Series: Monster Haven #1
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by Carina Press on 30 July 2012
I’m doing things backwards as I reviewed the latest, Fairies in My Fireplace, before the first. Zoey used to have nightmares of a monster in her closet when she was growing up but dismissed them as fantasy. Twenty-three years later her closet monster is back and he’s baking muffins. Really good muffins as it turns out. Things get much weirder though when brides she is planning weddings for become a predatory incubus’ victims and start dropping dead.
Zoey is a really well rounded protagonist – she does dorky things, has a horrible taste in clothes but has a really big heart. She’s an empath so she is very in tune with other people’s feelings. She lacks proper shields to deflect them so other people’s intense emotions attack her. This makes her a target for the succubus Sebastian who feeds off other people’s energy. Her problems aren’t just supernatural though as she has to deal with a heinous mother-of-the-bride and her attraction to paramedic Riley.
Of the various Hidden characters that pop up, my favourite would have to be Maurice. He thinks his gargoyle wife is cheating on him with a bridge troll and he needs somewhere to hang. Naquin gives the Hidden boarders problems that we (just like Zoey) can empathise with – some far more serious than others. It made the world far more believable and easy to engage with. The humans are just as diverse – Andrew the herbalist with a Fennec fox as a pet, Sara who never asked Zoey for anything except friendship and Riley who moonlights as Death.
The three main threads in this novel overlap with Zoey discovering the Hidden world, trying to take down the icky incubus and working out how to manage her gift. The second one leant a darker tone to the novel as we have Sebastian visiting Zoey in her dreams and showing her how he deals with his victims. Things never get too heavy however as there are large dollops of humour throughout the book and the hint of a romance.
Monster in My Closet was an engaging and really sweet novel that I just didn’t want to put down. Highly recommended!