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A Cosmology of Monsters

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  3,990 ratings  ·  824 reviews
Noah Turner sees monsters.

His father saw them—and built a shrine to them with The Wandering Dark, an immersive horror experience that the whole family operates.

His practical mother has caught glimpses of terrors but refuses to believe—too focused on keeping the family from falling apart.

And his eldest sister, the dramatic and vulnerable Sydney, won’t admit to seeing anythi
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Pantheon Books
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Kimberley This book is too boring to be scary. It's more of a story about a dysfunctional family and some fuzzy monsters. Stick to Stephen King.
This book is too boring to be scary. It's more of a story about a dysfunctional family and some fuzzy monsters. Stick to Stephen King.

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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  3,990 ratings  ·  824 reviews

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Chelsea Humphrey
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Chelsea by: Crime by the Book
Full disclosure: I had a bunch of nifty, gorgeous quotes to use on this review, but I seem to have lost them and already mailed my copy of the book to a friend. While you're reading this review, please pretend you are reading the author's words as I give you a FRIENDS-esque summary.

{Insert quote ofthe one where Margaret and Harry begin their intensely dark love affair. Also, H.P. Lovecraft.}

Ok, so if you've read the summary of this book, you probably had a visceral reaction to its implication, a
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST HORROR 2019! what will happen?


this is an extraordinary debut novel that comes so damn close to my kind of perfect, and yet another book with a lovecrafty angle that overcomes my antipathy for lovecraft by not adopting his (to me) crappy storytelling shenanigans or his (to any reasonable human) crappy personal views on race&gender&etc. this one’s a complex and delicious blend of literary horror and family tragedy written with the flo
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Listen to Your Mother!

Life is a horror story straight out of H.P Lovecraft. Only hopeful delusions prevent us from recognising the terrible reality of those things we have been taught to respect, admire and desire - spouse, children, work, moderate suburban comfort. Only by inducing ourselves to believe that these things are inherently valuable and that they justify our lives can we bear to tolerate the triviality, dissatisfaction, and absence of any real affection.

Yet reality continues to im
Johann (jobis89)
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I started collecting my sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old.”

Noah Turner sees monsters. His father saw them - and built a shrine to them with The Wandering Dark, an immersive horror experience that the whole family operates. The rest of the Turner family has experiences with the monsters too, but Noah chooses to let them in...

Are you a fan of Stranger Things? How about weird fiction? Or Lovecraftian stories? Or literary horror? If you answered yes to at least one of these q
Shaun Hutchinson
Dec 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
You know what would be really great? If non-queer authors could stop writing queer characters who inevitably kill themselves because they're queer. That would be swell.

This book is pretentious trash.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I was skeptical in the beginning. At first the thing scratching at the windows of members of the Turner family seemed more Muppet than monster. But that evolves quickly and once it does, the book takes off and never lets up. It's not scary, it's horrifying. Lovecraft hovers in the increasing atmosphere of dread Hamill evokes. Lovecraft is also woven into the story early because he's part of how father Harry woos future wife Margaret, by lending her his copy of "The Tomb." And then taking her to ...more
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪SomeBunny Reads (Phoenix)•*¨*•♫♪

I had a feeling, when I started reading this book, that it would become a favourite, and in the end I was not disappointed. I actually had to go back a couple of times during some of the most interesting parts because I was distracted thinking how beautiful the story was. Everything in this book was perfect to me: the plot, the characters, the way the story is told, the romance, the creatures, the final reveals... everything came together just perfectly and I couldn't be more happy on how it tu
Amy Imogene Reads

This is going to hurt, writing this. Trying to decide how to word my very intense, visceral reactions to this story. This is the kind of review where I loved half and hated half, so it's a 3 star purely to keep it fair.

Writing: ★★★★
Surreal vs Gritty Realism: ★★★★
Enjoyment: ★ 1/2 for the whole

A Cosmology of Monsters is the type of horror novel that doesn't feel like a horror novel until you're halfway through and realizing that what you thought was the scary part....actually wasn't.

I almost
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Noah and his family are special, but I'm not so sure that's a good thing! A COSMOLOGY OF MONSTERS is a unique story. With a great opening line like: "I started collecting my older sister Eunice’s suicide notes when I was seven years old.” how can one NOT get sucked in?

This tale about a family, the haunted house/attractions they've managed and their unique relationships with, (I'll just call it "the other" for the purposes of this review), made for fascinating reading. As a longtime fan of hor
Frank Phillips
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an incredibly bizarre, original, haunting tale! This story had so many layers to it, it would be hard to classify this as just horror, in my opinion. That reason in itself was why it appealed to me so much. I fell in love with this incredibly flawed, real, family, and found myself cringing when bad happened and routing them on when good things came. I went through a wide range of emotions while reading this as this novel had happy parts and incredibly sad, as well as terrifying parts. I rac ...more
Nils | nilsreviewsit
‘’My monster suit always fit better than my regular skin. I was never a guardian, or a hero, but a creator and harvester of fear.’’

It has been quite some time since I’ve read a horror book, but as soon as I came across A Cosmology of Monsters, well immediately the cover caught my eye. The eerie house with a single glowing light, the enormous looming wolf-like creature, even the title - almost poetic and enticing, all worked to capture my attention. Let’s face it, I’m a sucker when it comes to mo
Dannii Elle
Monsters are real. They lurk in shadowed corners and are glimpsed outside bedroom windows. For Noah Turner monsters become a fear confronted and a friend found. But this is not the beginning of his tale. His tale begins long before his birth and long before his conception. His tale begins when his parents were as young and as lost and as afraid as he is now...

The story was told in such a unique format. I was momentarily befuddled, upon starting the book, but Hamill quickly alleviated any confusi
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love it when a debut novel catches me completely by surprise. A Cosmology of Monsters is creative, engrossing and just plain entertaining. It's a mash-up of monster horror, coming-of-age and family saga with a splash of strange fantasy and fate. The Turner family's story spans decades and is told by the youngest child, Noah. His family is plagued by monsters....both real and imagined.

I don't want to give away too much and ruin any part of the story, so I'm not going to say much about the plot
Caidyn (he/him/his)

This is a weird book. It's mainly about the history of a very odd family story that isn't quite explained. What I can say about this book is that it's a good idea. A father who can see monsters and his son who communicates with them. But that's what it is. A good idea.

I felt like the story wasn't as fleshed out as it could have been. The idea was there, but it was very different. Each part was a different chunk of life, not necessarily tied together. Years were missing. It starts with Noah's
Crime by the Book
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work-books
I won’t be reviewing this one because it’s one of my work books - but suffice it to say I loved this read & am honored to be working on it! ...more
Out of the Bex
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was ok

I was roped in by the first paragraph and the description, but my hopes for a great story were not met by the end.

Some sections of this book are very well-written. Some were more mediocre. Sadly the balance tipped more toward mediocrity when as a whole I began to ask two questions: where is this going? and when will it end?

Something is wrong when a reader too often questions the length of the novel and continuously wonders how much is left. I almost DNF'd this, but the occasional
Ashley Daviau
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had high expectations for this book and they were completely blown out of the water and smashed to smithereens. In fact, it just might be the best damn book I’ve read all year! And that’s saying something because I’ve read 80 or so books this year and this one is just outstanding and the star amongst them all. It instantly sunk its claws into me right from the very first page, I just couldn’t get enough of this story. It’s weird and dark and creepy and has monsters and horror galore and I just ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was ok
A family struggles after the death of their patriarch who was obsessed with horror stories. In a moment of economic desperation, they decide to reopen the father's haunted house while the youngest child starts to be visited almost every night by a wolf like monster.

This book is reminiscent of The Haunting of Hill House and the Meow Wolf exhibit. It explores a family struggling with shared traumas and individual secrets while contending with very real monsters and horrific hidden spaces. Altho
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
This novel worked for me in every possible way. It’s best categorized as literary horror with many ties to Lovecraft. A Cosmology Of Monsters is the story of a family obsessed. It covers many dark and disturbing areas. I could list all the content warnings here, but I don’t want to spoil the story. I will say that at the most distressing moments something beautiful would also emerge. I have been flipping back over this book since I read it. It deserves a reread in the future for sure.

Thanks to P
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF....a promising start led to me plodding along by the halfway mark. Reads like a mediocre "House of Leaves" with a hint of David Wong. A bunch of unlikable characters and a monster that seems like it was Jim Henson's worst nightmare
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-arcs
I’ve maybe read five horror novels my whole life, the genre is just slightly out of my comfort zone but when I saw high praise from two of my most trusted reviewers (Chelsea and Abby) I knew I had to give it a shot. And I’ve once again learned why it’s so important to step out of my comfort zone occasionally because this one was really good!

While this is definitely a horror novel it’s also not your typical gory, over the top classic horror novel, it’s way deeper and more sophisticated than I exp
(3.5) A Cosmology of Monsters is the story of the Turner family, narrated across decades by youngest son Noah Turner. He first pieces together the story of his parents' marriage before moving on to memories of his older sisters, Sydney and Eunice, and his own childhood. The Turners are dogged by tragedy – several members of the family disappear without a trace – and, according to Noah's account, they are also stalked by monsters. This 'relationship', too, is complicated. As a boy, Noah is visite ...more
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, horror
I listened to Amazon’s audible performance of “The Cosmology of Monsters” by Shaun Hamill narrated by Sean Patrick Hopkins. Hopkins does a fabulous job in reading the story. I’m learning that narrators can make or break a story, and he does a great job.

I chose this story because in the press for it, Stephen King writes “If John Irving ever wrote a horror novel, it would be something like this.” Well, I’m a huge Irving fan and I haven’t read a horror novel in a long while, so I thought I’d give i
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
My mother divorced an abusive husband and gave up the child support for survival...a solid enough reason, but with 2 small children to support by herself, and babysitters being pricey to a waitress/aspiring actress, to assume that I was one step removed from a feral child wouldn't be a stretch. This is not meant to be a therapy session, but rather the etiology of one of my guiltiest of pleasures.
At a very young age, I was in charge of my little brother -- he was 4, I was 5. On Saturdays, our ba
Schizanthus Nerd
This book is a difficult one for me to review. It’s been on my radar for nearly a year and I loved the writing style and how well I felt I knew many of the characters, but it also had some problematic moments for me.

I loved hearing all about the history of this family, tragedy and all. I liked getting a feel for the dynamics between its members and the ways they individually coped with the pain that they’d experienced. The more I learned about their complexities as
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Titan Books for providing me with the digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


A Cosmology of Monsters by Shaun Hamill is a tender horror novel that revolves around a family and the monsters that haunt them.
This book hooked me to its pages from the very beginning and it offered me a terrifying story about the importance of family and love.
It deals also with important topics such as depression and suicide. And it does so in
Laura Noggle
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
At times, I wasn't sure about this book. It had a bit of a slow, almost romantic start.

Much like Alice down the rabbit hole, things kept getting stranger.

Very unique, haunting book — glad I receive BookBub's emails because I probably wouldn't have caught Stephen King's recommendation otherwise:

"Shaun Hamill’s A Cosmology of Monsters brilliantly combines the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft with a contemporary story of a family under threat of destruction from supernatural forces. It succeeds because the
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
How can you not be interested in a book with a Lovecraftian, monster-y cover?? While paying homage to other horror authors and tropes, it really is its own story entirely, and it doesn’t fit in any specific box. I’d define it as a family drama with a splash of supernatural adventure tale.

There is a lot I really enjoyed about this book. I loved how the story is told from Noah’s perspective. He starts with how his parents met, which is my favorite part of the whole book. It was just fun: who takes
Jessica Woodbury
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, arc
This book has a lot of potential, there are stretches of it I really enjoyed. I think it will appeal to most fans of mainstream Horror. The hooks are quite intriguing and the central "monster" is an impressive balancing act of terrifying and tender. Definitely not a traditional haunted house novel or even a haunted family novel. There is an ambitious structure and plot and plenty of homages to Lovecraft rooted in a story of a family's obsession.

For me this didn't live up to the potential, though
Harry Jahnke
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Life makes monsters of everyone, but it's always possible to come back. Pain and death are real, but so are love, and family, and forgiveness."

Wow. What an absolute journey. Every once and while you read a story that you feel was written just for you. This was one of those for me. Incredible storytelling, horribly wonderful, moments that left me literally dropping my jaw. Can't recommend it enough. This is what horror is about; this is why the genre exists. To help us embrace the darkness in th
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NYLS Book Club : October Book of the Month 4 12 Nov 07, 2019 01:32PM  

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