Zoey Donovan is an empath. More importantly, she is a caretaker — of sorts. See, it turns out that the monster whom she thought was living in her closet when she was a child … well, he really was living in her closet. The monster is real. So are all the other monsters. And once they find out that Zoey can see and hear them, and that she has no interest in killing them and mounting their heads on her wall, and that she’s really good at solving problems and mediating disputes … well, her life gets a heck of a lot more complicated. Today is no different, when she finds a half-satyr, half-dryad baby abandoned in her backyard ….
Okay, this was fun. Really cool characters, detailed world-building, a bit of action, and no romance (at least for Zoey). Zoey has a lot going for her: she is smart and compassionate, and at least tries to do the right thing, even when those around her are telling her that it is impossible. She’s also strong enough to admit when she is wrong and rely on her friends for help.
Maurice is Zoey’s closet monster, and her best friend. Tall, gangly, and a fan of clashing colors, he also has a few secrets that he hopes Zoey never discovers. Phil is Maurice’s brother-in-law, a gentle gargoyle currently in the middle of a painful divorce; as such, he is crashing with Zoey and Maurice. He also has a completely different grasp of English than anyone else (“Garden apples are jogging away.”), resulting in much confusion on Zoey’s part. And then there is Iris, Zoey’s skunk-ape bodyguard, who lives in the woods behind her house.
Oh, and did I mention the herd of very randy satyrs living the mountains outside of town?
Yeah, as I said, a lot of fun. This short story is a great introduction to the full Monster Haven universe. Check it out, and then go read the novels.
Recommended to fans of Meghan Ciana Doidge’s Dowser series, Kate Baray’s Spirelli Paranormal Investigations, Deborah Blake’s Baba Yaga books, and Jenn Stark’s Immortal Vegas series.
[Rebecca Buchanan is the editor of EHS.]