A stunning new work of historical fantasy, J. M. Miro's Ordinary Monsters introduces readers to the dark, labyrinthine world of the Talents.
England, 1882. In Victorian London, two children with mysterious powers are hunted by a figure of darkness—a man made of smoke.
Sixteen-year-old Charlie Ovid, despite a brutal childhood in Mississippi, doesn't have a scar on him. His body heals itself, whether he wants it to or not. Marlowe, a foundling from a railway freight car, shines with a strange bluish light. He can melt or mend flesh. When a jaded female detective is recruited to escort them to safety, all three begin a journey into the nature of difference, and belonging, and the shadowy edges of the monstrous.
What follows is a story of wonder and betrayal, from the gaslit streets of London, and the wooden theatres of Meiji-era Tokyo, to an eerie estate outside Edinburgh where other children with gifts—the Talents—have been gathered. There, the world of the dead and the world of the living threaten to collide. And as secrets within the Institute unfurl, Marlowe, Charlie and the rest of the Talents will discover the truth about their abilities, and the nature of what is stalking them: that the worst monsters sometimes come bearing the sweetest gifts.
Riveting in its scope and exquisitely written, Ordinary Monsters presents a catastrophic vision of the Victorian world—and of the gifted, broken children who must save it.
About the author
J.M. Miro lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest.
“Haunting, tense, earth-shattering . . . A riveting mix of magic and terror.”
—Tamora Pierce, author of Trickster’s Choice and In the Hand of the Goddess
“Ordinary Monsters is a towering achievement: a dazzling mountain of wild invention, Dickensian eccentrics, supernatural horrors, and gripping suspense. Be warned . . . once you step into this pennydreadful to end all penny dreadfuls, you’ll never want to leave.”
—Joe Hill, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman and Heart-Shaped Box
“From the very first page, you’re pulled into a world of hope and fear, dark and light, the known and the unimaginable—a world that is equal parts magic and pain. Readers should prepare themselves: there’s nothing ordinary about Ordinary Monsters.”
—Alma Katsu, author of The Fervor and The Hunger
“Ordinary Monsters is one of my favorite books of the year—it’s full of surprises, atmospheric as hell, and moves like a runaway train. Nothing in this book is what you expect it to be, and it couldn’t be more satisfying.”
—Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself and Last Seen Leaving
“J.M. Miro's Ordinary Monsters reads like a Dickensian X-Men. At once lush and refined, grounded and fantastical, it will pull you into its world in the way of the most fulfilling entertainments.”
—Andrew Pyper, bestselling author of The Residence and The Demonologist
“Epic, sprawling, and evocative—a sweeping and richly-imagined gaslight fantasy that takes readers on an incredible journey. Miro immerses us in the grime and grit of life, but also makes them believe that monsters and miracles are possible.”
—A.C. Wise, author of Hooked
“Miro’s debut has a fascinating magical system...The vivid cinematic quality of the world and its magic will appeal to classic-fantasy lovers.”
“I totally devoured Ordinary Monsters. What a banger!”
—Camden Avery, The Booksmith
“Complex, creepy, and atmospheric fantasy fiction. Looking forward to book two in the trilogy.”
—Laura Harvey, Copper Dog Books
“Deeply thought-provoking and engaging.”
—Emily Autenrieth, A Seat at the Table Books
“It's been a minute since I found a book that both intrigued and terrified me, but J.M. Miro's novel fits the bill! l loved this cast of 'monsters' like were old friends.”
—Mystery To Me Bookstore
“Ordinary Monsters is the first in what promises to be my next series addiction.”
—Mackenzie Johnston, Out West Books
“...one of the most refreshing and engrossing books I have read...”
—Lark and Owl Bookstore