Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Monster’s Bride

Never the Bride

Written by: Paul Magrs

Released: August 10, 2006 by Headline Book Publishing

Summary: Brenda has had a long and eventful life. Now she has come to Whitby to run a B&B and find some peace and quiet. She and her best friend Effie link nothing better than going out for tea at the Walrus and the Carpenter or dinner at Cod Almighty and keeping their eves open for any of the mysterious goings-on in town.
And what with satanic beauty salons, more-than-illegal aliens, roving psychic investigators and the frankly terrifying owner of the Christmas Hotel there is no shortage of nefarious shenanigans to keep them interested.
But the oddest thing in Whitby may well be Brenda herself. With her terrible scars, her strange lack of a surname or the fact that she takes two different shoe sizes, Brenda should have known that people as, well, unique as she is, just aren’t destined for a quiet life.

I really enjoyed this book, especially since it wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be.

First off, the way that it was written was like nothing that I have ever really read before. Each chapter is like a short story but with reoccurring characters and it’s all centred around the main protagonist Brenda and her best friend Effie. The writing itself is witty and intriguing and it makes me kick myself for not buying the sequel when they were both on the bargain table at Indigo.

That being said, it’s a dark, foreboding type of book that makes you laugh and almost cry at times. It’s original and twisted with the most interesting plot lines that I have read in a while.

The way that it is almost like interlocking short stories gives the book a different groove that you read in, but I really liked the change in pace from other books. It’s weird, though, because though it does in fact seem like short stories strung together, each chapter being a new one, it’s not the type of book that you could read out of order. There are details that are referenced back to throughout the other chapters and there are points that help to build upon the later goings-on in the book. For instance, the Christmas Hotel is first explored in the first chapter but it isn’t until the fourth that it’s really a main focus for Brenda and Effie. Likewise, characters make a cameo appearance in chapter one or two but they don’t fully come into their own until later on in the novel.

What I really enjoyed about this book was Brenda. She is such a remarkable character who deals with what life throws at her and isn’t phased by much it seems. She’s also this amazingly strong female character of a calibre which is hard to find in most books.

All in all, I think that I might read this again but for all the good things that this book is, it’s not one that I would re-read for a good while. I suppose that because it was so original and different it really stuck with me and I can easily recall what happened in it because of that. So, that being said, why would I read it again while it’s still so fresh even though I finished it a while ago? Still, I give it a 7/10 for originality and it’s a book that I would recommend to someone who wants something a little off-kilter to read.

The summary was taken from the back of the novel.

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