No Gods, Only Monsters by Steve McHugh – Book Review (spoiler-free)

Hello everyone,

Today it’s my turn to review No Gods, Only Monsters by Steve McHugh. Thanks to the Escapist Book Tour for putting this together!

So first things first. What is the book about?

The Blurb

Diana, the Roman Goddess of the hunt, lives alone on the far edge of the Roman Empire. When an old friend arrives looking for help, Diana finds herself thrust back into her old life, and old problems.

With innocent lives caught in the crossfire, Diana realizes that the only way to ensure the safety of her friends and loved ones is to do what she does best: hunt her enemies down.

The Review

Fantasy really is the best genre in the world. One of the best things about the genre is how wide it is. Heroic, epic, grimdark, steampunk, urban, historical… there are just so many different avenues to go down.

Well, Steve McHugh might have invented a new one. This is historical mythological urban fantasy. Yes, that’s right. I said it.

This book is set in 200AD – and is full of mythological characters. Those from Greek mythology are the ones we see the most (Medusa, Poseidon, Ares etc.), but this world also contains the gods and characters of Norse and Arthurian legend.

So far – historical mythological fantasy.

However, in terms of writing flavour, this feels very urban. And yes, it’s not set in a city, but it does still carry that vibe. There are werewolves, cyclops, minotaurs, harpies and an array of monsters. The prose is punchy, the pace is fast. The Gods live amongst the people, though the extent of their magic is often hidden.

And at the centre of the story is Diana. A goddess wrapped in guilt who wants to be left alone. She’s an excellent character. Strong and brave – and for those who worried when I said historical in case the prose would be all ‘ye olde’ – it isn’t.

As this is a spoiler-free review, I won’t go into the story except to say if you like quests and ‘found family’ tropes, you will enjoy this.

If you are expecting a Circe or Sistersong literary type of historical fantasy, reset your expectations. This is Marvel-esque story telling. There are battles, feuds, and more battles. Thought that’s doesn’t mean the book is without depth. Themes of grief, depression, and guilt are explored.

All in all – this is a great read. A great summer read, I’d say too. It’s fun and the action scenes pack a punch. If you’ve been in a reading slump or have an older teenager who is struggling to ‘get into’ reading, this would make an excellent choice.

Thanks for reading the review! Good luck with this book, Steve! I enjoyed this book – it was fun and refreshing – and I’ll certainly be picking up book 2 when it comes out.

And oh, if you would like to read an interview I did earlier in the week with Steve, hit the link below!

https://shaunalawless.com/2022/04/26/interview-with-steve-mchugh/

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back with another book review soon!

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