Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Monsters We Deserve” as Want to Read:
The Monsters We Deserve
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Monsters We Deserve

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  780 ratings  ·  181 reviews

'Do monsters always stay in the book where they were born? Are they content to live out their lives on paper, and never step foot into the real world?'

The Villa Diodati, on the shore of Lake Geneva, 1816: the Year without Summer. As Byron, Polidori, and Mr and Mrs Shelley shelter from the unexpected weather, old ghost stories are read and new ghost stories imagined. B

Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 1st 2019 by Head of Zeus (first published September 6th 2018)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Monsters We Deserve, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Rebecca I preordered through Book Depository ( I have a few favourite authors whose books are only published in the UK and Book Deposi…moreI preordered through Book Depository ( I have a few favourite authors whose books are only published in the UK and Book Depository is the best source. Free worldwide shipping!(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  780 ratings  ·  181 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Monsters We Deserve
Sean Barrs
Creative, witty, and philosophical, The Monsters We Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick is a rather unusual book, but, nevertheless, it’s rather brilliant.

This is a novel, and it isn’t a novel. This is a literary essay, and it isn’t a literary essay. It’s a book about how books are written (and how monsters are born.) It sounds like a odd combination doesn’t it? It works though, strangely enough.

It’s about a horror writer who is undertaking some soul searching. He’s fed up of writing stories that simply
4.5/5. An author (who I'm 95% sure is Marcus Sedgwick himself) retreats to a secluded house in the Alps to write and reflect. He feels haunted by a book he dislikes, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and the legacy it has left behind, plus, he feels increasingly disturbed by his growing suspicion that the house is not what it seems. What ensues is a (sort of) ghost story mixed with metafictional musings on authorship, authority and authorial responsibility. I don't think it's a book that everyone wou ...more
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
My thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for a review copy of this one.

This is a very strange little book. I put in a request for it because essentially of the themes that the description said it dealt with, of Mary Shelley, and Frankenstein; of the thought processes that go into imagination, into creation, into reading and writing. And it certainly is about that, but just not in a way I’d expected or imagined. Our author or at least an author (still not sure whether this is meant to be the autho
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Monsters We Deserve' is a book that pays homage to Mary Shelley's gothic masterpiece 'Frankenstein' which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. It's certainly a well judged move by the author/publisher to release this just as we've moved into Autumn in the UK and heading towards Halloween. Sedgwick's writing is beautiful and conjures up a glorious atmosphere that lasts the duration of the novel. His lyrical, brutal prose is alluring, and I couldn't stop thinking about the story wh ...more
Renee Godding
The Monsters We Deserve is part literary essay, part novel, part something else entirely. It's about writing, about creating and the relationship between writer and characters (creator and creation). As such, its a very meta piece of literature.
It's also very ”stream of conciousness” in tone, which was where the majority of my disconnect began. Generally this style can be hit or miss for me, and this book wasn't much different.

I really struggled with this one, to the point where I'm not even s
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I received a free ebook version of this one from Netgalley. Thankyou to both Head of Zeus and Netgalley for allowing me to read this! My review is still honest.

I don’t know how to review this. The Monsters We Deserve is alike Sedgwick’s other works in that there is a deep, philosophical, subtle message beneath the beautiful writing-but I’m not sure I fully got it.
The Monsters We Deserve follows an unnamed author who is spending time high in the mountains attempting to write a novel. While there,
Alice (Married To Books)
I borrowed a copy of this book from my boyfriend!

3.5 out of 5 stars!

I met Marcus in 2014 after the release of his work She Is Not Invisible. Wondering what his writing style was like almost four years after meeting him, I can honestly say that The Monsters We Deserve is a strange but very creepy book. Tying back into the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, an author away on a break in the French Alps starts experiencing some paranormal activity to him during writing process for a new novel. Th
Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー
3,4 stars

Review to come. Ironically, I felt that although this book's main plot was dissecting and ripping apart what the author deems a "shoddy piece of work" - Frankenstein - I feel like his own book is the problem here.

This was such a fresh take on horror and I was so excited. I've really been let down by this one.

Image result for mary wollstonecraft shelley
Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taut, tense, and immersive. And unique. Written in a sort of easily accessible stream of consciousness, the story delves into the act of creation and relationship between the author and his work.

The narrator broods on the role of monsters and horror in our culture while dissecting Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. He hates the book, for he sees it as badly written and plagued with unwelcome biases. And yet, what starts to immerse throughout the narrative may change his point of view significantly.

rebecca ☕️
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
sadly not what i expected.
Rebecca Crunden
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic, horror

About two pages into this book, I came across a quote that I wanted to leave in my review and put a post-it on the page; about five pages later, I put another post-it. This kept happening and now my book is full of bright orange post-it notes of wonderful quotes and I want to use them all. But alas, I'd probably end up quoting the whole bloody book.

But this is definitely one of my favourites:

Yet every writer worth a good-god damn knows this too, for it is graven into each of us: no o
Callum McLaughlin
Part novel and part literary essay, this is a fascinating and incredibly meta book. It explores the relationship between art and artist; the blurred lines between the two, and how much one is responsible for creating the other. It also looks at the relationship between writer and reader; suggesting that a story is unfinished until it is read; that since we all impart our own meaning, stories belong to each individual reader as much as they do the writer. These thought-provoking, eloquently put i ...more
George (BuriedInBooks)
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Hi everyone and welcome to my first review in a while!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher on Netgalley.
I was really excited to read and review this one as I’ve just read another of Marcus’s short stories called ‘Killing The Dead’.

The Monsters We Deserve is a absolutely stunning book as I now own a hardback edition which is full of beautiful black and white illustrations which help add atmosphere to the novel.
The main protagonist of the novel is Marcus Sedgwick himself as he
Jun 03, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Congratulations, you have managed an incredible feat. You have managed to write the worst book I have ever read. I write this review to warn others who consider reading this: don’t waste your time. Never in my life before has a book made me so infuriated.

It’s an impressive talent, to be able to make me dislike a book from the first page. Even from the beginning, it is evident how desperately the author is trying to seem deep, to the point of sounding almost incoherent. The things discussed thro
Greyson | Use Your Words
Trigger Warnings:Talk of the death of a child, descent into madness??

The book that made me want to actually read Frankenstein for myself.

Something else: it has always struck me as troubling that the words in books are printed in black and white, when life is anything but. The binary colour of words on a page give the sense of simplicity and clarity. But life doesn’t work like that. And neither should a good story. A good story ought to leave a little grey behind, I think.

The Monste
Kayleigh Brindley
Let's start with a confession: I chose this book because of the cover, and can you blame me? The illustrations inside are beautifully done and alongside the formatting make this book an immersive experience.

So, going into this book I had literally no clue what to expect only that it was supernatural fiction, and I only know that because it was one of the books featured on the supernatural panel at the NYALitFest.

Whilst the genre on Goodreads categorises this as a horror, I wouldn't particularly
Lotje vn
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I picked up this book because it looked quite interesting. If I had read beforehand what this book was about, I probably would have put it on my shelve and not look at it again. However, I ended up really enjoying it and finishing it in one evening.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Wiebke (1book1review)
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a quick read, scary at times and thought-provoking at others.
I loved the writing style, the narrative choices and the way it made me think about Frankenstein and the relationship between book, author and reader.

While you don't have to have read Frankenstein to follow the book you should be aware that it will spoil it, if you haven't.
A writer heads to the middle of nowhere in Switzerland where he is haunted by the bleakness of the area and Mary Shelley. This was not the horrorfest I was expecting but the writing is beautiful in its starkness. Plus there are some lovely illustrations.
Kate Yates
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unusual story - would be good to read straight after Mary Shelley's Frankenstein which this book is centred on.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
This book. Wow. This book will stary with me for a while. I think it's horror? But not quite in a way I'd describe the genre, it creeps on you slowly, but you're not really scared. Just intrigued!
Awesome writing style.
Dan Thompson
I have a great fondness for Marcus Sedgwick’s books. I find myself excited for the next new release, but more and more recently, I discover they are somewhat disappointing.

I have to admit that I didn’t really know what expect from The Monsters We Deserve. It’s a book that’s hard to classify or put into a genre. And I guess Sedgwick intended that all along - for in the book he wants to distance himself away from the horror genre, but I guess that’s the closest thing it could be classed as.

"I am suddenly aware of the space of the house; the air it occupies and which occupies it, of the hanging weight of it, high up here at five thousand feet, and the empty night rising out of the ground as dusk arrives in the mountains, and down in the gorge, ringing chasms throat roaring water into fathomless depths, unseen by Mortals and all but the bravest of beasts, while I sit and converse with a woman long dead."

The synopsis and cover of this book were very intriguing to me, so I had to pick
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Huh. What a strange read. A beautiful book, aesthetically pleasing with photos and drawings inside. A bit eerie, a lot of weird. Makes me want to write weird horror stories and play with words. I kind of don't want to say anything about it, other than it was unusual and I like unusual. It takes skill to write such confusing things and make it good, odd, eerie.
I have a hard time choosing between 3 or 4 stars. I'm in a good mood though, so I'll let the 3,5 turn into a 4. (Mostly because I'm impre
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, the design of this book is beautiful. It fits perfectly with the story and really adds to the thing as a whole.

The chapters are short, some almost like poetry. Every word fits, and it is a very spherical story. It gave me chills even in this heatwave, and I found myself wishing I could've read it during winter, snow falling outside as I read it, with a cup of hot tea in a cabin in the woods.

Sedgwick doesn't only create a story, but a finished product with this book. It's dark, spoo
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don’t have the words. This was beautiful and painful all at once - in the best way possible. I was so enthralled by the interesting narrative approach that I finished it in one sitting and will definitely read over and over again. So many words of wisdom and so much reflection of what it takes to write and to write well. Sedgwick gave us stunning metaphors, apt philosophies and still managed to tell a story of responsibility and the fragility of perception amongst that of Mary Shelley’s Franke ...more
Emily Price
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always with Marcus the imagery he creates in his writing can be all consuming and gets into your bones.

Isolated, snowy backdrops are built up with depressive language and builds a picture of fear and second guessing what you see out of the corner of your eye.

The layout of the book is especially beautiful and leads to quick reading with the black pages and a few dark, simple illustrations here and there.

A story about living with what we create and a look into the story of Frankenstein and i
Helen Mears
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book about writing, a book about creating and a book about another book, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. These elements weave into a stream of consciousness meta-narrative about monsters. Unusual and intriguing.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lark
  • October, October
  • Paper Avalanche
  • High-rise Mystery
  • The Vanishing Trick
  • And the Ocean Was Our Sky
  • Diary of a Confused Feminist
  • Tinder
  • The Deathless Girls
  • The Betrayals
  • The Night Bus Hero
  • Idle Hands
  • We Are Blood and Thunder (We Are Blood and Thunder #1)
  • Pine
  • Plague
  • I Am Legend
  • Just Another Little Lie
  • The Dam
See similar books…
Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Hea ...more

Related Articles

Karen M. McManus, the bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, Two Can Keep a Secret, and One of Us Is Next, doesn’t shy away from secrets and...
55 likes · 3 comments
“Orwell's vision of our terrible future was that world-- the world in which books are banned or burned. Yet it is not the most terrifying world I can think of. I think instead of Huxley-- ...I think of his Brave New World. His vision was the more terrible, especially because now it appears to be rapidly coming true, whereas the world of 1984 did not. What's Huxley's horrific vision? It is a world where there is no need for books to be banned, because no one can be bothered to read one.” 2 likes
“That is the power of the book. Immortality, for better, or for worse. It is majestic, in its way, this immortality. And power. Once a story is started, once a lie is told, it is very difficult to un-tell it . . .” 1 likes
More quotes…