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The Monster of Elendhaven

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  7,168 ratings  ·  1,620 reviews
The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on erra ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Tordotcom
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,168 ratings  ·  1,620 reviews

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chai ♡
God, it’s a wretched thing, this book. Sharp as shattered glass and filled with teeth. And something else too, something that slides into your neck like a talon, demanding your attention. Holding you in place. Something utterly, utterly captivating.

The Monster of Elendhaven is a story about monsters. And all monsters must have names because “things with names survived.”

Before Johann was a thing with a name, he’d crawled out of Elendhaven’s flowing womb—its harbor—and slipped among the town’s peo
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST HORROR 2019! what will happen?

this is a vicious little novella that ends each kiss with a bite.

it is a perfect october book, which means i picked it up a few days too early, but YOU should work it into your halloweeny spooktober book stack because it is short and creepy and an excellent pick for the season.

if i try to do a plotty review of this, it will quickly become overcomplicated for you and overwhelming for me, and i’ll end up sounding li
Chelsea Humphrey
"Power was sweeter than apples. It was cheaper than water, and sustained the soul twice as well. If Johann was going to be a Thing with a name, then from now on he would be a Thing with power, too."

I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting when I picked up The Monster of Elendhaven, but it wasn't that, and I mean that in the very highest form of compliment. I have a love/hate relationship with novellas, in the sense that I love to hate them, because I always feel like I was cheated out of a full
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
3.5 stars*

This was dark, thrilling & weird (in the best way). I adored the writing and reading about these complex and interesting characters. This is definitely the perfect quick halloween read!

Thank you Tor for providing me with an ARC!
Justin Tate
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
So confused

Don't give me a reading comprehension quiz on this one because I'm pretty sure I'd fail it! LOL. I read every word, and didn't exactly hate it, but have no idea what happened. I don't know the premise, couldn't tell you anything about the plot. I re-read the description here on Goodreads and nothing rings a bell.

What I can gather is that this appears to be some kind of remix of The Tempest. We have a clear Caliban-esque character (the monster) and a clear Prospero-type sorcerer (Flori
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
ARC provided by the publisher——in exchange for an honest review.

This starts out promising but overall it's really just not for me.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht is a debut that I’ve heard great things about. It’s been advertised as a compelling dark fantasy about revenge, murder, and magician. For what its worth, it did started out that way; strongly atmospheric and dark. However, once the romance started, I found that the twisted relationship and unrealistic progression
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
This had such! great! bones! I loved the characters and the tone and the spooky setting but I feel like we didn't get enough time to really explore the relationship that was created and I am sad. I would loooooove it if this was adapted into a series or a longer book bc I truly loved the characters but I just needed MORE ...more
This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription

💉 Look how beautiful is the cover! I asked the publisher for a copy and being the awesome people they are, they immediately provided it!

💉 I have seen many positive reviews for this book and that makes me feel less guilty, I like to support new authors, I can’t sugarcoat this because I really did not understand it.

💉 The beginning was good and I thought I know why people liked it and then things started happening and I d
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Monster was the best, his favorite word. The first syllable formed a kiss, the second was a hiss.”

I picked this book up on a whim and started reading a few pages, figuring I would check it out to see if I needed to place it higher on my priority list. Instead of a few pages, I read 1/3 of the book.

I’ll be blunt here; this will not be a long review. It doesn’t need to be. This is a strong contender for my favorite book of the year. This is a grim, dark humored and evil little book… I loved ever
Nov 04, 2022 rated it really liked it
this is the gayest shit i've ever read ...more
anna (½ of readsrainbow)
rep: mlm mcs, poc side character
tw: gore, blood, murder, violence, rape

think venom but if eddie wasn't a good person & instead a revenge-obsessed sorcerer, also it's gothic

i honestly didn't think i'm gonna enjoy this bc i'm a baby who can't handle anything grim and this is literally a horror story of revenge and blood and death but like, i'm absolutely in love with it.
destiny ♡ howling libraries
Why the hell did it take me this long to pick this up?! I was in love within a page and inhaled this novella in one sitting, and now all I want is more. You need to know going into this story that these characters are broken, messy, fucked up, and mostly irredeemable... and I love them. 🙃
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Dang, this was dark.

I'll be honest... I completely forgot about this ARC. It sat on my shelf for months.... but then I heard it was gay and my interest was peaked so I picked it up. After all, it was short so if I hated it... it's not like I would have wasted that much time.

Fortunately, I didn't hate it. But I didn't love it either. This book follows a man. A man without a name, a monster who cannot die. He, along with
'Monster was the best, his favourite word. The first half was a kiss, the second a hiss.'

The Monster of Elendhaven is one hell of an unconventional story that's part-revenger horror, part-Gothic in nature and part-love story, probably the most unconventional part of the novella. I really am not gonna say more than that because this novella is a trip and it's best that everyone discovers that for themselves. I'm just gonna be here wishing for a sequel so that I can get more of this just-want-to-w
This was so gory, disgusting and atmospheric you could almost feel the smell of decay wafting from the pages.

3.5 stars

The Monster of Elendhaven is a dark fantasy novella following an immortal, magical man as he meets another man who might be even more dangerous than him, and who might have some nefarious plans; deliciously evil relationship ensues.

What I loved the most about this novella was the writing. It is vivid, even though most of the time you kind of wish it hadn't been, because Elendhave
Julie Zantopoulos
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a freaking ride. This was a quick read but it packed a serious punch. I was provided this arc by TOR and I’m so thankful it made its way to me. This novella is graphic in its violence and unapologetic in its gore but it’s also hauntingly beautiful in its writing style. It is twisted and grotesque in a way you can’t look away from and I really enjoyed it. This is a fantasy world with magic and mages but also very real human motivators like revenge and lust. This falls short of being an eroti ...more
Sadie Hartmann
I DNFd this at around 40 pages. It started off SO GOOD, like deliciously dark and twisted and some of the most juicy writing ever and then came a plot development that made all the darkness slide off onto the back burner and instead, this turned into something dry and boring. I was bored. I might pick this up again at some point, maybe it’s me?
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell
Together, they launch a plan so dark and cruel that readers will find themselves cheering for blood, and for these avengers to consummate their horrible passion for each other.

In other words:

Holly (The GrimDragon)
You know when you order something online, like a bouquet of flowers for instance? Let's say you order them for your partner on their birthday or some romantical shit like that. The picture is all vibrant and full of life, gloriously tantalizing. Beautiful vase, lush wild flowers. PICK ME! PICK ME!

So you order them.

Then you wait.

They arrive.

You take them out of the box.

Except instead of the stunning order that you were shown on the website, you receive a sloppy, lackluster vase of a partial ar
Renee Godding
Mar 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
I don’t think any book deserves to be called “a waste of time” yet that was exactly how I felt about this one. The start was okay albeit a bit clunky, but once the romance came in, this went off the rails to where there was no saving...
You know what? I'm dnfing, I don't care.

This book was recommended to me by a twitter friend through that "12 months, 12 books recommended by 12 friends" thing and I'm sorry, but I gotta dnf.

It's not just because of the rape scene OF A CHILD at the start, but mainly because of that. It happens literally as soon as you open the book, and it doesn't give you any time to recover from it.

Aside from that, I kept trying to like it or to care about what's happening with the characters, but I just co
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
Hundreds of years ago, the North Pole was cut open with searing magic, a horrific event that left the land with craters like the city of Elendhaven was in. For centuries, the black waters were poisoned with an arcane toxin that causes the skin to bubble and the mind go soggy.

Meet Johann, the Monster of Elendhaven.

This book might as well be dripping with oil and slime. Glued together with brick and mortar and smell like factory smoke and grime because this setting is VIVID AS FORK.

We mostly have
me: I won’t let myself get sidetracked by shiny ARCs from publishers anymore, I’m going to stick to my TBR.

also me: Let me just sneak a little peek …

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | TumblrBloglovin’
Dark River
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Well, that was fucked up. I loved it.

Just wish it would have been a little longer. Because honestly, monster boys are my one true weakness and when I stumble upon a book that serves me two, sprinkles a healthy dose of gay on top and just in general dances to its own tune like that (perfection!) it's almost a crime that it's not at least 500 glorious, gory pages long.

Fuck me, man.
Melanie  Brinkman
Monster, monster, monster, the first half a kiss, the second a hiss."

Things go from bad to worse when a man without a name and a wielder of magic on the sly traverse Elendhaven, a city left to die. Their revenge bent minds craft a plan of great cunning, carrying out cruelties that change minds and curdle hearts with barely a trace left behind. These monsters souls must be cut down. But what if they have the means to bring the world as we know it crashing down around us?

High class or "gutter tra
idk why this novella is rated so low. it manages to tell a complete story with a cool world in under 200 pages. also murder boyfriends and monsterfucking.
OH ! MY ! GODDDD !!!!!

I was already excited for this book just based on the gorgeous cover and awesome title alone, and once I started it I was hooked basically from the first page. This seriously might be my favorite thing I've read all year [discounting rereads] and I'm already at the point where I want to go back and reread it [although I'm planning on waiting until I can get my hands on the audio]. The last book I wanted to read again immediately after finishing was Vicious by V.E. Schwab an
Oct 16, 2022 rated it really liked it
What a bizarre, gory novel! For such a short book, it really packed in one gory murder after another … what with the slimy, greasy descriptions of the city of Elendhaven - a northern city engulfed by dark skies and oily seas - I feel the necessity to scrub away the sooty remnants of this book from my mind …

But this book is very well written … Johann the Monster is brutal and obtuse, and his master Florian is depraved and vengeful, but together they make a fascinating and formidable duo … while I
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Okay, so I absolutely loved the vivid, visceral writing. So much of this was gross and gory and deliciously written. I also really loved the aesthetic, which is a kind of Victorian-era industrialized Germany/London. It's fab. The worldbuilding is also fascinating, with Elendhaven being a rather eerie city with an unsettling origin story. I also very much enjoyed the toxic relationship between the two main characters.

But??? The ending?? I'm so confused? I don't even know if I was supposed to unde
Dnf at 15%

I thought it would be awesome and spooky but it was an edgelord's wet dream and I hated it.
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Play Book Tag: [Fall flurries] The Monster of Elendhaven - 3.5 stars 1 24 Oct 22, 2019 12:02PM  

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  Kerine Wint is a software engineering graduate with more love for books than for computers. As an avid reader, writer, and fan of all things...
178 likes · 30 comments
“Monster was the best, his favorite word. The first half was a kiss, the second a hiss.” 32 likes
“Power was sweeter than apples. It was cheaper than water, and sustained the soul twice as well. If Johann was going to be a Thing with a name, then from now on he would be a Thing with power, too.” 21 likes
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