Lauren Beukes’ Broken Monsters Review Round-Up

Lauren Beukes returns with a new “genre-bending” novel that mixes detective, horror, and the supernatural. A spin on the detective/serial killer story, Broken Monsters looks to be another successful entry in Beukes’ rapidly expanding career. Beukes mixes in her trademark weirdness, and the book crosses over into some dark and horrifying spaces. For the purposes of Chaos Horizon—a website dedicated to predicting the Hugo and Nebula awards—Beukes was heartbreakingly close to making the Hugos with her last book The Shining Girls. That time-travelling serial killer novel placed 7th in the 2014 Hugos, and was only two votes (two votes!) shy of making it into the field. Can Beukes build on that momentum and breakthrough this year?

I have Broken Monsters a little further down my 2015 Hugo Watchlist. This is less obviously Science Fiction than The Shining Girls. Beukes has built quite a career working between the boundaries of genre, and it’s yielded a lot of interesting literature. Unfortunately, Hugo voters don’t look as favorably upon horror-speculative hybrids, although they’ve loosened a little on that lately with Mira Grant. Broken Monsters might have a better chance at a 2015 Nebula nomination, given the reputation Beukes has established as a bold and experimental writer over these past years. My guess is she’ll miss the slate on both. Keep a close eye on her in future years: once she returns to writing more obviously “genre” fiction (whatever that means), she’ll be a strong contender in years to come.

Broken Monsters
Book published September 16, 2014

About the Book:
Lauren Beukes’ web page
Lauren Beuke’s blog
Amazon page
Note: Broken Monsters is one of the many books caught up in the Amazon/Hachette feud. It’ll be interesting to see if this affects sales. Amazon has made it harder to get to the Hardcover web page when you search for Broken Monsters.
Goodreads page
Publisher’s page (Mulholland books, of Little, Brown)

Mainstream Reviews:
Publisher’s Weekly
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Entertainment Weekly (B+)
The Guardian

WordPress Blog Reviewers:
Robyn Reads
Angela Savage
Tomcat in the Red Room
Ms. Wordopolis Reads
Words of Mystery
Lynn’s Book Blog
Espresso Coco

A Literary Mind (3 out 5)
The Thugbrarian Review (4 out of 5)
Generationbooks (5 out of 5)
My Good Bookshelf (4 out of 5)
Bride of the Good Book

Solid reviews from my fellow WordPress bloggers, although it’s clearly being received as a detective novel with some horror elements, not as Science Fiction or Fantasy novel. It’s an interesting note that more SFF reviewers seem to give books numerical scores; mystery reviews (and literary fiction reviewers) don’t give scores as often. It also looks like mystery book reviews are more organized than SFF book reviewers: there were more reviews for this book than the other SFF books I’ve been tracking.

On the negative side: several reviewers compared it unfavorably to The Shining Girls, seeing this novel more as a step back than a step forward for Beukes. Some readers were also disappointed with the ending. This confirms my analysis of the Hugo and Nebula chances for Broken Monsters; Beukes is liked, but this book doesn’t have the best chances of making a final Hugo or Nebula slate.

What do you think of Beukes’ chance this year?


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