After reading a new queer dark fantasy, Lesser Known Monsters, the debut novel by Rory Michaelson. Excitement over the intricate and compelling story suggests that everyone should get a copy immediately. The story was provocative from the first pages, and the reader easily resonates with the self-deprecation of the main character. The main character's development was fascinating without being predictable. The experience leaves the reader captivated by the main character's interactions, observations, and internal monologue. Reading the dialogue on page 19, "That...that was the bad man." this reader became entranced in the story.
Besides the masterful storytelling, Rory does an exceptional job with representation in the book. The queer characters are fully realized and layered. Sexuality did not define each character, regardless of wherever they landed on the queer spectrum but instead was a piece of a whole complex individual. All of the characters are sophisticated and three dimensional. The reader finds an appreciation for the POC (people of color) representation and how those characters are strong and layered and not defined by one attribute. One of the best lines of dialogue in the whole book was, "Marcus, come away. You have too much melanin for this nonsense." which leaves the reader chuckling and agreeing as they read that line.
One of the book's best attributes is that as a queer dark fantasy, the suspense is perfectly paced, making the reader intrigued through the entire story. It keeps the reader asking questions like, "What is Dmitri? How did she know that? What the hell do they do now?" Rory has a poetic way of interluding chapters and introducing mythos that could be relevant to what is coming next or not. It could just be textbook classifications of random mythological creatures, but with each introduction of a new type of creature, the reader finds themself wondering if they would show up and would they be friends or foe.
The mark of a good book is if the story entices a reader to reread it, and Lesser-Known Monsters is one that deserves a revisit. Rory craftily closes his story leaving the reader questioning what is next for the characters. The world is set and ready for exploration. Grab a copy today.