily listened to a review audiobook from Blackstone Publishing. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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This beautiful yet dense novel might be hard to follow, but it is totally worth it. A lot of characters, a lot of dimensions (literally) and a lot of metaphysical questions, about what makes us monstrous and what makes us human. Or gods?

Science and fantasy create a world difficult to access, but no more than our inner world or the world we live in. We have to accept that we can't understand everything, and we have to understand ourselves. It all comes together at the end... for better or worse.
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I could barely listen to this book, the narrator was so terrible. The narrator can make or break the whole book and in this case, it broke it.
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One of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. The narrator does a fantastic job at immersing you into the world.
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One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother has been shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.

Reading the blurb for this book I was intrigued enough to want to read it, and having a chance to listen to the audiobook was a perfect way.  

Turnbull's style of writing,  very poetic and descriptive, was a definite plus for me. So many books in this genre are written as if the reader was a child.

But personally, this just wasn't for me. I understood how Turnbull made the connections between today's headlines and a story about Monsters coming out, but to me, it seemed to trivialize today's issues.
Another issue, that is purely personal, is I read to escape the real-life horror of today's insensitive world. I can't say I found that escape here. I was agitated by the response to a werewolf being shot by a cop as I am when I hear of a black life lost for the same reason.

Unfortunately, I just could not find the empathy I needed for the characters. There was too much jumping from one character's story to another and I just started to feel annoyed and lost.

Dion Graham did a wonderful job as narrator.

Don't let my experience stop you though. The writing style alone is worth the read. Trumbull is a fine wordsmith and I will try another of his books in the future.

Thanks to @Netgalley, Blackstone Publishing, and Cadwell Trumbull for this audiobook in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
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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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Netgalley e-ARC


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!!

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No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull

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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