The main characters are Annabel Lee and Allan Poe. Sound familiar? Annabel has lived in Siam most of her life with her mother. Now that her mother passed away, she has come to Philadelphia to live with her father and grandfather. This is quite an adjustment in cultures for Annabel.
She makes good friends with her maid, and her grandfather is very kind. But, her father is grumpy most of the time and makes Annabel feel like he doesn't approve. She also meets Allan and an immediate attraction is apparent. Almost too immediate.
There are a lot of secrets in this house. And Annabel has some of her own. She meets Allan's cousin, Edgar, who also works for her father. But no one will admit he even exists. Her father has a lab in the basement, and Annabel's curiosity and interest in science compels her to investigate. There are mysterious murders happening in Philadelphia.
You can probably see where this is going. It really didn't seem that scary. Kind of a classic horror feel, a la Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which is OK. I enjoyed the references to Poe's work. Allan reads passages from The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and of course Annabel Lee to Annabel as if he's just writing them.
The ending leaves much unresolved since this is the first in a series. Of Monsters and Madness kept my attention easily. The plot moves steadily and is easy to follow. I liked it enough to want to read more in the series. Annabel is a likable character, although she frustrated me at times by making some risky decisions.
Poe fans and lovers of gothic horror will find Of Monsters and Madness very appealing.
Published by EgmontUSA, September 9, 2014
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
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