Review: The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht



The Monster of Elendhaven is a dark fantasy, a twisted tale of revenge set in an original world as oily and real as Jack the Ripper’s London. After a thing with no name washes up on the docks, empty, alone, and unable to die, he becomes obsessed with a frail young man who can twist minds with magic. Together, they launch a plan so dark and cruel that readers will find themselves cheering for blood, and for these avengers to consummate their horrible passion for each other. But the pair are being hunted by officials from the south, intent on saving the world from the horrors mages can unleash.


I want to thank the publisher and author for an advanced reading copy of The Monster of Elendhaven in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novella.

The Monster of Elendhaven is immensely mesmerizing with its darkly gorgeous prose and deftly jarring substance. It is an immortal and obsessive nightmare from the sea, ready to dig its claws into your flesh.

Giesbrecht has one of THE most beautiful writing styles I have come across. If the cover by Jeffrey Alan Love didn’t say BUY ME RIGHT MEOW, then just the first couple of lines will have you drooling:

For a long time, he didn’t have a name. What he had were long white fingers that hooked into purses and a mouth that told easy lies. What he had were eyes that remembered faces, feet that knew the alleys, palms that grew calloused and soot stained from crawling through the cobblestone streets.

He got the name when he was three feet and four inches tall, kneeling on the dock with a coin in his palm, from a sailor who stank of rum and fish oil. The sailor grabbed him by the back of the neck and slammed his head into the wall—once, twice, three times—and then yanked the coin from his hand. His lip split on the dock and his mouth filled with a foul mixture of grease, salt, and blood.

I was hooked by those long white fingers for the entire 159 pages. This is a novella that does not let up in its originality or gothic darkness. It is unlike anything I have ever read and just goes to show that publishing is here to stay for the long-haul.

It is difficult to write a review with the publication date so far out as I want to gush over what I have just finished reading. All I can honestly say is that I loved absolutely everything about The Monster of Elendhaven and I cannot wait to see what else the author has in store.

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