• Ordinary Monsters

  • A Novel
  • By: J. M. Miro
  • Narrated by: Ben Onwukwe
  • Length: 25 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (277 ratings)

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Ordinary Monsters

By: J. M. Miro
Narrated by: Ben Onwukwe
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Publisher's Summary

MOST ANTICIPATED SFF BOOK of 2022 by Tor, The Nerd Daily, CrimeReads, BookBub and more!

"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 penny dreadful 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

A STUNNING NEW WORK OF HISTORICAL FANTASY, J. M. MIRO'S ORDINARY MONSTERS INTRODUCES LISTENERS 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, exquisitely written, Ordinary Monsters presents a catastrophic vision of the Victorian world—and of the gifted, broken children who must save it.  

A Macmillan Audio production from Flatiron Books.

©2022 J. M. Miro (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Ordinary Monsters

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent

Don't be persuaded by negative reviews. If you have the patience to let the narrative build you will be rewarded, because Ordinary Monsters is an excellent supernatural horror story. Not sure why it's listed as a mystery/thriller, but, whatever, it is mysterious and thrilling and suspenseful...and unearthly, creepy and horrifying, so be prepared for a wild ride.

J.M. Miro's story starts out a bit all over the place. The setting and characters are vivid, but the narrative shifts between several storylines, which is terrific for firmly grounding the reader in the time period, but it's also a bit disorienting when it comes to understanding what the story's really all about. For one thing you're not sure who to root for, and for another, many of the characters you do become invested in turn out to be supporting characters that leave the storyline. But! About chapter eight or so everything suddenly gels with clear direction, characters you're rooting for, monstrous villains that generate fear and terror and a tense, gripping story going forward.

Ben Onwukwe's deep voice is a pleasure to listen to from the moment he starts speaking, effortlessly establishing time period and atmosphere and putting you right there in the thick of things. His wide range and nuanced performance makes every character step off the page. One small blip is that Charlie's Southern accent is not as accurate as it could be, but he still sounds very much like an American...and the rest of Ben Onwukwe's voices are fantastic, so I'm still giving him five stars for the performance.

Well worth the credit.

ETA: Just as was mentioned in another review, the epilogue is missing from this recording. Can you fix that Audible? It's important. The epilogue ties up loose ends and gives the book closure as well as pertinent info for the story going forward. (Hopefully the audiobook will be updated to include the missing section.)

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ty
  • 06-21-22

Where’s the Epilogue??

I read along while listening, and the epilogue was not included in the audio. And it’s pretty important. Other than that, fantastic story and fantastic narration.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Shadows of Penny Dreadful

One of the best storylines in this genre I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in years. The narration is beyond perfection. Perfect pitch in every way. First time author has a solid , creative grasp of the supernatural genre.
Ben Owukwe should be teaching narrators how to do their job. It’s the difference between just reading a story, and creating magic. I’ve stopped listening to many books simply because the narrative was too awful to carry on. Looking forward to the next book in this series!

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great story ... some annoyingly terrible accents

Great characters, interesting story, fantastic gothic horror story. Problem? The voicing of the narrator and other British characters is excellent. The voicing of the American characters is AWFUL, particularly the African-American character Charlie. Aw-ful.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

This is a DNF

I struggled to get as far as I have in the audiobook. The performance of the narrator is fine, I just CANNOT connect with the characters or the story. I am honestly disappointed -- I really wanted to like the book. I just don't care about anything that is happening. AT ALL.

You have a lot of exposition with a few moments of confused "action," then back to more exposition. The kids supposedly at the center of the story never take over the narration -- they are just kind of there, hanging out while the adults move them around. I tried increasing the speed of the audio to see if that would help, but I kept drifting off and found I wasn't even paying attention, then didn't care that I had missed bits and pieces of the story. I feel no motivation to keep going. This feels like a waste of a credit.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

j k Rowling and Cassandra Clare had a baby

The book starts great it gets a bit slower and continues to improve to finish with a BANG

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun to listen to

I liked the story, classic fantasy fare, but the narrator became unbearable as he attempted to mimic higher octave voices, mainly female voices.
Half the time I had issues understanding what Brit was saying because it sounded like a goose in a rock tumbler.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story

I really enjoyed this one. It might be a debut novel? I'm not sure. The story was dark, compelling, shocking, and intriguing. It was a little long at times, the characters were sometimes annoying, and unfortunately the epilogue was not included in the audiobook when I listened to it (I don't know if it has since been edited to include the epilogue - I hope so). I got the ebook from my library to read it, and I think it's necessary to the story. I hope this has been fixed in the audiobook that's available now. I highly recommend this! I look forward to the sequel.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Hard to get through

I’m currently an hour from finishing this book, and it has been quite a chore. I haven’t felt compelled to return to it at any time outside of literally having nothing else if interest to listen to while performing mundane tasks.

Is the narrator bad? No. But, he does seem to either not be able to capture the feel of the characters and situations, or he was profoundly bored during the recording. He speaks clearly and at a steady tempo. The natural depth of his voice does not seem to lend to large dynamic variation, which is hardly his fault. Think of how much more easily expressive a tenor or a soprano is versus a bass or a baritone. It requires a different kind of skills to provide variety at lower registers versus higher. The narrator invokes an atmosphere of calm at all times, even when the story is trying to be anything but calm.

The story itself has some very interesting elements, and a lot of predictable ones. You shouldn’t choose this title if you want to be taken on a roller coaster of thrills and unexpected turns. This is a very thematic tour through another world and doesn’t pretend to be otherwise.

This is a book that I wish I’d read instead of listened to. I think that I would have enjoyed the story more if the characters were allowed to have their own voices instead of everyone having the same voice with slight variances. I’m speaking of course of the personality and feel of each character instead of the literal voice. In this audio book you’re really only going to get the adoption of an American southern drawl to differentiate the characters in the scenes.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

A little boring but still good

A lot of world building that takes forever. Still listened to the end because the narration was fantastic & the overall story is good.