A stunning new work of historical fantasy, J.M. Miro’s Ordinary Monsters introduces readers to the dark, labyrinth world of The Talents.
England, 1882. In Victorian London, two children with mysterious powers are hunted by a figure of darkness – a man made of smoke.
Sixteen-year-old Charlie Ovid, despite a lifetime of brutality, doesn’t have a scar on him. His body heals itself, whether he wants it to or not. Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight car, shines with a strange bluish light. He can melt or mend flesh. When two grizzled detectives are recruited to escort them north to safety, they are forced to confront the nature of difference, and belonging, and the shadowy edges of the monstrous.
What follows is a journey from the gaslit streets of London to an eerie estate outside Edinburgh, where other children with gifts – the Talents – have been gathered. Here, the world of the dead and the world of the living threaten to collide. And as secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities, and the nature of the force that is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.
If you enjoy fantasy, especially historical fantasy, Ordinary Monsters is for you. This is the start of a brand-new series exploring a gothic Victorian London with magic and mystery lurking around every corner – think Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell meets the The Night Circus.
At just under 700 pages, it’s lengthy, but Miro superbly draws you into this richly imagined world, allowing you to savour every pitch-perfect detail. Marlowe and Charlie are compelling protagonists – smart, crafty and damaged. Making their way to Edinburgh brings the boys face to face with hardships that tests their bond in more ways than one. While this is a sweeping fantasy adventure, it is, at its core, a heartfelt story of friendship.
With lush prose, mesmerising world-building and a gripping plot, Ordinary Monsters presents a catastrophic vision of the Victorian world – and of the gifted, broken children who must save it. Do yourself a favour and give this a read. It’s sensational.