Rebecca’s Pick: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

91g+KlLfFhLJam knows that there used to be “monsters” in the city of Lucille – monsters being those who did harm to others – but the “angels” eradicated them…right?

Jam discovers more than she could have imagined when she meets Pet, an eerie beast-like being born from a painting. Pet has come into this world to hunt the monsters that remain, and he needs Jam’s help. These monsters don’t really look like monsters, but rather like normal people, so it won’t be an easy feat.

I’m going to say it: this was a weird one. Magical realism at its finest. The reader is not given much backstory of the city of Lucille or what the time period is (or even if the setting is in our world), and the characters are unique in both design and dialogue.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I would like it after getting into the first few pages, but it grew on me, and more importantly, it stuck with me. After I was finished reading Pet, which was fairly short (only a few hundred pages), I found myself thinking about it regularly.

There were a lot of surreal elements that blended with very real issues in an otherworldly way. Pet was a uniquely created character that moved beyond the pages in a tone that was terrifying, calming, patient and eager all at the same time.

Those who enjoyed A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness could find some similarities in style to this novel, though the story line is very different.