ARC Review: Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Title: Of Monsters and Madness
Author: Jessica Verday
Series: Of Monsters and Madness, #1
**I received a copy of this book through NetGalley which does not affect my review**

Having lived most of her life amongst missionaries in a place far from her country of birth, Annabel Lee is unprepared for her new home in Philadelphia. With the passing of her mother, Annabel ventures across seas to join her father, whom she has never met. But the meeting doesn’t go as planned, for her father is far from welcoming. Annabel finds solace in her maid, Maddy, and her father’s assistant, Allan Poe. But the gruesome murders that have been plaguing the city and her father’s mysterious experiments have Annabel on edge.

“My arms flail desperately, reaching for something to grab on to. But there is nothing. Panic sets in. Every breath I take floods my mouth with dirty water. Tiny bubbles surround me as the air escapes my body.”

Annabel is a sweet tempered girl with a kind disposition, who aspires to be a doctor. She isn’t used to being waited on and so must adjust to having servants and not being able to contribute to the household. Making this even more difficult is her father’s disapproval of her upbringing. He seems to hold her accountable for her mother’s actions, which are not fully explained in the book. What bothered me most about Annabel’s character was her inability to overcome her need for her father’s approval and she spent a little too much time wallowing in self-pity.

Annabel’s relationship with Allan Poe is not what I expected from the beautiful poem that is Annabel Lee. I hoped to be swept away by an epic love story, but their relationship consists mostly of blushes and stolen kisses. I did enjoy reading about Annabel’s growing relationship with her grandfather who’s much closer to a father-figure than her mostly-absent father.

Anyone who has ever read any of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories has suspected at one time or another that he might have been a little mad, and in many cases genius and madness are two sides of the same coin. Of Monsters and Madness explores one possible scenario, presenting a grim story, but in my opinion lacks the right amount of mystery and eeriness befitting Edgar Allan Poe’s works.

Rating: 2/5


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