Tag Archives: R. L. Caulder

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Book Review: Monsters Within, by R.L. Caulder

I received this copy of Monsters Within by R.L. Caulder in a monthly subscription book box. (I don’t remember which one.) But I also have a Kindle copy I picked up as a freebie at some point.

monsters within cover

Have you ever lost yourself in a fantasy world you created?

That’s how I’ve survived the years alone in a reality where humans cower in fear of supernatural creatures hiding behind the veil.

All I’ve ever had is my pen, my notebook, and the world I created to make it through the days as a ward of the state, suffering at the hands of the real villains of the world…Humans.

The pages of my notebook hold three sinful, feared monsters. Ones that I certainly shouldn’t be pining over since they aren’t even real.

I question my grip on reality when real life and fantasy collide as my words suddenly come to life. Out of the pages climb each of the beautifully twisted monsters I created with my ink.

Dark Imaginarium Academy claims to want to help me learn about my new powers. The Headmistress says they can protect me, but I’m not so sure about that.

The one thing I am sure about? I’ll destroy the world if they try to take my monsters from me.

Because my creations aren’t just monstersthey’re my soulmates.

my review

Soooo, this simply isn’t very good. It reads VERY MUCH like a teen, self-insert fantasy romance. Which, in one manner, makes sense to the plot. Self-insert fantasy is what the main character writes to create the monsters in the first place. On the other hand, nothing feels like this parallel was a stylistic choice by Caulder, and it simply isn’t any fun to read. Both because it is boring and because the amateurish writing and plotting reinforced the teen-like feel.

Additionally, the teen-like feel clashes with the collegiate setting. It feels like high school (they have detention, set similar schedules, petty high school drama, and a most specialist, special girl who is special main character, etc.). The character is only 21 (and all the magic miraculously appears at midnight on her 21st birthday), so she would be legal, and you feel that is an monsters within photoauthorial manipulation rather than fitting the plot even a little bit. She feels 16, at most.

Add all of that to a plot that feels, at best, sketched out, rocketing from point to point with no build-up or resolutions, characters who go through major shifts in reality with absolutely no reaction or adjustment time, stock, cardboard cutout heroes, cliched, mean-girl villains, and inconsistent characterization of the heroine, and I was simply done. I finished the book to finish it, but I’m not at all interested in more.

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