Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves pl...

Review || The Monster of Selkirk - The Duality of Nature by C.E. Clayton

Monsters come in many forms, and not everyone knows a monster when they see one. After three hundred years of monstrous, feral elves plaguing the island nation of Selkirk, everyone believes they know what a monster is. Humans have learned to live with their savage neighbors, enacting a Clearing every four years to push the elves back from their borders. The system has worked for centuries until after one such purge, a babe was found in the forest.
As Tallis grows, she discovers she isn’t like everyone else. There is something a little different that makes people leery in her presence, and she only ever makes a handful of friends. 
But when the elves gather their forces and emerge from the forests literally hissing Tallis’s name like a battle mantra, making friends is the least of her troubles. Tallis and her companions find themselves on an unwilling journey to not only clear her name, but to stop the elves from ravaging her homeland.

The cover initially drew me to The Monster of Selkirk. That's a gorgeous cover! There are so many elements that are revealed on that cover without giving anything away about the story. 

An epic coming of age type story, it follows Talis, our MC of obscure origins. Found as a babe in the woods, we follow Talis from her mysterious beginnings into adulthood. She's an outsider, not many friends and despised by her own adopted father. She does have a few close to her though: A cousin who teaches her combat and weaponry, a friend who shows her the art of pickpocketing, and another an initiate at the monastery who helps share written knowledge with her. A motley crew for sure!  While the story skips POV frequently, you don't get lost, thankfully, as the breaks are clearly identified. It's not my most favorite writing style as you know, but at least I didn't have to keep going back to figure out where the story was. 

It did, however, take a while to really get engrossed in the story. There's so much in the way of worldbuilding and getting to know the characters and the region really took time. Once we got past that bit and learned the characters more, it was a fun adventure! All of her friends bring something different to the table and their friendship really rounds out things. And the feral elves! Creepy, creepy. I wanted more of those moments. It's written so vividly. I can't wait to delve deeper into their story.

Like the cover, this is one book that keeps its secrets close, which means it ends in a cliffhanger. Wah wah! While we do learn a few things nearer the end, there's so much more to be explored. Luckily, the sequel is available for binge reading!

The Heart of the Forest
C.E. Clayton
(The Monster of Selkirk, #2)
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Tallis is learning how to deal with loss and violence as she and her friends traverse the forests of Selkirk trying to find the reason behind the elven uprising. Not to mention why they keep hissing her name. But the further into the forests they go, Tallis is finding that the elves’ depravity can still surprise her, and thoroughly test the bonds of friendship, family, and love.

Tallis’s journey eventually leads to answers they’re not prepared for. Now Tallis begins to wonder just who she really is, and if she’s the evil that will end up destroying Selkirk. But she cannot stop to process these revelations, as an unforeseen betrayal lands those she loves at the feet of the very monster responsible for all the hurt, and heartbreak.

Coming face to face with her foe, Tallis discovers all too late she has no idea how to deal with this level of pain, and death. One way or another, the monster’s path ends here, and all Tallis can hope to do is bring those she loves safely out of the heart of the forest.

About the Author

C. E. Clayton was born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area, where she attended the University of Southern California (Fight On!) for both her Bachelors and Masters, and then worked in the advertising industry for several years on accounts ranging from fast food, to cars, and video games (her personal favorite). After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love–writing–and hasn’t stopped. She is now the author of “The Monster of Selkirk” series and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, social media presence, and newsletter, can be found on her website:

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