One October morning, Laina gets the news that her brother has been shot and killed by Boston cops. But what looks like a case of police brutality soon reveals something much stranger. Monsters are real. And they want everyone to know it.
... distinctive ... the novel places society’s taboos front and center, constructing a narrative replete with social critiques and criticism. And its precise language and masterful storytelling make each character’s story compelling and immediate. Difficult magical concepts are also made accessible and engaging through logical explanations that sometimes become scientific ... a horror and fantasy novel with a sociological bent, in which many secrets wait to be unearthed.
Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Cadwell Turnbull’s second novel No Gods, No Monsters is absolutely worth your time. If you’re at all a fan of science fiction and fantasy, if you’re at all interested in deep characterization and interiority playing out against the fantastical, if you’re into the interplay of how genre can operate in conversation with the real world, if any of that is your bread and butter, then you’re good; you can stop reading this review and go pick up the book. You’re welcome ... I can’t get over how impressive this book is ... What you get from this formula of plot is much better than the standard focus on these secret societies. What Turnbull has made a priority, among many things in this novel, is the laser focus on character interiority and perspective ... And for all that the above balancing act requires, Turnbull refuses to smooth over or shove aside the complexity of the everyday world we live ... a staggering achievement of literary craftsmanship, a complex juggling act of plot, tension, character interiority, worldbuilding, thought experiment, using trust from the reader as the fuel that pushes the book forward, page by page. It is a piece of narrative alchemy, and I’m in awe, knowing just how much work must’ve gone into this book to make it the piece of art it is. I said it at the top and I’ll say it again: Cadwell Turnbull’s new novel is absolutely worth your time. Go and grab a copy now, and then join me in the waiting line for whatever he’s got coming next, because I know that will be worth it, too.
No Gods, No Monsters is something special ... Reading it was a transformative experience that changed itself up constantly, always keeping me on my toes, spotlighting ideas of prejudice, regret, grief, and what constitutes a monster in new angles that altered my perception of them ... The novel’s kaleidoscopic breadth in its plot and characters is always illuminating but never blinding. It’s able to offer a grand scope without losing direction, managing characters that might seem disconnected at first into a more-than-satisfying unifying thread ... No Gods, No Monsters may feel meandering at times, but by the end of the novel, everything fit and made sense. The story shifts with entrancing and calculated disorientation. But even when characters and worlds intersected and switched, one thing was invariably certain: No Gods, No Monsters is a masterfully executed feat and more than worthy of a read.