Clara Mandrake’s Monster by Ibrahim S Amin

A girl’s not-so-imaginary monster helps her escape from murderous religious fanatics.

Young Clara has nightmares and a monster in her wardrobe. Which, in a world where monsters are real could be bad enough, but her whole village is also about to be slaughtered by a warrior tribe. Thanks to her monster, she and her best friend escape the massacre and head for safety. Unfortunately, she’s still being hunted by bad guys. And there are monster hunters in the area too.

I wasn’t keen on this at the start: a number of independent point-of-view characters are introduced rather quickly, and while the writing and editing is good, it’s trying a bit too hard in places. It’s worth persevering with — once the plot kicks off it’s engaging enough and a lively read, though on the dark and gory side.

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