... 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.
... a horror tale unafraid to tackle big issues of familial fealty, the architecture of fear, and the metaphysics of love, all while shocking the pants off the reader ... straddles the line between scares and feels with confidence and flair. Every time it feels as though the John Irving-style family drama is going to overwhelm the story, Hamill injects a heavy dose of Stephen King-worthy horror. He entwines these elements with a deft hand, and when his simmering monster yarn dovetails with his tender love story, there's a grotesque emotional logic to it that's jaw-dropping. There's nothing new about comparing the monsters within the monsters without, but Hamill employs flashes of insight and flourishes of poignancy to chillingly portray a family held together by the very things that are tearing it apart ... What's missing, though, is a more critical engagement with the hateful legacy of Lovecraft's oeuvre, an honest conversation between texts that recent novels have undertaken bravely. Fear in itself is a political weapon these days, and the book does succeed in delving into the menace and dread that comes from living in a state of pervasive fright — but it's also a wasted opportunity to take part in the current Lovecraft discourse in a more meaningful way ... a book that haunts in a myriad ways, and its monsters are just as often palpably real as they are dredged from the depths of nightmares. Horrific yet emotionally immersive, A Cosmology of Monsters is equally a cartography of the heart.