Wednesday, February 21, 2024

*Review* The Man or the Monster by Aamna Qureshi


Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Published: August 30, 2022
Pages: 450

She made her decision. Now she has to live with it.

Durkhanai Miangul sealed her lover’s fate when she sent him through a door where either a lady or a lion awaited him. But her decision was only the beginning of her troubles. Durkhanai worries that she might not be the queen her people need or deserve when conflict threatens her kingdom.

Her presumed-dead father comes back with a vengeance and wishes she join him in his cause. But her family’s denial of his revenge forces Durkhanai to take matters into her own hands and she must decide whether to follow the traditions of her forefathers or forge a new path on her own.

I received a copy of this audiobook through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

I went into this book not realizing that it was the second book in a duology. This means that there was a lot of background information that readers are expected to have that I didn't. For instance, I have no idea why Asfandyar was in the arena facing the challenge in the first place. I can make some assumptions based on what happens in The Man or the Monster, but I don't know for sure. Which also means there are aspects of the court intrigue that I just don't have a full understanding of. But while I was listening to this audiobook, it didn't actually occur to me that it might be a sequel. I honestly kind of assumed I'd get some flashbacks to see where things went wrong between Durkhanai and Asfandyar. In spite of the missing background information, I felt like I understood the way this world worked as much as I was supposed to at the time, now I'm not so sure that's true. 

This story was told from a few different perspectives, which allowed me to see a broad range of the events as they were happening, but also led to frustration as certain characters were clearly unnecessarily at odds with each other, they just didn't know that. I do feel like this approach helped me to feel less lost by coming into the tale halfway through. 

The narration was a little rough for me at first, trying to listen through the accent, but once I got used to that, it sounded perfect. It helped to transport me across the world to another land and pulled me into the story. 

Overall I give The Man or the Monster 4.2875 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

Aamna Qureshi is a Pakistani, Muslim American who adores words. She grew up in a very loud household, surrounded by English (for school), Urdu (for conversation), and Punjabi (for emotion). Through her writing, she wishes to inspire a love for the beautiful country and rich culture that informed much of her identity. When she's not writing, she loves to travel to new places where she can explore different cultures or to Pakistan where she can revitalize her roots. She also loves baking complicated desserts, drinking fancy teas and coffees, watching sappy rom-coms, and going for walks about the estate (her backyard). She currently lives in New York. Look for her on IG @aamna_qureshi and Twitter @aamnaqureshi_ and at her website

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