Author: Andrea Speed
Title: Pretty Monsters
Series: Josh of the Damned 1
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's Website:
Josh knew the night shift at the Quik-Mart would be full of freaks and geeks—and that was before the hell portal opened in the parking lot. Still, he likes to think he can roll with things. Sure, the zombies make a mess sometimes, but at least they never reach for anything more threatening than frozen burritos.
Besides, it’s not all lizard-monsters and the walking dead. There’s also the mysterious hottie with the sly red lips and a taste for sweets.
Josh has had the hots for Hot Guy since the moment he laid eyes on him, and it seems Hot Guy might be sweet on Josh too. Now if only Josh could figure out whether that’s a good thing, a bad thing, or something in between. After all, with a hell vortex just a stone’s throw away, Josh has learned to take nothing at face value—even if it’s a very, very pretty face.
Josh is a nighttime clerk at a Quickmart convenience store. He expects human lowlifes to come in for food at two in the morning, but instead his customers are strange lizard creatures, zombies, and one man that Josh has a crush on. When the crush comes to the store, Josh can't help talking with him. That's the entirety of the plot in this book, allegedly the first in an entire series.
Writing this review has me balancing my high expectations for the book and the reality of what I was actually given, which means I keep having to remind myself to review what was in the story rather than what I was hoping for. I recently read Josh of the Damned vs. the Bathroom of Doom, a short story set in this world, loved it, and immediately went to find this first book so I could catch up. What I expected from Pretty Monsters was a firm introduction to the series, but instead I found another quick, almost plot-less, short story that barely touched on the world and magic that Josh is beginning to experience.
I need to hold my unhappiness with what I read against the fact that I haven't read the next book in the series. Maybe they're being labeled chronologically to the series' timeline on the publisher's website, but were originally published in a different order? I won't know until I have the chance to read the rest of the series, so I'll simply finish this review by saying that the little that was given in this very short story was well written and engaging, but so sparse on plot and world-building that I ended up being disappointed when I finished reading.
I can't recommend this story. The first book in any series should introduce the world, the plot, and the characters, but this story did none of that. I found it to be a very disappointing start to a new series, however my recommendation might change after I've read the rest of the series and can fully understand whether Speed actually meant for Pretty Monsters to be read first.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.