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The Monstrous Child

(Mortal Gods #3)

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,158 ratings  ·  248 reviews
Before you reject me, before you hate me, remember: I never asked to be Hel’s queen.

Meet Hel, teenager and Queen of the Dead. Daughter of a giantess and a god. Sister to Fenrir the wolf and Jormungand the snake.

This is her testament.

Hel never wanted to be queen, but being a normal teenager wasn’t an option either. Now she’s stuck ruling the underworld. For eternity. She do
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Paperback, 290 pages
Published December 1st 2016 by Faber Faber (first published May 3rd 2016)
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CalamityMane You don't need to read the other two books, "The Sleeping Army" and "The Lost Gods". There is one thing that happens in this book that seems odd until…moreYou don't need to read the other two books, "The Sleeping Army" and "The Lost Gods". There is one thing that happens in this book that seems odd until you realise that this book is connected to the others, but other than that, it works as a standalone novel.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,158 ratings  ·  248 reviews


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Mizuki
Here is a story of a teenage girl: there are a great deal of family dramas, sibling-hating, teenager's angst, mommy issues and daddy issues, a lot of attention being placed on self-image and looks, one-sided love toward a Prince Charming guy (view spoiler), teenager's sulking and brooding alone in dark places...you get the picture, right? But this time, the teenage girl in question is Hel, Queen of the Dead from the Norse myths.

Let's prepare yourself
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Salima Bensalah
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most original books I have read in a long time. Read in one sitting.

The Monstrous Child is set in the world of Norse mythology, and centres around Loki's daughter, Hel, and her journey to becoming and her experiences as Queen of the Underworld. From the very first line, Simon draws us into an incredible world where journeys can spread across lifetimes, animals can be thrown out of the sky, and an immortal god can be born with rotten legs.

I was admittedly concerned about the colloquial
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Becky
May 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition


Bit of a disappointment tbh...
Became interested in this due to the Norse Mythology aspect and I sort of expected a short but interesting story. I didn’t really enjoy this too much. I liked the narration on this one - I think they did a pretty good job...it was mainly a lack of story that made me rate this so low. I liked Hel’s character but I just felt she became way too obsessed over Baldr...I understand that his death leads to Ragnarok in the mythology so it made sense she would want to keep h
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Bee
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: standalones, ukya
The only thing I liked was the whiny voice of the protagonist. She was unique and sassy to begin with but there just wasn't enough plot. Plus, this girl gets obsessed with a guy who smiles at her once, so I wasn't convinced by her motivations. ...more
Mila
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've got to admit- I had no idea that this was a sequel (it didn't feel like it was anyways), and I bought this on a whim because I thought the cover was gorgeous.
I think the younger me would've enjoyed this much more, though I did enjoy it as it is. I think it is a fun story to pass time. It got only three stars because I, personally do not think it's one of those stories that stay with you after you finish it. I liked the writing style, but I just was detached. I rooted for Hel, trust me. But
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Vea
I was waiting for cool, sassy Queen of Death. But I didn't get it. This books was just boring as hell (pun intended) ...more
Nefret
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, mythology
Interesting, but ultimately a frustrating read. At times I felt like the pace stagnated and it was something of a slog, but when it picked up it was fairly enjoyable. Hel's voice is very modern, and I'm not sure it entirely worked for me, but it's possible it would work for a younger reader.

What I find most frustrating about this book is the climax. (view spoiler)
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Hannah Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Claire (Book Blog Bird)
Full review to come x
Helen
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Loki’s daughter is thrown into ‘hel’ whereupon she sulks. I think I maybe over Vikings.
Marie the Librarian
I liked this a lot. Hel is dark and funny and teenager. A bit too happy ending but okay.
Jo
Aug 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens

Francesca Simon has always been a firm favorite of mine, her Horrid Henry series is beloved by children and adults alike.
The Monstrous Child tells the story of Hel, queen of the underworld and the daughter of Loki - the evil trickster in Norse mythology. All of Loki's children are cursed, Fenrir was the eldest of three children between Loki and the giantess Angrboda. Fenrir took the form of a wolf while his younger brother Jormungand took the form of a serpent and his younger sister Hel was half
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-ˋˏc a i s e eˎˊ-
I listened to the audioboook of this, read by Eleanor Tomlinson and I thought she was perfect for it!!! The book itself wasn't all that great I thought, nothing much happened at all. So I'm glad I listened to it instead of reading it, if I had read it, I probably wouldn't have finished it actually. But I enjoyed how Eleanor even did different voices for each of the characters, it reminded me of my childhood!!! ...more
ThatBookGal
This is the second book I've read based on Norse Mythology, and the second I have really not enjoyed. I absolutely love mythology, so I was really hoping this one would be different. I don't know if it was the writing style, first person, or Hel's annoying, stubborn, petulance, that bothered me, but I really did not enjoy it at all.

More than anything, there was just a lack of story to tell. It was mostly a bunch of whining, combined with a series of facts, that just weren't particularly interest
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Eva
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a very quick and enjoyable read. I liked the writing style and the mythology aspect. I had a few problems with the main character Hel though. I found her to be whiny and bitter and hateful. I also had my problems with the love interest. Hel wants to 'steal' a married man because she's in love with him. No, not okay. That is very disrespectful, especially to his wife. Despite those problems, I did really enjoy reading this. ...more
Peter
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this re-imagining of a mythical world, and the writing style.
Dearbhla

A stunning, operatic, epic drama, like no other. Meet Hel, an ordinary teenager - and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair? Hel tries to make the best of it, creating gleaming halls in her dark kingdom and welcoming the dead who she is forced to host for eternity. Until eternity itself is threatened.


Francesca Simon is best known for her Horrid Henry series of books. I never read them, but I know they are hugely popular with children in every library in Ireland, and the UK, and pr

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Sarah
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll start by saying that the cover is beautiful!

I personally didn't enjoy this book so much, mostly because I did not like Hel as a character. i found her selfish and she got on my nerves a bit but, later on, she under went a small character arc and became a slightly more likeable character. The book was peppered with funny moments and other, more likeable characters *cough* Modgud *cough*.

Warning: My fellow Marvel fans, do not, repeat do not picture the character Loki in this book as Tom Hidd
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J.T.  Yorke
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You're expecting me to host you in my hall," I said. 'And not just for a winter, but forever. It is customary to bring gifts to your lord, in thanks for hospitality."
"What hall?" asked Embla. I don't see any hall.
"I'm building one over there,' I said.
"When you've finished the hall we'll talk about gifts," said Embla."




I didn't know what to expect going into this one but it was an amazingly fantastic and quick ride! Hel is the daughter of Loki, cursed to rule the underworld. Do I eve
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Beth Bonini
"Oh, enough local colour. I'm boring myself. Frankly, if you've seen one sulphurous pit, hideous precipice and poisonous, hissing, foaming river you've seen them all."

Francesca Simon is best known for her Horrid Henry stories, beloved by children who delight in naughty narrators and anti-sweetness. This foray into the younger side of YA (12-14) has a contemporary smart-ass tone, despite the setting and characters which are taken from Norse mythology. The protagonist is young Hel - a fourteen yea
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VioletteDoree
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
First, I was sure to enjoy this book, following famous Norse mythological gods around Asgard, Jotunheim and other places but I ended to be really disappointed by the characters, the story and even the writing style.

It could have been a nice Norse tale if written as a short story, instead we have a stodgy 300 pages book full of emptiness. Even the layout makes me think the writer's main goal was to fill the most pages possibles with short phrases, long blank pages and enormous first letter. Even
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Victoria Limbert
While not exactly deep in plot or action The Monstrous Child was fun to read and was full of morals that I think children will pick up on.

Hel is the Daughter of a Giantess and the God Loki. Unfortunately, Loki's spawn seem to come out misshapen, wrong and fated to do terrible things. Except, while Hel is described as having corpse legs the Fates have no future reading for her. She is not destined to harm anyone....and yet she remains hated for her deformity. She is called ugly, she is unwanted,
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Rebecca
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: norse-fantasy
This book, this story, is not just about Hel, the Norse Goddess of the Underworld, it is her story in her words. Full of opinions, thoughts, emotions, dreams and fears, truth and self-deciet.
It is a very gentle almost slow telling of how Hel came to be where she is and it almost mirrors the snail pace of the realm she rules.
But throughout you can sense the young girl behind her giant-god persona, feel her constant self-consciousness about her corpse legs, reel from her anger at the Aesir and in
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Regina Cattus
Aug 05, 2019 rated it liked it
First of all: beautiful cover.
Beyond this, an interesting concept; seeing the course of the world from a rather neglected character in Nordic mythology, Hel. It was indeed quite interesting to see the passing of time and the interplay of other characters from Hel's perspective. I also respected how true to the canon myths the book remained (tbf I'm mainly going by Gaiman's Norse Mythology here).
However, I found the book quite repetitive, with Hel repeating herself in what did not appear to me to
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Tara♥ {MindforBooks}

This confused me. I'm not really sure it knew what it wanted to be. It felt too childish to be YA at times but it was definitely NOT for children. I know the author writes for kids so maybe it's tough to turn that off when you are used to writing for them?

Hel's voice was really strong and I actually did like her but everyone else barely registered. I mean Odin made no impression on me whatsoever. This Odin we are talking about. Odin makes an impression! I did like how she called him 'one-eye' th
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Dawnie
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
This book tried really hard... so hard that you noticed how hard it was trying!

And lets be honest, nobody wants to read a book where you notice how hard it is trying to be good and different and unique. Since that just makes the book frustrating and non of the things it tries so hard to be. Most of the time to me it automatically ends up being a pretty bad book that is clearly has many aspects of other better known books and is anything but unique.


It tries SO hard to be funny and sarcastic. But
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LauraJade
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Some seem to believe this is a sequel or part of a series, but whilst the author has written two other retellings of Norse Myth, it doesn't seem necessary to read them in any sort of order - that's really the beauty of the myths, and this was a great retelling of those myths from a neglected perspective - Hel, Queen of the Dead.

I loved this reimagining of Hel as a petulant and frightened teen, with a wicked sense of humour and a need to be loved. Hel is often portrayed as emotionless and distant
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DonutKnow
It was a bit of a slow start, but sooner or later I warmed up to the protagonist, Hell, because of the way she owned being the bitch of the underworld. I also really appreciate the dedication of the author to keeping it as true as possible to the Norse mythology.

The ending seemed a bit abrupt. I would have really liked to know what happened to Loki and Modgood, but I guess it was just the 'fresh start' kind of ending. It didn't really wow me.

All in all, I loved the protagonist's voice and it's
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Sophia
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book! It was a quick, easy read. I liked the whole aspect of the Greek mythology as I am very into Greek mythology so it really fulfilled me there. I liked the main character obviously there was a little of anger and bitterness with her but could you really blame her? I liked how it was about the life of the goddess of death, it was interesting and I did laugh through it! So all in all a good read I would say.
Bonnie
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This book is based on the Norse Mythology, told from Hel's point of view. It was a gripping novel straight from the first line of the book to the end. I deducted a star because there was a point somewhere in the 50-65% where it seemed like it was beginning to drag on and on but then it picked up again rather quickly until the end so really it should just be a 4.5 star rating in my opinion.
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Francesca Simon grew up in California and attended both Yale and Oxford Universities, where she specialised in Medieval Studies. How this prepared her to write children’s books she cannot imagine, but it did give her a thorough grounding in alliteration.

She then threw away a lucrative career as a medievalist and worked as a freelance journalist, writing for the Sunday Times, Guardian, Mail on Sund
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Other books in the series

Mortal Gods (3 books)
  • The Sleeping Army
  • The Lost Gods

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