Monday, July 4, 2022

Book Review: "City of Gods and Monsters" by Kayla Edwards

Title: City of Gods and Monsters
Author: Kayla Edwards
Series: "House of Devils" #1
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy Romance
Page Length: 760 pages
Publication Date: January 25, 2022
Rating: 5 // 5 stars

This book is, without a doubt, the best book I've read in 2022 so far. We're halfway through the year and I've read some amazing books and new favorites. This book knocked them all out of the park. It sounds a bit dramatic but it's true. This book, truly, is my favorite book of the year so far. 

CoGaM follows Loren, a human, and Darien, a Darkslayer (a bounty hunter gifted with the Sight, an ability to track people's auras). Loren escapes an attempted kidnapping only for her best friend to be taken in her place. The ransom is simple: Loren gives herself up and her friend goes free. At the same time, Darien is hired to track Loren down. When he finds her, though, he realizes that she is human and decides to flip and protect her instead. He becomes her bodyguard as the two attempt to find her best friend and figure out what's behind a series of missing persons and murders in the city. 

I can honestly say that this book gave me everything I wanted and more. I had heard great things about it going in but the actual book itself blew every expectation out of the water. I expected to love it, but I didn't expect to be wholly obsessed with it like I currently am. 

Here's just a short list of what to expect with this book: bodyguard trope, slow-burn reluctant-allies-to-lovers romance, found family vibes, strong female friendships, hurt/comfort (for those of us fanfic readers), magic, demons, mystery, badassery, and more. Honestly, just read it. 

But actually getting down into the nitty gritty of it all, this book was amazing. The writing was stellar, the world was fascinating, the characters were fleshed out (even the side characters), and the relationships were amazing. 

So let's start with the story itself. This book is long but I didn't feel like it was ever dragging because it felt well-balanced between the mystery plot and the relationships that were forming. I found the main plot to be quite interesting and fun to read. The ending was absolutely mind-blowing! I knew we were building up to a big ending like that and it It was so different than what I expected and it truly blew me away.

The world was fascinating. It's an urban fantasy setting in a modern world but with creatures like werewolves, vampires, witches, demons, and more. I never felt overwhelmed with what we were learning. Whenever there was world-building, it felt very natural within the context of where it was happening. Instead of big info-dumps, we got what we needed when we needed it. The magic especially was fascinating to read about. There's still so much I would love to know about this world and I cannot wait to explore it in future books. 

The main reason why I loved this book, though, was the cast of characters and the varying relationships between them. We have our two main POV characters, Loren and Darien, but we also have a whole cast of characters that play a big role in the series. I got major found family vibes and I cannot wait for those to be explored even more in the sequel. I also loved how despite Loren meeting a new group of characters and a love interest that she didn't stray from her strong female friendships she had at the beginning. I love a good girl group. 

The romance itself was great. It's pretty slow burn but I felt like that was most natural within the context of the story and characters themselves. Both main characters have a lot to deal with both mentally and with their overall situation. I liked the slow burn, I liked the pining, I liked the back and forth, I liked how they grew naturally together. I think I prefer slow burn to when they get together very early on. I just loved it. But, of course, we still had those passionate scenes and the will they/won't they going on. 

The side characters were elite. I love them. I cannot wait to know more about them. I know we're getting a third POV in the next book and I am extremely excited for that as they were one of my favorite side characters in this book. I also think this new POV will add a lot to learn about the different character dynamics and just general life in this world. 

Like I said, my favorite thing was the characters. I'm a huge character-driven reader. A book can be five stars for me even if the plot is not as great. This book, however, features such an amazing cast of characters and a well-written and compelling plot. It truly has it all, in my opinion. I loved every element and I don't think I would change a thing.

Now, I can definitely see how this might not be everyone's cup of tea. However, I knew going in what I wanted and I got that plus more. I know not everyone has said they like the main character but I found her to be quite realistic within the overall context of her life and age and experience. I liked that she needed to be protected and taken care of sometimes. I liked how, even though she had badass moments, she was not the biggest badass around. 

Anyway, I just loved it. I cannot stop thinking about. I don't want anything except the next book. I just want to live in this world with these characters forever. It's been a while since I've been this wholly obsessed with a book and I am so grateful that I am. I know that this will be a book I come back to over and over and love just as much each time. 

I cannot wait for the next book, which is hopefully coming later this year or at the beginning of next year. For now, though, I'll have to make do with going back and annotating the heck out of it and trying to shove it into as many readers' hands as possible. If you like urban fantasy romance do yourself a favor and read it! 

Thanks for reading!

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