Review: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

29241322A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age:13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Paranormal, Ghosts, Jack the Ripper

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IT’S LONDON 1888, and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing the people of the city. Evelyn, a young woman disfigured by her dangerous work in a matchstick factory, who has nowhere to go, does not know what to make of her new position as a maid to the Elephant Man in the London Hospital. Evelyn wants to be locked away from the world, like he is, shut in from the filth and dangers of the streets. But in Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man, she finds a gentle kindred who does not recoil from her and who understands her pain. When the murders begin, however, Joseph and Evelyn are haunted nightly by the ghosts of the Ripper’s dead, setting Evelyn on a path to facing her fears and uncovering humanity’s worst nightmares.

A Taste for Monsters is a terrifying and haunting tale of the monstrosity of men and the salvation one may find in the unlikeliest places, from Edgar Award–winning author Matthew J. Kirby.


What a touching story.

I must say I find it rather unfair to have to leave the characters so soon. I grew quite fond of Evelyn and Mr. Merrick… more than I expected I would.

The story is not an unfamiliar one but there is imagination in it. It’s 1888 and Jack the Ripper is terrorizing London. The murders are done especially close to the hospital where Evelyn attends to the Elephant Man, as she is his maid.

The concept reminded me very slightly of the last book I have read inspired by Jack the Ripper – Stalking Jack the Ripper – in the sense that Evelyn and Mr. Merrick are directly involved in the mystery, since the spirits of the murdered haunt them at night.

But, for me, this ‘‘retelling’’ was so much better. Much more interesting, also, and more pleasant to read. This author has a particularly elegant writing style that fits perfectly the century during which the story is set.

There is no romance per se in this book, but the closeness between Evelyn and Mr. Merrick is quite endearing. Their friendship grows as they start facing dire situations together and only deepen from there.

It is not surprising to me, after reading A Taste for Monsters, that Mr. Kirby has won the ‘‘Edgar Award,’’ for the mystery here is captivating and kept me on the edge of my seat for the duration of the story.

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6 thoughts on “Review: A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby

  1. I absolutely love the sound of this one. I don’t think there has to be romance in a novel for it to be good, but beautiful writing, I can fall in love with that rather easily. I’ve always found Jack the Ripper retellings interesting and looks like this one will go on my TBR. Great review!


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