Monsters We Have Made by Lindsey Starck: Captivating and Insightful

A poignant and evocative novel that explores the bounds of familial love, the high stakes of parenthood, and the tenuous divide between fiction and reality.


Thirteen years ago, Sylvia Gray’s young daughter, Faye, attacked her babysitter in order to impress the Kingman, a monster she and her best friend had encountered on the Internet. When the now twenty-three-year-old Faye goes missing, leaving her toddler behind, Sylvia launches a search that propels her back into the past and back into the Kingman’s orbit. With the help of her estranged husband and a sister she hasn’t spoken to in years, Sylvia draws dangerously closer not only to Faye, but also to the truth about the monster that once inspired her. Will Sylvia be able to reach her daughter before history repeats itself? Or will it be Sylvia, this time, who loses her grip on reality and succumbs to the dark powers of this monstrous fiction?

In Monsters We Have Made by Lindsey Starck, the author builds a captivating and insightful narrative that explores parental love, myths, and fiction in exciting and complex ways. From the very beginning of the book, I found myself intrigued by Sylvia and Faye, the difficult choices Sylvia has made and how vivid the narrative is as the story unfolds.

One of the elements I found the most profound was what lengths a parent will go to for their child in showing their love for that child but also the limits that parents must build, the guilt and blame taken on for the actions of that child. All of this complexity is brilliantly explored in Monsters We Have Made. I also love the layering of the depths, the line between fiction and myth as we gain insight into Faye’s piece of the story. Not only does the story explore Sylvia’s love for Faye but also Faye’s love for her own daughter. 

In the midst of the choices that both women make are also the choices that others have made, both Sylvia’s ex-husband, Faye’s father and also the actions of her best friend. Choices and action are explored thoroughly in this story, especially as it relates to redemption and blame. And I especially love the idea of the supernatural being in the minds of the public. Is the Kingman real? That is a question readers will have to decide for themselves, at least as it relates to Faye and Sylvia. 

If you like poignant and evocative stories that are captivating and insightful, I do recommend this story. Part supernatural, part familial love, it explores love in new and intriguing ways. It explores the dividing line between reality and fiction and even at the end, it will have you wondering what is real and what is fiction. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 shadowy shapes 

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