The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht is a violent and altogether intriguing novel. It's one where that leaves you with questions but in a manner that satisfies and it's perverseness is done in a way that has taste and lingers in your mind. While it is a rather short novel, the gothic experience it brings is definitely memorable.
The main character, Johann is despicable in all the right ways. He doesn't really understand his identity, but he lives out his life assured of his self and while terrible things happen to him, it is not that which determines his sinful nature. He is already despicable. He isn't an antihero and there is never really a time where you want him or Florian to win, but as you read their story, you fall in love with their dynamic and you cannot wait to see what happens next. In fact, I ended the book knowing where he was and what had happened but still curious as to the next steps of Johann's life.
What can I say about the plot? We watch Johann live a life of villainy and debauchery until he meets Florian, someone who can work magic and while an aristocrat, can't wait for the fall of the city in which he lives. As the two form a partnership, we begin to learn more about the history of Elendhaven and how Florian and Johann are connected in more ways than one. And when a Mage Hunter comes into town, looking for blood, we are forced on a path of no return.
Oddly enough, I found this book in the graphic novel section of my local chain bookstore some time ago and had it on my TBR for a while. Is it a graphic novel? No. But I am glad that it was front and center because the cover is what drew me in. I could tell immediately that this was a horror tale, but not one that was about gore but about something far more sinister. And a cover that can do all that is definitely a win. I could try to come up with a comparable title, but there's so much uniqueness in this tale that doing so would take away from it.
So, does this sound like something you'd read?