Cover Image: No Gods, No Monsters

No Gods, No Monsters

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Member Reviews

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.

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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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Do you ever read a book and feel like you need one of those giant conspiracy boards with the red string?
Because that is how I felt thru out this book. So much so that I will be purchasing a copy to tear apart and create a conspiracy board. I do feel that I must wait until I can get a paperback as somehow it feels wrong to subjugate a Hard Cover to that level of use.

Turnbull's writing is incredibly gorgeous that I found myself so engrossed that it took me way to long to realize that we were seeing characters reoccur, and that I should have paid more mind to the names of the individuals in the beginning.
I'm honestly excited for the opportunity to read this again, because this book is so packed with information wrapped in gorgeous writing that I'm sure that there is so much more I will see by delving back in.

IT IS GAY! IT SLAPS. It has some good representation of polyamorous relationships.

I did learn today though, that this book is not a stand alone novel it is part of a series. (Which makes the ending make way more sense)
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I am a big fan of monsters. I believe that there are unexplained beings all around us and there are things we don't understand. I don't believe that we are the only intelligent being in the universe. If you are like me, I think you would enjoy this book. 

This book combines fantasy and the real world issues that we are facing today, but puts different faces to them. What do you think would happen if it was revealed on a global scale that monsters existed? And as you're trying to get a handle on that all of a sudden all of the proof is wiped from existence and all you're left with is the question of what you actually saw. A question if you just conjured those images in your mind or if you did see it and you realize there is a force powerful enough to wipe viral videos from existence (we all know how hard, if not impossible, that is). 

This book has a lot of points of views. I think this helps with getting the full scope of the story and seeing the way it affects different people that are within this story. This allows for empathy and clearly is something I wish we had today - a way to see an issue from all sides. However, this does add to the confusion. This book is kind of all over the place which I think is also the allure of it. It's from many different perspectives and it goes between different time lines, different universes, and doesn't fully explain each monster and god. Instead, it gives you tid bits that you won't understand without following the whole book. There are still things left open ended that hopefully future books (this is meant to be a series) will address.

Overall, I enjoyed this. Once I got the rhythm of the writing and understand each POV, their roll (as much as I could understand) and how they related to each other I thought this was an incredibly interesting book. This was an audio book for me and the narrator did a fantastic job as well.  I recommend this for those that are interested in civil rights issues and especially those that enjoy the paranormal/unexplained. My one piece of advice, embrace the confusion and roll with is. 

Thank you Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for an advanced eCopy for an honest review.
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I'm unsure what I was expecting going into this novel, but whatever it was wasn't anything like what it actually is. That's not a bad thing, but I am unsure exactly how to articulate my thoughts on this book. I don't even think I could properly summarize it, but I'll try my best.

This novel begins with Laina finding out about her brother's death. What seems like another tragic case of police brutality is revealed to be much more-- there are monsters living among humans. This event spurs the monsters of the world to come out of the shadows and fight for recognition and equality. But there seems to be another force that is fighting against the monsters, trying to keep them hidden. As you travel further and further into the book, you find more questions than answers, but one thing remains at the top of the list: why have the monsters been hiding? And why are they choosing now to be seen?

This book is very much character-driven. That is kinda my jam, so I enjoyed that aspect of the book, but I know that's not for everyone. I received an ARC of the audiobook, so the introduction of all the characters caused me to be a bit confused at first. The confusion about the plot and characters caused it to be a bit of a slow start for me. However, once I figured out the growing connections between the characters and how the overall structure of the book was going to be shaped, I started to get more and more into it. The writing is beautiful, and the characters are fully realized and perfectly imperfect. The book is structured so that you can really take a deep dive into the characters' lives and pasts which causes you to become more and more attached to them. The narration by Dion Graham only added to the richness of the characterization. There is an abundance of bipoc and lgbtq+ rep as well which is seamlessly incorporated. 

This very much felt like the setup of the plot to come in future books in this saga. It was wonderfully weird and thought provoking and I can't wait to read what happens next.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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No Gods, No Monsters is the type of book I can see becoming really popular; because the story itself was interesting and original and it had a lovely haunting vibe that will draw people in. The writing was also really good and captivating. I just know many people will go crazy for it.

With that said, this book just wasn't for me. I found it way too hard to follow and I just kept getting confused. Too much going on with too many perspectives were my biggest problem; but like I said, I can see people really enjoying it, just didn't work for me personally.

If anyone is looking for something different with some good writing I highly recommend you check it out for yourself though.
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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 was excited about this book, but it fell flat for me. The book skipped around a lot and I was often very confused as to what was happening. It was hard to keep the stories and characters straight, especially with only one narrator. I wanted to like this book and I think others will definitely enjoy it, but it just wasn't for me.
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I liked the premise but it fell flat for me on execution. The story was being told from a lot of viewpoints in the voice of one narrator & it got confusing at many points. I could follow the general storyline and what was happening but it was often a struggle to really get into the story because I kept asking myself “who is this again?” “Wait, what’s going on?” “Why are we here?” I think I would’ve enjoyed it more if it was narrated from multiple voices or less viewpoints.
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This book absolutely blew me away. On the surface, it is an urban fantasy with light horror elements about humanity realizing monsters exist. But anyone who picks this up expecting a typical urban fantasy might be put off by what they actually will get. 

Similar to Turnbull's debut novel, The Lesson, No Gods, No Monsters is more of a literary speculative fiction. There is a wide cast of characters who's connections slowly start to  form to a larger story, and there is more of a focus on word choice and theming than plot. Also similar to The Lesson, the themes in No Gods, No Monsters are not being hidden. The monsters are very clearly a stand-in for other marginalized groups and there were some pretty timely messages about misinformation and the way society reacts to information it doesn't like. For example this response when a main character asks a friend they are a monster denier:

"Okay. You know about flat-earthers, right? Don't get me wrong, I know the earth is round. But I can empathize with the desire to hold things firm in your own hands. I've seen monsters the same way I've seen pictures of space. It makes sense to leave some room for doubt, to be uncertain."

It's hard to say much more about the book, as the beauty of it is unraveling the details as you read, but I think if the reader goes in with the right expectations, they will love this. The prose is sparse and hauntingly beautiful at times. The cast of characters got confusing but never so muddled that I lost trust in Turnbull knowing what he's doing. I hate to use the word enjoyable because the content of this book is incredibly heavy, with content warnings for police brutality, sexual assault, drug addiction, overdose, and more, but I loved watching the layers of this story unfold.

About the audiobook specifically, Dion Graham's narration was wonderful. He remains one of my favorite narrators. Though I will say there is a first person narrator throughout that occasionally got disorienting while listening to the audiobook. I would still absolutely recommend listening to the audio, but it might be helpful to have a physical or e-copy version of the book to follow along. 

Lastly, nestled in the acknowledgements, Turnbull states that references to The Lesson in this novel are meaningful so you can bet that I will be rereading both The Lesson and No Gods, No Monsters with my highlighter and tabs readily available before the sequel comes out.
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This book is about monsters becoming known in day-to-day life. It’s essentially literary urban fantasy- monsters walking around the city, hiding in the shadows. It is unique and beautifully written. This book was unsettling and made me anxious at times, but it did make me want to learn more, even if it was a little hard for me to get into.

Laina’s brother was brutally killed by the police. Is it blatant brutality or is there more to the gruesome death? So, of course, the author is talking about more than monsters beneath the surface.

This one would be good for fans of literary fiction with social commentary and the supernatural. I struggled with the stream of consciousness approach, with the “all knowing” narrator. I did like how mysterious the narrator was throughout the book. 

There were parts that were hard to follow, as there were a lot of characters, and the narration moves from character to character without warning. The narration also switches from 1st person to 3rd person, so at times I had no clue what was going on. There was also a lot of jumping from the past to the present, which also made it hard to follow at times. 

I wanted to know more about the characters and their backstories. I noticed that this is the start of a series, and I think the author could have gone into more depth in places, highlighting a few major characters with fewer flashbacks, which made the read confusing at times. 

I am an impatient reader, and struggle to “go with the flow” at times, so I was reluctant to trust the author to have it all come together in the end. I feel as if I would need to read this a second time to truly appreciate it. I think the book is an allegory about minorities and social conflicts, but I was unfortunately too confused at times to fully appreciate these deeper themes.
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4.25 Stars

Content warnings at end of review.

Thank you to Netgalley and Blackstone Publishing for an ALC of this book

A diverse cast of characters come together when Monsters are publicly revealed to be real, and a power struggle between those who want equal rights for Monsters and those who want them swept under the rug begins.

Firstly, I want to say that I would love to reread this book with a physical copy in my hands, because there were so many characters that I was getting a little lost with just the audiobook. That being said--I don't think it was the audio's fault at all, and I loved loved loved the narration by Dion Graham .

There were so many amazing characters with diverse identities that I loved! This was dark and tempting and I loved reading/listening to it! I thought it was so interesting and I love that this was just the start of a series! Can't wait to read more!

Pub Date: Sept 7, 2021

Content Warnings
Graphic: Gun violence, Violence, Racism, Police brutality, Mass/school shootings, Death, and Grief
Moderate: Gore, Addiction, and Body horror
Minor: Child abuse, Suicide attempt, and Drug abuse
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God damn, this book is beautiful and brilliant.
At first I thought I was maybe too dumb (or too white) to understand what Turnbull was getting at. But the story ends up weaving together so beautifully and perfectly. The only issue I really had was keeping up with all the characters and how they connect. Will probably reread soon but keep a list of all the characters so I can better connect the dots.
The audiobook narrator does a great job, though he does randomly take long pauses between words mid-sentence
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