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The Monster of Selkirk #1

The Duality of Nature

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Monsters do not hide under the bed on the Island of Selkirk. Monsters haunt the forests in the form of feral elves with knife sharp teeth, vicious talons, and sickly, glowing yellow eyes. For centuries the people of Selkirk have fought these monsters, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. Then, after one such Clearing, a babe is found abandoned in the wreckage.

Tallis only desires a path of her choosing, to live without attention or interference. Along with her friends, she dreams of leaving Kincardine and going where no one knows them, to live unhindered by the prejudice that comes of being poor, an outsider, an orphan. All Tallis needs is enough coin, and she’ll be free. But the monsters have other plans.

Hissing her name like a battle mantra, the elves pour into Kincardine, devouring and burning everything in their path. Fleeing her home in secret, Tallis and her friends must discover why the creatures are so intent on finding her, and stop them from framing her as the real monster of Selkirk.

328 pages, Paperback

First published April 18, 2017

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About the author

C.E. Clayton

13 books243 followers
C. E. Clayton was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area. After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love—writing—and hasn’t stopped. She is the author of young adult fantasy series, “The Monster of Selkirk”, the creator of the cyberpunk Eerden Novels, and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, social media presence, and newsletter, can be found on her website. She'd also be thrilled if you followed her on Instagram and liked her bookish and pet photos, and Amazon where you can get updates on her new releases. And there's always Facebook, if that's your thing.

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Profile Image for ☆Stephanie☆.
342 reviews42 followers
July 12, 2017
Title: The Monster of Selkirk, Book One
Author: C.E. Clayton
Publisher: DevilDog Press, 2017 (April 18)
Genre: YA Fantasy

**I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review**

My Review:

I have to give credit where credit is due…when I agreed to review this book, I didn’t know the cover was so cool. Honestly, you know a lot of indie titles have some cringe-worthy covers…well, this is amazing, tbh. It captures everything in the story without giving away anything throughout the story.

I’m going to be completely honest here: I had forgotten about this title until the author emailed me and asked about my progress. With the move and then my mom getting laid off (yup, that’s right: the trip to Florida is off bc they let her go three days before she was to start there bc “there isn’t any business…can you imagine what would’ve happened to us if we had moved everything to Florida and then she got laid off?) I haven’t been keeping track of my dates…but I digress. As usual.

I’m so glad Clayton emailed me, because this book was so different than what I’m used to. There’s also another to be released and I can’t wait to read it.

I’m telling you, indies are blowing the reg books out of the water!

Let me get to it, and you can tell me what you think:

The book goes chronologically and is told from an Omniscient POV, which was hard to get used to at first, but Clayton does it well. We are brought in during a “Clearing” – a ritual killing of tremps (basically elves that aren’t cute anymore…they’ve gone mad and feral). During this Clearing, a baby gets left behind in the woods…

A woman comes to scavenge the remains of the battle and stumbles across a baby: she is barren but has always wanted a child, so when she finds an abandoned baby girl in the forest, she is thrilled. She takes her home to her husband, a man that’s not exactly happy about raising another’s child. But he wants his wife’s happiness, and she names the girl Tallis.

We see Tallis grow up. She is different than the other children: she is faster and plays like a boy. Her “mother” loves her but her “father” begins to get jealous of Tallis, who steals his wife’s attention…and he grows resentful. Tallis is fair and Noble in appearance, while others around are plain and not bred into beauty, so Tallis gets stared at. The only one willing to spend time with Tallis is her cousin, Donovan. He loves Tallis like a sister and protects her from harm.

As Tallis continues to grow, she notices the stares and feels left out. All she really has is Donovan…and the books in the monastery at night. She is afraid of one day standing at the Bride Block: a place where unmarried women are sold like cattle. It’s a horrifying scene and it reminds Tallis that she must do everything she can to prove her worth and never end up for auction.

When her father asks Tallis to watch her mother during a scavenge, as he is unable to go, she knows she must come back with her mom or face losing the only home she has. However, tremps ambush the two of them and Tallis must go back to her father with her mother’s corpse. There is one thing she doesn’t mention to her father, knowing that it’s as strange as it sounds…
The tremps don’t talk (they never have as a barbaric race)…but they said one word over and over:


Kinda like this to me…but with pointy teeth

When Tallis realizes she’s not her mother and father’s biological child, she readies herself to find answers…why did the tremps stay behind and kill her mother? Why have they been becoming more aggressive? And where does she fit into all of this?
Why did they say her name?

With a band of friends, Tallis goes looking for answers, but hot on her heels are the tremps…and the townsfolk that know all about the only name they continue to whisper…."Tallis."

She is wanted…by humans and elves both.

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes and no…there’s nothing keeping it out of the classroom: no racy business, no swear words, nothing like that. But I have a hard time picturing a lesson plan use for this book. This is more of a Tolkien-esque read: it’s Epic fantasy for sure, spread out over a period of time. It takes a minute to get involved but once you’re involved, you’re INVOLVED. I found it impossible to break away sometimes. I stayed up late to read until I fell asleep sitting up. It was addicting and the writing was so good.

I’d recommend it for outside reading for students who are fans of Tolkien/Galbadon/Martin (bear in mind I’ve never read their work, but with the level of detail and world-building, it’s high fantasy for young adults. So I give The Monster of Selkirk ★★★☆☆ for classroom use.

Yes, you could use it in the curriculum, but there are easier choices. Keep this one recreational as there is a sequel and there could always be more.

Age Range

Now this isn’t going to be on Lexile. It’s just not. So I’m going with my gut here for age range. I would recommend 13 and up, and ensure that the reader is ambitious and dedicated. This is such a rewarding read, but it’s not really one for a reluctant reader. They might feel overwhelmed with the build up and the exposition. This is great for older YA readers. I know I enjoyed it a lot. It carries some romance but not the kind of romance where it’s the end of the world and the couple isn’t paying attention. This is romance is brief glimpses because, hello, they are being chased by evil elves! I don’t think a candlelight dinner would work while you’re being hunted, just sayin.

End Result:

O. M. G. THIS WAS SO GOOD. It has stuck with me for several days (I finished it days ago and I still cannot stop wondering what is going to happen next!

So awesome. Awesome.

Anyway, I read this after Black Dawn and before Hunted, and I still can’t get over it. This book sticks with you. You get to know every character intimately bc of the Omniscient POV, and it ends on an insanely good cliffhanger. Well, not so much a cliffhanger as one of those “Dun dun dun” moments. You know?

So I HAVE TO give The Monster of Selkirk ★★★★★.

Funny, because The Valiant got five stars for classroom use and three stars overall…and this book gets three stars for classroom use and five stars overall…it’s just how it works, bloggerinis! Sometimes a book can be awesome and just not fit into the curriculum, and sometimes a book fits the curriculum perfectly but isn’t quite as awesome of a read. I loved this book, and I can see many YA readers enjoying it as well.

Hopefully as much as I did!

What’s your next book adventure? Mine is writing more reviews bc I’m super-behind!
Profile Image for Priyanka.
186 reviews40 followers
July 14, 2017
Check out http://abooklionshideaway.blogspot.in/ for more reviews.
This is the first book by this author that I read and really enjoyed it! I was confused before starting it as I wasn't quite clear on the concept of this book, but as soon as you get into the book everything starts to become clear.

It starts with Tallis being some days old baby and how she comes to live her adoptive parents and you get to see how she grows up, forms bonds with her cousin Donavan then how she grows and forms bonds of friendship with Rosslyn and Tomas. I really liked how it was shown from the beginning and the roots of relations of Tallis with everyone. Its explained well how the world works, the way the women are treated, education, belief in Woden(God) of people and the monsters.

Soon this foursome has to separate and go on an adventure searching for answers as to who is Tallis and why are the elves behind her. I really liked this unlikely group of people together. Tomas n his own way is strong and Donavan is such a father figure to Tallis. Rosslyn is an amazing friend with some quirks of her own.

It was a nice YA fantasy read but I liked that the characters were more mature. I also liked how the story reveals more and more slowly throughout the book and it's fascinating to read thus keeping you engaged in the story.

*A copy was provided in exchange of honest review*
More reviews can be found on my Blog.
Profile Image for Kathy - Books & Munches.
447 reviews156 followers
October 12, 2017
I read about twenty pages when I was thinking: I'll have to order the sequel. Then I got disappointed because it hasn't been published yet! Twenty pages in, people!
By the time I got at the 100 pages-mark, I was completely sold so I checked Goodreads. Dear Chelscey has apparently written six books for this series already! Now, guess who'll be waiting eagerly to read them all.

It was moments like this he understood why the other children thought her so different. And while they may not have liked Tallis for her eccentricities, Donovan wished his cousin to never change.

I've simply fallen in love with Tallis, Donovan, Rosslyn and Tomas. They each have there charming characteristics.
Where Tallis struggles with being different, having to find out what and who she is exactly and her world is turned upside down, she always has the support of her friends. Even at the hardest times.
Donovan, on the other hand, is everything you could wish for in a big brother - even though he's her 'cousin'. He looks out for her and does everything in his power to protect her. Honestly, everyone would want a brother like that!
Then we have Rosslyn. Honestly, this is the character I could connect best with. Eager to find those who can be her equals or betters so she can learn from them and challenge herself. Because she follows the Galon Sipsiwn - and as such has the Sipsi heart - she does what she wants, when she wants. So you could say I really recognized myself in her.
Then we have Tomas, Ser Soon-To-Be-Brother, whom is the outsider of the group for he hasn't know them that long. You notice how they warm to him, little by little and it's wonderful to see that people can still open their heart to strangers. Especially in a period of loss and distress.

She was holding so many pieces of the puzzle and yet none of them fit together to make a whole picture, and yet, she was somehow in the center of it all.

I've completely lost myself in Chelscey's writing style. She describes Selkirk in a way that transports you there. Yup, I just plunged right in and enjoyed every single moment of it. Pretty sure this is one of those few books I read that I could not pull myself out of. The only thing I wanted to do was to keep on reading.
For an author to do that? A-ma-zing!
I went from feeling giddy, to laughing, to being freaked out - there was a little scary part in there - to feeling the tension of this action-packed story!

Even though the novel didn't end with the bang I was expecting, I'm still eagerly looking forward to the sequel.

If you're craving an action-packed fantasy novel filled with friendship and adventure, I'd say you really have to pick this one up!
Why? Because I'm going to make a statement that I hadn't made yet in any review. The Duality of Nature is going with my all-time favorites and will definitely be reread.

I bow to you, C.E. Clayton, for you have given me a new series to look forward to and completely lose myself in. Even though I read tons of books, this is one of those rare few that succeeded at captivating me completely and I cannot wait to read more!

A very solid 5 / 5!


I received this book as the prize of a giveaway. I’m not being compensated for my honest review in any way.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 24 books550 followers
November 16, 2017
The Monster of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton really surprised me. I'm not sure what I was expecting from the premise, besides wicked elves and what sounded like a historical Scottish setting. What I found was a kick butt heroine who not only knows how to fight (thanks to her Knighted cousin), but a cast of colorful characters in a very grounded fantastical world. Selkirk is actually an island, largely forested, where the humans have kept elves at bay for hundreds of years. Ever since the elves went feral and lost their ability to speak intelligibly, humans have treated them like animals. They even host frequent clearings, destroying the elves homes and killing without mercy. So is it any wonder the elves might decide to fight back?

Our main heroine, Tallis is somewhat unconventional from a small age. Her eyes are a little too big, her hair a little wild, but everyone seems willing to accept her as their own. Her village is poor but this doesn't stop Tallis from soaking in as much she can through books in the nearby abbey, learning how to fight from her cousin Donovan, and causing mischief whenever she gets the chance. From the beginning we can already see hints of what Tallis may become, but this doesn't detract in any way from each reveal.

It's been a while since I've read a story that takes the time to give you backstory like this. As we grow up with Tallis, we are drawn deeper and deeper into Clayton's imagination until we feel every injustice she witnesses just as keenly. Besides Donovan, Tallis draws a makeshift family of her own through her pick-pocket friend Rosslyn and monk-in-training/inventor, Tomas. Everything is set up for a hero's journey and we know we will see these characters see Tallis through to the inevitable end.

I can't say more without giving away spoilers for the book, but suffice to say, this was a privilege to read. Not only am I anxious to read the sequel, but I would highly recommend this series for fans of Shannara Chronicles and The Wheel of Time Series.
Profile Image for The Book Junkie Reads . . ..
4,813 reviews140 followers
November 15, 2017
One fantastic YA Fantasy read that gave me monsters and more monsters on the island nation of Selkirk. I was not bored or lulled by the well-written, intricately developed characters and the world building was phenomenal. The words on the page weaved a tale that was exciting, adventurous, humbling, self-aware, self-discovery and more. Tallis was a great lead character. I found her fascinating. Donovan gained lots of points if for no other reason than he loved her and wanted to protect her. There are moments of pain, sorrow, fear, sadness, loss, confusion.

Tallis finds that her life has a completely different path than she could have very dreamed of. She finds herself on a path to get the answers missing from her life. She losses much but sets out to find more. She does not travel alone. Friendship. Trust. Respect. Answers.

I believe that if you loved the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, or other dark young adult fantasy with adventure and a journey of self-discovery. You would find a kinship with this one. It is currently the first book of the series, but it was so worth the time it took to read this one. I would not classify this as a YA that would be universal. I feel that young adult that reads this needs a more mature level of thinking than you typical youngster.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 2 books10 followers
December 27, 2017
I found this book at a Meet-the-author event. I didn't really intend on buying it, but i am glad I did. It was a great page-turner, and I really loved the characters. My favorite is Tallis. She is a total bad @$$, and very relatable. To be honest, I wish they had written more because i didn't want to stop reading it. I am glad to know that there is a sequel that just got released, so i plan to get that next (probably on Kindle). Keep up the amazing work!!
Profile Image for Melissa.
160 reviews6 followers
January 7, 2018
I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review

The Duality of Nature is the first book in the new epic fantasy series The Monster of Selkirk by C.E. Clayton. Written in third person the book has several point-of-view characters it switches between throughout the story. The change from one point-of-view character to the next is done by use of a spacer (----) and by starting new chapters; because of this the switch is smooth and causes no confusion. The writing is very well done and the characters are interesting and well developed.

C.E. Clayton's first book in The Monster of Selkirk series is constructed with thoughtful and intriguing world building that will grab your interest from the very beginning. The story is well-paced and has enough action to keep you reading to the end.

Don't let the beginning of the book intimidate you with its use of new language. There are only a few words you need to learn the meaning of and their meanings are made very clear through context and point-of-view character thoughts. The names of the characters and places are easy to remember and pronounce (unlike in some fantasy books).

This coming of age fantasy story's main character is a young woman named Tallis. Tallis is of mysterious origins (found as a baby in the forest after a Tremp Clearing), beautiful, intelligent, and possesses unearthly agility. As she grows she finds her beauty and intellect cause jealousy and because of this she is treated as an outsider by the rest of the town. This story follows Tallis from childhood, where she discovers her love of knowledge and weapon training, to womanhood, as she embarks on a quest to discover exactly who she is and how she connects to the secrets of the forest.

Tallis is the main character but she has three friends of note who accompany her on her adventure. One is her cousin, a knight with strong values and honor who would do just about anything for his younger cousin. Her best friend, a young fun loving pickpocket, who belongs to one of the nomadic forest clans. And Tomis, a young initiate at the Brotherhood who's exceptional intelligence and creativity make him a misfit in the monastery.

I really enjoyed this book, and am definitely looking forward to reading the next one. This story is part of a series and does end on a cliff-hanger.

Recommended to fans of epic fantasy, strong female characters, and well-crafted world building
Profile Image for Sam.
845 reviews25 followers
October 25, 2018
4.5 stars

I picked this book up based on the gushing review from my book blogger friend Kathy (Books & Munches), and I'm really glad I did. Though I thought the book took a little while to really get going--there was a lot of introducing us to the characters, their way of life, and their homeland, the rest of the story was an interesting quest with a fun group of young adults. I will probably read the second book next month, and the third one was recently released. So I very much look forward to reading the rest of this series. I really enjoy the dark depiction of elves here, and I think it will just get more interesting as I read more.
Profile Image for Paige.
1,696 reviews73 followers
July 17, 2017
Rating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy

Recommended Age: 16+ (some mature and depressing scenes. Some triggering scenes).

Favorite Quote: “Tallis is a beautiful and terrible thing. Fearsome and alluring. Just like the forest in many ways... but it's written all over that handsome, pale face of yours; you like her.”

Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries, until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest. 

As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn't like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends. 

But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis's name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland. - Amazon

I was presented with a free ebook copy of this book in exchange for promoting the book on my blog and for review purposes. This did not sway my opinion of this book in any manner.

I'm back you guys! And with another exciting review of a book that I became so swept away with! When I read the premise of this book I knew it was going to be good... I just never imagined how good it would be! I fell completely in love with this book. The characters were all very well developed and had interesting backstories and quirks about them, the makeup of the core characters did not have the traditional roles one would expect them to possess in a story like this, and they all failed at points. While none of us like to read about failure or loss, it makes the characters more human and makes the reader cheer for them even harder. I could go on and on about how well developed every single character in this book is, but I'll just leave it at this: I believed at times I was reading a book penned by Terry Brooks. Thats how well done this book is. Aside from that, I also felt the plot was very well developed and the pacing was steady. The story actually begins a bit before the events of what the excerpt talks about and the story isn't fast paced or forced. The writing isn't hard to read or understand as well.

The only bad thing about it is that when you have to put down the book I found myself having to read back a few pages to try and jog my memory as to what's going on... However I am just coming back from a trip and I'm not getting a lot of sleep so maybe it's more than likely just an issue with me and not the book. Overall I think this was a wonderful book to begin a series with and I'M SO EXCITED FOR THE NEXT BOOK!!!
Profile Image for Tyffany.
Author 6 books70 followers
October 17, 2018
Arg. I'm still eyeballing this book, because the ending left me going whhhhaaaa?! I need more! Alright. Focus up. Write a review. ;)

Sooo I immediately fell in love with Tallis. She's kind of a badass and I'm here for it. But she's emotional and confused, and just wants to be accepted and I'm fairly sure all of us can relate to that. It just makes her that much more of an awesome character. Plus the world around her, and her own personal story arc, are so interesting! I'm dying to learn more about her and see how it ties into the Elven/human war. Because there's a lot going on in this world!

That aside, I think my favorite was Tomas. He's the absolute sweet little cinnamon roll character that I gravitate toward and I couldn't get enough of his awkward charm.

Love of characters aside, the overarching story is fascinating. Clayton has built a world where humans and elves no longer peacefully co-exist and even now I'm still pondering all of the possibilities, and I finished the book like an hour ago. xD Every little detail from the people snubbing Tallis, to her interactions with her family and then her friends, to the animal's, really built up the plotline—nothing felt like it wasn't contributing.

My only downside was I did feel like the world was a tad dense, or repetitive, at times and I found my attention wandering. That said, the world really did feel alive and I appreciated the length's Clayton went to in regards to painting an accurate picture of her world. I don't find myself questioning anything in her worldbuilding, and that's so important in fantasy <3

tl;dr: The Monster of Selkirk is a living world with fantastic characters and I absolutely can't wait to continue! <3
Profile Image for Bunny theshybooks.
30 reviews98 followers
June 24, 2017
The Monster Of Selkire by C.E. Clayton
Devil Dog Press
Summary | Goodreads
4 Stars | My Rating
Review | Spoil Free

I was sent this book for review by the author but it will be my honest opinion as always. Thank you so much C.E. Clayton for sharing your book with me.

“Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one.”
-C.E. Clayton

I am giving this book 4 stars! I really enjoyed reading this. It is like a journey book…going on a journey to find answers. If you don’t care for books or series like that then this won’t be for you BUT if you are all about going on a journey with the characters and learning everything slowly with them then this is series for you.
A book of mysteries! You will be left wondering who the real monster is.
The writing style is wonderful! It is simple but lovely. I have to talk about how we get point of views from all of the main characters! I think that it is great that the author did this since they are going on this journey. We get to see it from all sides.
One of the reasons I won’t be giving it a full 5 stars is because I wish there was more funny and witty dialogue between the characters. Lastly, I also wish we got more answers about what is going on but I have high hopes for the 2nd book, more world building.
Overall, I love the story and I am excited to see where the plot is going. The plot kind of reminds me of Lords of the Rings mix with Uprooted by Naomi Novik. It is a good opening book into a series and I am hoping for more as the series goes on. So, please give this book a go!
Profile Image for Melissa (thereaderandthechef).
529 reviews169 followers
September 20, 2019
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

*Thanks to the author & MTMC Tours for the review copy! This review can also be found on The Reader & The Chef.*

The Daulity of Nature was a fun read! Reminiscent of beloved fantasy tales, this action-packed story is full of adventure, friendship, and yes, feral elves!

This first installment in the Monster of Selkirk series follows the life of Tallis, who was found and rescued in a forest after a Clearing to drive away the elves from their borders. The couple that found her raised her as their own, but while Tallis’ adoptive mother loved her unconditionally, her adoptive father barely tolerated her presence since there was something “off” about her.

However, Tallis’ father wasn’t the only one to think this way, the rest of her small town made her an outcast, and thus, she found refuge in the books she loved to read at night at a nearby monastery and by playing and practicing fighting skills with her only cousin, Donovan.

I enjoyed the way this book is told since we follow along Tallis’ childhood to her teen years. We see her grow from a happy and overactive child, to a young woman desperate to find her place in this world. Her aversion to be raised just to be sold off on the Bride Block drives her to work harder and make coin, to later make a life of her own and also make her parents proud. This leads her to develop a wonderful friendship with Rosslyn who loves to pick pockets and live a free life.

Tallis may not have many friends as an outcast, but the people who matter and she befriends along the way make up for it all. The friends she makes along the way help her out tremendously on her journey of self-discovery, for the times come when she has to leave her home and hunt down the elves that took the life of her mother and whisper her name when they are known to have lost the ability to communicate for several years.

I must admit, there were times when this book was confusing with the way it is written, and it’s truly a more of a tell rather than showing kind of book, but after getting used to the omniscient writing style and getting to know the characters a bit more, the story was entertaining to read about and quite a fantastical journey that leaves a lot of room to explore in the following sequels!
7 reviews
June 20, 2017
This is a wonderful example of fantasy fiction with a strong female lead. It follows the life of Tallis and her group of friends as Tallis sets off to discover who she is while being chased down by evil feral elves...which is a great twist on elvish-lore. These are not your friendly "Lord of the Rings" style elves! The overall vibe is medieval Europe but with enough new elements to make it feel like a new but realistic world. The characters are complex but relatable. Even though it is a fantasy-setting, the things Tallis and her friends go through sets up a nice coming of age story that a large range of readers can easily understand. There is the start of a love story, but very 'crush-like' and it does not over-power the plot-line or action. This is clearly the start of a series, and so this book ends on a somewhat of a cliff-hanger...it's more about unfinished business. However, there is plenty of story and character development that is covered, so you don't feel as though things are just starting when the story stops. At the end, there is a teaser of book two paired with an awesome cover image, and I AM SO IN!! I can't wait to see where this series goes from here.
799 reviews4 followers
November 3, 2019
One of my all time favorite TV shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Besides the tension of will they won't they between Buffy and sexy vampire Angel, there is the fierce friendship between Buffy and her Scooby gang of slayer helpers. As I got into the depth of this book I felt butterflies in my stomach as I realized that our heroine, Tallis, is the Buffy of Selkirk and Thomas, Donovan and Rosslyn are her Scooby gang.

Tallis was found abandoned in the forest that is inhabited by feral elves but she is human. Her adoptive parents, Jon and Lana, have been unable to conceive a child so Tallis is a blessing to them. As she grows up she is unlike the other children. She is eager to learn and read, she can feel the emotions of the trees in the forest, and she is sharp with a sword at a young age more so than most knights.

When the feral elves leave the forest after hundreds of years of peace the villagers blame Tallis because it is her name that they are chanting as they look for a fight with the humans. With only her friends having her back, Tallis must find a way to save Selkirk and prove to everyone she is not their enemy or a monster.

The very first page of this fantasy grabs your attention and never lets go of it. I was an instant believer of this world. The writing is crisp and direct. There is no ambivalence in its descriptions of the characters or the scene settings. I cared so much about Tallis and was rooting for her throughout the book. It reminded me when I was reading Harry Potter and was always hoping he would be okay in his crazy world.

This book is the first in a series. The story continues and I don't consider Book I a stand alone novel. I will be reading the next book in the series, The Monster Of Selkirk, The Heart of the Forest , Book II. I am team Tallis and the Scooby gang or, in this case, the Selkirk gang.

I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kirstian.
66 reviews61 followers
January 30, 2019
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Yay, more fantasy genre!!!! A bit on the darker side (not by much) but still fantasy, nonetheless. This is my first read and review of 2019 review, so it makes sense that I would pick something from my most beloved genre.

Now on to the important part.

In The Duality of Nature, we meet Tallis, a girl that doesn’t quite fit in and begins to notice as she gets older. After an attack by the Tremps (feral elves), Tallis realizes that her life is not what she thought it to be and must go on a journey with her friends to learn the truth about who she is and to clear her name.

I grew very attached to Tallis and her friends while reading this book. You think I would have learned not to do this by now, but I guess I will never learn. Let’s hope this series doesn’t leave me heartbroken like the others before it. Donovan is the wonderful big brother most people wish they could have. (Don’t hurt this amazing creature, I beg you!) The rest of Tallis’ friends are no less spectacular!

At first, I found the beginning a bit hard to fall into but after going a bit further I was pulled in by a current that would not let go. Clayton’s writing completely submerges you into the fantasy world she has created, and you happily drown yourself in her words as you take it all in. Now on to that ending. I was not prepared and would like book 2 immediately! Why must such amazing books do these things to me? My poor heart can’t take much of this suspense.

Case in point, The Duality of Nature is a spectacular read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys getting lost in another world.
Profile Image for Kristina.
30 reviews4 followers
October 26, 2017
I found the world C.E. Clayton created for this book really fascinating. The descriptions are vivid, and I didn’t have any trouble imagining the settings and backdrops for the characters. The timeline for the book begins when the main characeter, Tallis, is a child. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. I feel like it helped in understanding why she feels the way she does later on in the book, and it also gives insight to other great characters that she grows up with that stay relevant throughout the book. Tallis herself is a strong, willful female lead. She is equal parts confident and innocent, which we see develop along the way. Donovan is every bit the protective older cousin, and his bickering with the carefree Rosslyn I thought was realistic considering how different they are. Tomas is such a lovable character and I found myself really rooting for him, his ingenuity and his sweet personality made him a favorite of mine! I’m a big fan of character development, and C.E. Clayton made sure that each character had their own growth within the first book, and it makes me really excited for the second!

The story itself I really enjoyed. The idea of feral elves and humans coexisting is exciting itself, so with the added questions around Tallis’s history and why it’s making the elves change made it a book I couldn’t put down! I highly recommend The Monster of Selkirk, and get ready for the sequel The Monster of Selkirk: Heart of the Forest coming soon!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for S.M. Boren.
Author 1 book11 followers
May 4, 2018
I purchased this book from Amazon to read with @halflostbutterflyreadalong. All opinions are my own. 🌟🌟🌟🌟 The Monster of Selkirk Book 1 The Duality of Nature by C E Clayton. This book started out slow for me. The details are so very descriptive and it took a few chapters to really capture me. However, in all honesty if the details were not present you wouldn't feel the story the way you should. And you need those details to understand how the characters develop. Every detail of every animal and tree in that forest gives the spooky, doomed feeling in order to understand the characters position and the reasons behind the choices they make. The story line is great and you can't help but root for Tallis and her small group as they progress through the story. Review also posted on Instagram @borenbooks, Library Thing, Go Read, Goodreads/StacieBoren, Amazon, Twitter @jason_stacie and my blog at readsbystacie.com
Profile Image for just.one.more.paige.
940 reviews21 followers
July 14, 2017
This review was originally published on the book review blog justonemorepaige.wordpress.com.

This book is exactly the type that I love, with great high fantasy elements and a fantastic group of friends at the center. This one definitely leans towards young adult, but there are certain parts of it that are handled much more maturely and I appreciated and enjoyed that quite a bit. Plus, the general pacing, plot development, and character growth and interactions were written, for the most part, in a non-typical format for this genre that must be respected for it's level of reality.

Tallis has grown up particularly poor and on the sidelines in a small that that is itself poor and on the sidelines. But with an air of "different" about her, a mysterious past that she is just coming to know about herself, the disdain and dismissal of her father, a tragedy involving her mother, the slow accumulation of a few close friends, Tallis' life is not destined to take a normal path. When the feral elves, called tremps, that live in the woods surrounding her town attack, hissing Tallis' name, she and her friends decide it's time to find some answers.     

As I
Profile Image for Shalini | Book Rambler.
316 reviews100 followers
September 10, 2019
I loved Tallis and her character arc from a child to a woman. While she struggles with being different, she has the support of her friends: Rosslyn, her cousin Donovan and Ser Soon-to-be Brother Tomas. Even though I initially struggled with the writing style, I was quickly pulled into the world of Selkirk and I was so engrossed in their journey. There was ample world-building but not too descriptive as this is the first book in the series. The ending left me a tad disappointed as it didn’t shock me as much as I would’ve wanted but I am still eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you love epic fantasy with sword-weilding girls, beautiful friendship, and action-packed scenes!
Profile Image for Kate Swed.
Author 35 books49 followers
November 27, 2019
Really enjoyed this richly drawn epic fantasy! Tallis is an intriguing character, and I can't wait to see where the rest of the series takes her...
Profile Image for Mr Pink Ink.
293 reviews20 followers
July 7, 2019
How pretty is this cover?!? *HEARTEYES*

I absolutely loved this book and I am definitely diving into the next one really soon!

The writing is easy to read and the characters are really great!

Find my full review here.
Profile Image for Jennifer Billings.
220 reviews4 followers
August 17, 2019
This is a great read and I cant wait to read more!. The premise is so original and different. I love paranormal fantasy stuff and I will be reading more from this author! High recommend
2 reviews
May 24, 2017
Characters to root for and a intriguing mystery

Fans of fantasy will appreciate the world of Selkirk and the tale of Tallis. While some elements are recognizable, there are unique twists that kept me engaged in the story and super eager to read the next book in this series.
Profile Image for Jessica Earl.
180 reviews4 followers
May 30, 2018
A fun YA Hobbit-like story full of adventure and mystery
Profile Image for Christin.
47 reviews1 follower
July 30, 2019
This is a VERY good book! It really pulls you in! Also the characters are just amazing!
Profile Image for Roxie Prince.
Author 9 books63 followers
October 23, 2017
Read this review and more on my blog at [Roxie Writes].

‘The Monster of Selkirk: Book 1: The Duality of Nature’ by C.E. Clayton
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
Finished on October 19, 2017
$.99 on Kindle | $12.99 in Paperback

For three centuries, a race of feral elves has tormented the nation of Selkirk. Humans have learned to live with them, using something they call a Clearing every four years to push them back from their borders and help keep themselves safe. It has worked, but after one Clearing, a woman finds a baby in the forest.

She takes this baby home, names her Tallis, and raises her as her own. But as Tallis grows, it becomes apparent she isn’t quite like the other children. It makes the other children — and her father — leery of her, and she lives a lonely life always wanting nothing but to fit in.

When the elves start to gather their forces and begin emerging from the forest hissing Tallis’ name, it becomes abundantly clear that Tallis will never have a normal, quiet life. She and her companions have no choice but to embark on a quest to stop the elves and to figure out why she is the central figure in their rampage.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a GREAT book. A GREAT series. I wish I could give it more than five stars on Goodreads/Amazon because it deserves it. It’s among my favorite books read this year, for sure.
Clayton has built a lovely, vibrant, and wide world here in this book. Right from the start, you feel like you’re enveloped in a real place, and never once do you doubt if it could be real. That’s hard to do in fantasy.

The same can be said for her characters. Every single one of them is alive and unique and three-dimensional. They each have their own beautiful and ugly qualities, just like real-life people.
Tallis, while ever the heroine, as typical for this genre, is incredibly well-rounded. She stumbles and falls, but she doesn’t do it in a way that is hokey or trite. She’s the light in the story — the character who brings everyone together because she sees the good in people, almost to a fault, like even in her father who she still wants to see even when he has continually turned his back on her again and again and again. Her three friends are vastly different and would probably never be friends if it weren’t for Tallis’ uniting influence.

Donovan is Tallis’ rock, and it’s fitting he’s the knight. He’s both strong in strength and in heart. Without Donovan, who knows if she would have made it through her early life. While he is often stubborn on their journey, he is always tender when it comes to Tallis, and it’s heartwarming and sweet.

Tomas is a sensitive, intelligent heart who teaches Tallis that she’s not so different after all. He brings out the real humanity in her that she thinks she can never truly have, and I love that about him

Rosslyn is probably my favorite character. She’s the perpetual free spirit, governed only by her Galon Sipsiwn but, still, she’s forever loyal to Tallis because she loves her. I love her sense of humor. It provides the perfect counterbalance to the serious nature of the rest of this novel.
I absolutely cannot wait to read the rest of this series. I eagerly await the release of the upcoming third book (and possibly more?!), and when it is released, it will be bumped to the top of my reading list. If you’re a fan of fantasy, pick this up. And if you’re not typically, pick it up anyway. Try something new. Expand your horizons. It’s good for you.
Profile Image for Majanka.
Author 81 books410 followers
January 1, 2019
Book Review originally published here: http://www.iheartreading.net/book-tou...

Growing up, I loved books like Robin Hobb’s fantasy works, The Magician series by Raymond E. Feist, The Shannara Chronicles by Terry Brooks… But it’s been a while since I’ve read books that reminded me of these classics. That is, until I read The Monster of Selkirk Book 1: The Duality of Nature. This is the first book I’ve read in years that had a similar epic feel.

The characters are phenomenal. They’re unique, entertaining, they have genuine feelings and emotions, background stories and habits. My favorite one is Tallis, the main character, who struggles with how different she is from everyone else. Luckily she makes some friends who accept her for who she is, and who are willing to put everything on the line to save her.

The writing style pulled me in right from the start, the world-building was top notch, allowing the reader to dive into a fantasy world without feeling overwhelmed by the technicalties or politics of this world, and the plot is so fast-paced, so unpredictable, that once you start reading, you just have to read until the end. Even if that means, like in my case, reading until two in the morning.

I recommend this book to all fans of fantasy novels with elves, kick-ass characters and excellent writing. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

(Also, I’m totally in love with the cover, and it fits the story so well!)
Profile Image for Lilivette.
288 reviews23 followers
July 12, 2019
*I received an e-arc of the first two book of this series thanks to a blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Through the story that comes to life in The Duality of Nature, we get to meet Tallis, a girl who was found as a baby in the ruins of what used to be a trempt camp by a lovely couple. As the story continues, we get to see her grow from a baby to a pretty young woman that can't seem to fit in with the people of Kincardine. Everyone except her family and her friends saw her differently because of her looks and the way she acted, but it was nothing extreme. Not until the trempts arrived and started attacking while hissing her name. One of my favorite things about this book were its twists and turns. They were wild and unexpected and I loved how they pushed the story forward and made things even more intense than they already were. Another thing I loved was the atmosphere of the story. It was dark and tense and it kept getting worse, but it also had its light moments, especially when Tallis was with her cousin Donovan and her friends Ross and Tomas on their way to the safety of the capital city. But my favorite thing of it all was how almost every question that comes up about what happened to the elves and the way the different cities reacted to them had either an answer or a theory. In other words, it doesn't leave you hanging and waiting for answers you'll get in the next few books as if they weren't important.

Now if you're wondering about the writing, I'm going to admit that it was actually pretty good. Why? Well, mostly because it doesn't drown you with info-dumps and actually manages to keep your attention glued to the pages. The only thing that didn't really work for me was the pace of the story. I felt like things moved way too slow around some parts, especially during the beginning of Tallis's story.  Thankfully, the story manages to pick up its pace easily and it just grabs you from then on—even if it does drag a little around the middle too. As Tallis and her friends journey towards the safety of the capital we mostly get to spend our time between Kincardine, camp or city ruins, and the forest so there's not much to say about the places we get to visit. They were intriguing and interesting, yes, but that was it. I personally didn't get to find them that memorable, except for Kincardine and what the poor people of the city did with their daughters in order to survive. But that was pretty much it.

We may not get to meet a bunch of character as Tallis and her friends journey through the forest, but you can say that the ones we do get to meet are more than enough. Besides Tallis, Rosslyn, Donovan and Tomas, we get to meet Tallis's adoptive family and see their struggles as her mother loved her but her father...not so much. We also get to meet some of the brothers from Tomas's order and see how they tried teaching the kids but didn't actually loved it, and the way their lessons shaped Tallis's curiosity about the world and books. Rosslyn's family also makes an appearance as we get to know more about her, the clan they used to be part of and their customs. And last but not least, we get to meet few other characters that at firs look like they're meaningless but end up pretty important at the end of the story because they finally appear and decide to take action.

In the end, The Duality of Nature by C. E. Clayton ended up being a dark and intriguing read that managed to keep me thinking and wondering from beginning to end about the trempts and their possible connection to Tallis. Maybe I didn't love the pace but I did get to enjoy the story and the characters either way. If you're looking for your next YA dark fantasy read, then you might want to add this one to your list!
Profile Image for Jacqueline Patterson.
81 reviews12 followers
July 8, 2019
OK, so I’m upset right now because I don’t have book 2. 😜
The beginning might be a little slow for impatient readers, but it builds an important foundation for the rest of the book (and I assume the series). There’s so much I want to say, but SPOILERS!
In short:
•unique twist of a fantasy world
•the protagonist has a dark past that roused my curiosity
•I had a nightmare about the tremps!
•you had me at tree magic
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