Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.
Content Warning: parental death, graphic death, body horror, violence, religious abuse, discussions of genocide; instances of homophobia, transphobia, misgendering, and deadnaming
Thank you to TBR and Beyond Tours and author Andrew Joseph White for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I loved loved loved this book. Ever since the author posted on twitter saying that he drew inspiration from Dead Space, I just knew that I had to read this book. I am a huge fan of horror games and I don’t often get the chance to read books with similar themes. I think that White does a phenonmenal job of blending dystopia and horror and introducing us to the world that he has created.
I really enjoyed Benji’s interactions with the rest of the characters in the ALC. Each character was so unique and I felt that this diverse and inclusive cast of characters was just so perfect along with the relationships they had with one another. A lot of voices received represention within this book and it made me so thankful that I got the chance to read it.
The story itself was also super gory and frightening and I loved every minute of it. Learning about Benji’s background and where he came from in the form of anecdotes sprinkled within the story helped to really ground how terrible the cult he escaped actually was. I also really appreciated the detail of the monsters present within the story. It definitely made this book hard to put down.
Meet the Author
Andrew Joseph White is a queer, trans author from Virginia, where he grew up falling in love with monsters and wishing he could be one too. He is a graduate student in George Mason University’s Creative Writing program and has a habit of cuddling random street cats. Andrew writes about trans kids with claws and fangs, and what happens when they bite back.
He is represented by Zabé Ellor of the Jennifer de Chiara Literary Agency. Author photo by Alice Scott.
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