... a uniquely weird and wonderful reading experience ... Blending horror, fantasy, and literary fiction, Hamill draws the reader into the world of the Turner family with ease ... Divided into seven parts, each part of this book is thoughtfully structured ... twists and turns in unexpected ways, providing bits of information throughout which the reader is responsible for collecting, assessing, and synthesizing. The reader is certain to be surprised countless times by the revelations and connections Hamill makes throughout the book. The second half of the novel in particular really picks up speed, gripping the reader and inducing a frenzied turning of pages in order to get to the crux of who these monsters are and what they want with the Turners ... The writing is simply haunting, the story full of heart. Hamill strikes upon meaningful themes throughout the book ... I highly recommend this novel for fans of Paul Tremblay and Stephen King. Much in the vein of these two celebrated horror writers, Hamill has built a rich world full of complex characters and he successfully delivers in showing how the horrors of real life can be just as terrifying as any monster.
... a beautifully crafted and terrifying thrill ride of a book ... Hamill uses the jumps in time wisely; the cuts between years are never jarring. And he avoids the nostalgia trap that tends to mire other writers who choose the recent past as their settings ... He does make some sly references, though, which he then subverts in seriously creepy ways ... Hamill traffics in the disturbing, like Stephen King at his most upsetting ... almost more John Irving than King, since Hamill writes about family, sex, and all things grotesque with a gleeful openness. In a way, the novel is a twisted coming-of-age tale, with all the benchmarks of male adolescence—shame, jealousy, anger, and id—personified in the form of a monster and transformed into literal horror ... a novel that’s both beautiful and terrifying, which isn’t the easiest thing to pull off. Hamill knows how to craft great horror fiction, but he’s also a keen observer of how families cope with loss and with one another. He recognizes that not everything gets resolved neatly, that sometimes darkness just leads to more darkness.
I was halfway through Texas author Shaun Hamill’s debut novel A Cosmology of Monsters before I could tell you what it was about, but I was loving every second of it all the same ... The book is a mesmerizing, meandering, dark tale of growing up and finding monsters all around you ... What makes Cosmology of Monsters both fun and awful to read is how expertly Hamill threads the line between normalcy and atrocity. He leads a reader very slowly from general unease and a few cheap scares to a mind-blowing realization about the truth behind all our fears. It’s, well, just like a haunted attraction. It’s uncomfortable but brilliant. By the time you reach the end, you’re willing to believe anything ... Hamill has crafted something truly remarkable, and if you have to sprint through it so that the gaudy demons can’t grab you, that’s intentional.