- Akwaeke Emezi

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?

There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question–How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?


My Review:

almost perfect:

Set in an idealised society where angels have hunted the monsters to extinction, Pet paints the picture of a time in which people are allowed and encouraged to live their truth. The rebellion is a distant memory, and no one lives in fear of persecution or prejudice.

The first step to seeing is seeing that there are things you do not see, it said.

As is far too familiar in utopias, it is very easy to forget how quickly the bad can sneak back in when things are too good. If you believe that monsters no longer exist, and the new generation has grown up without learning to spot one, how much could go unnoticed and unchecked?

So, yes, people forget. But forgetting is dangerous.
Forgetting is how the monsters come back.

Pet’s appearance brings out the best in Jam, even when her parents try to dissuade her. They are reacting out of fear and denial, but Jam recognises the truth in Pet’s warning. With no idea where or how to begin, she agrees to help Pet hunt for the monster hidden in their community, and things start moving once Redemption is on board. Jam makes some questionable choices about how much information to share with Redemption, showing the difficulty in hunting for something that isn’t supposed to exist. But, in the end, it’s her strength of character and conviction that drives the story and its outcome.

Listen to me, little girl, it said. You want many things, you are full of want, carved out of it, made from it, yes. But the truth does not care about what you want; the truth is what it is. It is not moved by want, it is not a blade of grass to be bent by the wind of your hopes and desires.

Pet is beautifully written and so haunting. Despite its fantastical nature, it is very easy to draw comparisons between this world and our own. The serious depth and emotion of the story are made all the more striking due to the metaphorical and breathtakingly simple writing.

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