The Monsters in our Shadows

- Edward J. Cembal


It’s been a century since “the great consumption.” Humanity has been devoured to the edge of extinction by the ever-ravenous Shivers – terrifying, shapeless creatures that latch onto their hosts, tormenting them over time before consuming them all at once. The last of civilization lives in the crumbling city of Atlas, where they subsist on processed insects and await their inevitable fate.

Anthem is the city Exilist, tasked with trapping the Shivers and banishing them to the malevolent Deadlands outside the city walls. But Anthem is ailing and destined to soon fall victim to his own Shiver, a fate he’s reluctantly accepted. As Anthem begins to withdraw from his world, a threat he’s unprepared for comes hurtling home. If he is to save anyone, he will have to travel into the Deadlands in search of a remedy to tame these creatures. But no Atlas dweller has ever made it back alive, and Anthem must confront his own darkness before humankind is forever lost to the monsters in our shadows.



The apartment door handle clacked and the hinges creaked.


* Thanks to NetGalley & Edward J. Cembal for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. *

solid, good read:
Take your mental health and project it onto your own personal monster that stalks you endlessly. Make it so everyone can see your monster, judges you for its existence, and avoids making eye contact or discussing anything to do with it. It makes you an unfit parent or partner, suicide risks the lives of everyone you know, and death is inevitable; just wait for the Reaper to show up and escort you out of town. At which point your monster devours you, one limb at at time, slowly savouring its meal, before moving on to anyone nearby. Welcome to The Monsters in our Shadows.

Still distant, she took a sip of her cold, bitter tea. "It showed up after I gave birth. This vacuum where the brightest future used to be. It's my fault."
"It's not your fault. Never is."
Could you fault a candle's flame for being hushed out by a hurricane? Or the poor soul treading in the darkest ocean, sinking from exhaustion? Could you blame the hyena's hunger, or its captured prey's submission to the feast? No, it wasn't her fault. This much he had gathered during his tenure as Exilist.

There are a few hurdles to overcome…
-The scope is a little small, and we don’t get as many details as I’d like.
-For someone who had problems going down stairs and walking across town without knee pain, Anthem manages to do a LOT of running throughout the Deadlands.
-Rib’s motivation is incredibly opaque and confusing, even for a crazy person.
But overall, this is a unique, interesting concept told in a captivating way.

Graphic, gory, and terrifying; The Monsters in our Shadows is the harrowing tale of dystopian horror it promises. Thanks to the fast pace, it feels like a much quicker read than the page count would suggest. Despite the gore and the sense of hopelessness in this terrifying world, I couldn’t stop reading and had no idea what would happen next.


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