Monstrous: Gloam – Lily Mayne
When a strange woman shows up outside our camp in the Wastes with monsters chained up to her RV, it feels like I’m the only one who actually wants to help them.
That big, grey-skinned monster with the cage on his head and the chain hanging from his back—something is telling me I need to help him. I need to free him. But I have absolutely no idea how I’m supposed to do that, especially when he can’t even talk to me to tell me how.
Collector Mary is finally leaving our camp to head back to her monster menagerie, so I do the only thing I can think of to help him. I go with her.
Now, this big beastie and I are traveling companions for the foreseeable future. Now I just have to think of a way to get that cage off his head, which seems like an impossible task. But I’m not giving up. He has no one else, and when I start to discover who he is beneath the cage, my motivation to free him becomes far more than just a desire to help.
This is so dangerous. The military is lurking. Vicious monsters are lurking. And when Mary turns out to be even worse than we could have ever imagined, my desperate bid to save this monster turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to die out here.
Gloam is Book Four of the Monstrous series, a post-apocalyptic m/m fantasy series that features monsters and human men falling in love. It is best to read the series in order. Warning: This m/m love story contains explicit sexual content and is not suitable for young readers. It also contains graphic depictions of torture and violence.
Gloam started with a thirsty young raider, Rig, lusting over the muscles of a huge, grey-skinned monster chained to an RV with a cage over his head. The antoran, along with two other beasties, were captives of a sinister human named Collector Mary. Feeling sorry for the big guy, Rig set out to free the beastie, and he was prepared to take all the risks, including leaving the raider camp and going with Collector Mary.
We know Rig from Book 3, The Rycke, as Ghost’s impulsive best friend. He’s the camp’s mechanic, good at fixing stuff, hence the name. Rig is also naive and doesn’t have much experience outside the camp, so I was looking forward to see how our boy survives the Wastes.
Risking his life, limb, and sanity, Rig’s pursuit to free Gloam took him through the Wastes, cannibal cults, the military, Mary’s vile thoughts, and more monsters. It was an adventure as exciting and suspenseful as the others, if a bit less action-packed. The story focused more on building Gloam and Rig’s relationship, which developed beautifully.
At the heart of it all is a pure-hearted young man who is very determined to do the right thing because nobody, not even beasties, deserves to be abused. What gripped me the most was that Rig broke down, bawled like a baby, and blubbered like an idiot, but never, ever stopped trying to free Gloam. Even before Gloam could talk to him, and even before falling in love with the beastie! Our boy is a fluffy marshmallow with a core of steel!
Gloam spent most of the story unable to speak, but Rig deviced a clever way for them to communicate. The big beastie might be super brawny, but he’s also surprisingly cultured and scholarly. His voice really showed off that gentle side of him! I recommend audiobooking this and the other books because Michael Lesley is giving us his best voices in this series!
I loved the big guy! Gloam is one of the sweetest characters in the entire series who kept his innate goodness intact despite being betrayed by his own family, and forced to do the worst, most stomach-churning tasks by his captors, like impaling people in spits while still alive. He didn’t even seek revenge! Gloam has a calming energy that grounds Rig. They are a perfect match!
There are some loose threads that I hope the author will pick up in future books. Something needs to be done about the cannibal cult! These are the assholes who forced Gloam to do the above-mentioned crime. I hope Samson, the reluctant cult member, gets his own book or will be able to escape. He’s another good guy trapped in a hellish situation. I hope we meet the intriguing beasties from Mary’s menagerie again.
Gloam is an emotional tale of determination and kindness, a rousing dystopian adventure, and a tender romance that beat the odds. Overall, a moving portrait of the worst and best of humans and monsters.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
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Run Wild by John Tibbs for a book about a captive lion and the pure-hearted boy who came out of nowhere to set him free.
That there’s no escaping
This pain I found
Is a war that’s raging
Will you turn it around
Cause I need saving
Do you hear the sound
Of a heart that’s aching
Here I stand
I surrender it all
Run wild in my soul
Set a fire to the cold