• Monstrous Heart

  • The Deepwater Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Claire McKenna
  • Narrated by: Elaine Claxton
  • Length: 13 hrs and 58 mins
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A sensational debut novel perfect for fans of Outlander and The Binding. This is Gothic, epic, romantic fantasy at it’s very best: a tale of magic, intrigue on dangerous waters and a love story for the ages. Perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab and China Mieville.

Arden Beacon arrives in the salt-swept port of Vigil with a job to do. Tasked with using the magic in her blood to keep the lighthouse burning, she needs to prove herself worthy of her family name and her ancestors’ profession.

But the coastline Arden must keep alight – battered by a sea teeming with colossal, ancient beasts – is far from the cultured, urban world she knows. It is a place of secrets, rumours and tight-lipped expectations of a woman’s place. More than anyone, the town folk whisper about Arden’s neighbour, Jonah Riven, the hunter of leviathans. They say he murdered his wife. They say he is as much a monster as his prey.

Amidst all her determination and homesickness Arden cannot get this shadowy stranger out of her head. A plot swirls around the lighthouse keeper, the hunter and the authorities. Arden must make sense of these dark waters – before they wash her away.

©2020 Claire McKenna (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"A wonderfully tortured and emotional mystery." (SFX

"A beautiful lighthouse keeper whose blood keeps the lamp alight; a Heathcliffian kraken-skinner living on the next door headland who may or may not have murdered his wife; a complex, steampunk world of eugenically determined magicians...what’s not to like?" (Daily Mail)

What listeners say about Monstrous Heart

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wasted potential, but an excellent narrator

I love a good oceanic book full of monsters and beasts from the deeps, tales of tall boats on the waters, and strange forms of magic. On the surface this book seems to have it. but less than an hour in when you start to breach the surface you come face first into the bottom of the kiddy pool. The characters come off as bland and unimaginative, the main heroine seeming to show some steel, only to end up being very flat. the others arent much better, as the... head twat of the port, cant remember title or name. With in a few minutes of his introduction i knew "yeah. he is going to rape her." and thats pretty much the note of his character as far as i can tell.

the world doesnt make much sense beyond being how it is simply to push the story along.. And by all intents, im guessing this is very much a quasi "beauty and the beast" rip off. fancy beautiful noble girl shipped off to place, a dark brooding "demon faced" man that is just so very attractive to her. Everybody calls him a monster, a murderer, blah blah blah. Youve read a hundred times before, and its not likely to be very good original here. And this sucks because of the potential that was shown.

The main character isnt a strong heroine, when she finally makes her big play to force mayor twatwaffle to let her start her job by reprting him to the guild (big trademan guild that runs all guilds and is mainly ran by magic people who evidently do magic just by spilling their blood. reading other reviews Nobody seems to know just how the magic works here)that he was obstructing her from doing her job making the lighthouses eternal flame thing go out, which forces his hand. Until he stipulates that she has to let him court her. and.. She folds. cause she would lose face. she lost her last job.. wait, no she didnt, she was requested by the guild specificly to come take this much more prestigious, though not greatly important, position. And because the main guy who evidently she ABSOLUTELY has to have the permission of, wont let her work unless he gets his rocks off. and so she folds like tofu. just moments after she is shown to have some spine. Pretty sure thats going to say everything about her for the story. I get characters need to have an arc, but this arc just folded.. well, as fast as she did.

there is plenty of other stuff, but its not worth getting into. the world sounds good, i will admit the descriptions of things was wonderfully enticing, but thats worthless if the characters arent worth a single damn.

Will say, Elaine Claxton was Wonderful in this reading, good distinct voices, great emphasis, clear speaking, and excellent tone. I'll be looking up more of her work, but the author.. well. this catch is getting thrown back.

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Stupendous

What a ride! I was very pleasantly surprised at how in depth this story was. The prose are gorgeous and intelligent. A fantastic new world to linger in that has much weight. I pray you enjoy it as much as I do! Now on to the rest of this glorious story!

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Mixed feelings

The writing was beautiful and formal, the world-building concept exciting, original, magical; it's the aspect that drew me to buy the book, and in that regard I was not disappointed. The ideas are so delightfully creative and original that I was conceptually captivated, and the whole tone of the book was darkly intriguing and magical without feeling unreal; very believably expressed, which made it wonderful to "live" there with the characters for a while. I was, however, disappointed by the following: 1) The plot and style relied so heavily on the reader's power to assemble the story's mysteries that I felt lost for most of the book. I still enjoyed listening to the gorgeous language and highly interesting concepts, so I didn't abandon the story, but I feel like I didn't understand a lot of what was going on or why; I wish the author had spelled things out more; it was confusing. The concept is so unusual that I needed more explanation to make it clear. 2) The sex was fairly graphic and emotionless and felt empty, IMO; too much vulgar physical description & not enough emotional meaning/description or reason in the plot to have had it, other than just two people feeling "in heat" like animals. 3) The ending was disappointing. Arden sets off to do something I'm excited to see unfold, but the book ends and I don't get to see/find out what happens! (Is it the first of a series? If so, good--it means readers will eventually get fulfillment, but I won't be reading further books.) 4) An unrealistically disproportionate percentage of gay characters/perspectives/nods made me feel the author is trying to meet politically-correct quotas, which I find distasteful. 5) At least one plot element/character seems heavy in the beginning but doesn't amount to much in the end.

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  • Sandra Robinson
  • 06-23-20

Narrator has a nice voice

Narrator had a nice voice but with her delivery you could not speed up the play back.
Story was strong at the beginning but I personally feel the end was weak.