13 October 2011

Monarch - Review & Giveaway!

September 2011, Rhemalda
341 pages, Paperback
Personal copy

Romantic Thriller
Some violence, closed-curtain sex

Summary from Rhemalda:

Nick’s life as a CIA spy should be fulfilling, but it has only given him unhappiness — a wife who committed suicide and two daughters who resent everything he has become. Now, stuck in the Amazon on the last mission of his career, he must track down Matheus Ferreira, a drug lord and terrorist the U.S. has tried to bring down for years. If he succeeds, he’ll have the chance to start his life over again.

Just when he’s on the brink of catching Ferreira, he’s framed for a murder that turns his world upside down. His only chance of survival lies in West Virginia where Lilian Love, a woman from his past, owns the secluded Monarch Inn. He’s safe, but not for long …

Amy's thoughts:
Despite the dead body on the opening page (;)), Monarch was one of those books that took me a couple of chapters to really get into. However, like Blood Song that I read recently and also took time getting into, I'm really, REALLY glad I did. (And look, seriously? Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series is one of my all-time favourites, and it took me three goes to make it through the first chapter of the first book! This is a me-issue, clearly.)

Monarch is pegged as a thriller, and certainly has all the thriller paraphernalia - spies, betrayals, guns and cover stories, murders, threats, and time running out - but somehow, it's quieter than your average thriller, more thoughtful. Michelle utilises beautiful symbolism throughout and various different points of view to make this story about so much more than just a man on the run; I like to call Ender's Game, one of my all-time favourite novels, the science fiction novel for people who don't read science fiction - Monarch is the thriller for people who don't read thrillers. It's equal parts thriller and romance, contemporary and literary, and really embodies Michelle's cross-genre style. It's quiet and understated in a way that reminds you that life is not so much about what happens, as who it happens with - something worth remembering, I think.

Monarch utilises three points of view (Nick, Lilian of Monarch Inn, and Lilian's adult son Devan) and within Nick's point of view, two timelines, past and present. Occasionally the segues between Nick's timelines feel a little stiff, but overall the complex structure enhances the story and deepens our understanding of the characters and plot, and I really enjoyed seeing the story from different perspectives, especially since Michelle has done so well at giving them unique, original voices.

Overall, this is a very pleasing debut, and I can't wait for The Breakaway, Michelle's next novel (also a standalone), to be released next year. Yay!

Final Conclusion:
This is a great example of what you can do when you're not afraid to cross the genre boundaries. Congratulations on an awesome debut, Michelle!

Find out more about Michelle Davidson Argyle here including her highly awesome blog which you should all go follow right away! Sign up for her newsletter, too, because she does awesome giveaways for her subscribers. :)


This is Michelle's debut novel, and as Michelle is a friend of mine, I'm understandably excited :D I was privileged enough to read a very early draft of this story, and I even helped a little with the opening paragraph of the novel! So I'm even MORE excited to be able to offer you the chance to win a copy of this fantastic story.

I have not one but TWO e-copies of Monarch to give away. One is an ARC, and the other is the final version (and yes, they are fractionally different). I also have a swag-bag, with a signed poster and bookmarks.

All you have to do to enter is tell someone else about this contest (anyone, anywhere, I trust you), then enter your details in the safe-and-secret online form. Contest is OPEN INTERNATIONALLY, and will close on October 27. Yay!


J.C. Martin said...

Great review. Very true: it took me a while to get into MONARCH as well, but I did enjoy the book in the end. As thrillers go, this is much less in-your-face, guns-and-explosions, and more thoughtful, with a leaning towards character development. Thanks for sharing!

P.S. As you might have already guessed, I've already read the book, so please don't enter me into the draw. :)


Join me in the Trick or Treat Spooktacular! Could you help make the Grand Prize a brand new Kindle Touch?

Amy Laurens said...

JC - I agree, it's much more about the characters than the plot, per se. Thanks for leaving a comment! :)

Addison Moore said...

Enter me!! I'd be honored to win. I LOVED Cinders, so I know I'll love this one. I heart Lady G to no end. =)

Forbiddenhero said...

I've read through part of Cinders, and I love it, but I'm a huge lover of butterflies, so even just the symbolism sounds wonderful to me. Sign me up, and lets hope for the best.

DanielleQ.Lee said...

Feeling lucky this time! Lol

Katie said...

Hey! I found your giveaway via Michelle's post on Facebook. I read Cinders when it came out, and I've been intrigued by this one for a while. My sad little kindle only has one ebook, so this would be a great addition. Thanks for holding such a lovely giveaway!

Len Lambert said...

Great review, Amy. I'm so intrigued about the book, will surely check it out. I've shared the news and your link on my FB account :)

Amy Laurens said...

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for entering :) I really appreciate your support, and I know Michelle does too.

One hour left! Good luck to you all!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...