Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: The Monster's Daughter by Michelle Pretorius

Title: The Monster's Daughter
Author: Michelle Pretorius
Year Published: 2016

Genre: Adult fiction (mystery) 
Pages: 456
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2016 Google Reading map)South Africa

FTC Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book for review

Summary (from the back of the book): Somewhere on the South African veldt, 1901: At the height of the Boer War, a doctor at a British concentration camp conducts a series of grim experiments on Boer prisoners. His work ends in chaos, but two children survive: a boy named Benjamin and a girl named Tessa....

One hundred years later, a disgraced young police constable is reassigned to the sleepy South African town of Unie, where she makes a terrifying discovery: the body of a young woman, burned beyond recognition. The crime soon leads her into her country's violent past--a past that includes her father, a high-ranking police official under the apartheid regime, and the children left behind in that long-ago concentration camp.

Review: It is so my MO to say yes to a review and then by the time I read the book I've forgotten what it's about! I kind of like that; going in blind with no idea what is coming.

The Monster's Daughter, whose title is revealed in the text of the last few pages in a very clever way, is really good on so many levels.
  • The main character, Alet, is likable, relatable, and I just wanted things to work out okay for her. She is up against so many awful things and people, and she is far from perfect herself, but I feel like she is "normal" and therefore I wanted her to figure out all the details of the crimes being committed. I wanted her to set it all straight.
  • The other characters, and there are many, are all interesting as well. From the blacks who are treated so horribly before, during and after South Africa's Apartheid movement to the Afrikaners who believed that God brought them to South Africa to rule to the English and their terrible concentration camps during the Boer Wars, all play an important role in moving the story along and revealing bits about history and the other characters.
  • The history of South Africa is turbulent, as most countries are and that history plays out in this novel and in fact drives the story. I thought I knew a lot about South African history, but this book really filled in details and helped me understand the country in a way that I hadn't before. 
  • If you are a regular reader of this blog you know I am sucker for a good mystery. This novel definitely has that. There are so many different mysterious storylines that converge near the end. Well done!

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