Review: Here there are monsters
By Amelinda Berube
Release Date: Aug 6, 2019
Ever since their family moved into the new house, things have gotten strange for Skye. Deirdre has always been a little… odd. Small for her age, fanciful, and an introvert, Deirdre is content to create her own fantasy world with Skye rather than interact with other children her age. When they aren’t out in the woods playing in the fantasy kingdoms, Deirdre is creating dioramas of the kingdoms with Skye cast as the Queen of Swords. But, Skye is tired of the isolation, the strange looks from the other students. She loves her sister and protects her but she feels that now is the time to leave the kingdoms behind.
But, one day Dierdre disappears. Skye feels responsible and weird things are starting to happen. Mutilated animal bodies, and sun bleached animal skulls are starting to appear in their yard. Weirder still are the piles of sticks and dirt that appeared in Skye’s bed. When she finds her discarded wooden sword among the piles, she must once again don her crown as the Queen of Swords to rescue her sister from the ancient creatures of stick and bone that have taken her.
Here there are monsters is told in first person by Skye. She weaves the narrative between past and present to effectively create the larger, vivid tapestry of Dierdre’s fantasy kingdoms and the stark reality. Skye’s guilt over her last hours with Deirdre are relatable. It is the burden of the older sibling to care for and protect the younger.
Skye is chafing under her sister’s childish fantasies and she wants to grow up. She wants to join the bigger world and starts to make new friends, who look at her little sister like she’s a freak. She understandably feels torn between worlds.
The atmosphere of the house is suffocating as Skye’s mother blames her for not watching Dierdre on the day she disappeared. Skye’s frustration grows as her parents and the police refuse to let her assist in the search. The winter woods around their house becomes oppressive and dangerous as night falls. When the creatures of stick and bone appear, things take a fantastical turn from realistic family drama to a quest to rescue Dierdre from monsters.
Here there are monsters poses the question: When reality fractures and magic pours through the cracks, what would you do to save the one you love? Fantastical and dark, descend into the twisted kingdoms that lay on the border of childhood and adulthood. All fantasy must come to an end. Only the dead can dwell in the other world forever.