The Monster of Selkirk – C.E. Clayton (Review)

Title: The Monster of Selkirk, Book One
Author: C.E. Clayton
Publisher: DevilDog Press, 2017 (April 18)
Genre: YA Fantasy

**I received a copy of this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review**

My Review:

I have to give credit where credit is due…when I agreed to review this book, I didn’t know the cover was so cool. Honestly, you know a lot of indie titles have some cringe-worthy covers…well, this is amazing, tbh. It captures everything in the story without giving away anything throughout the story. 

I’m going to be completely honest here: I had forgotten about this title until the author emailed me and asked about my progress. With the move and then my mom getting laid off (yup, that’s right: the trip to Florida is off bc they let her go three days before she was to start there bc “there isn’t any business…can you imagine what would’ve happened to us if we had moved everything to Florida and then she got laid off?) I haven’t been keeping track of my dates…but I digress. As usual.

I’m so glad Clayton emailed me, because this book was so different than what I’m used to. There’s also another to be released and I can’t wait to read it. 

I’m telling you, indies are blowing thr reg books out of the water!

Let me get to it, and you can tell me what you think:

The book goes chronologically and is told from an Omniscient POV, which was hard to get used to at first, but Clayton does it well. We are brought in during a “Clearing” – a ritual killing of tremps (basically elves that aren’t cute anymore…they’ve gone mad and feral). During this Clearing, a baby gets left behind in the woods…

A woman comes to scavenge the remains of the battle and stumbles across a baby: she is barren but has always wanted a child, so when she finds an abandoned baby girl in the forest, she is thrilled. She takes her home to her husband, a man that’s not exactly happy about raising another’s child. But he wants his wife’s happiness, and she names the girl Tallis.

We see Tallis grow up. She is different than the other children: she is faster and plays like a boy. Her “mother” loves her but her “father” begins to get jealous of Tallis, who steals his wife’s attention…and he grows resentful. Tallis is fair and Noble in appearance, while others around are plain and not bred into beauty, so Tallis gets stared at. The only one willing to spend time with Tallis is her cousin, Donovan. He loves Tallis like a sister and protects her from harm.

As Tallis continues to grow, she notices the stares and feels left out. All she really has is Donovan…and the books in the monastery at night. She is afraid of one day standing at the Bride Block: a place where unmarried women are sold like cattle. It’s a horrifying scene and it reminds Tallis that she must do everything she can to prove her worth and never end up for auction.

I’m sorry…closest I could find (and it’s funny!)

When her father asks Tallis to watch her mother during a scavenge, as he is unable to go, she knows she must come back with her mom or face losing the only home she has. However, tremps ambush the two of them and Tallis must go back to her father with her mother’s corpse. There is one thing she doesn’t mention to her father, knowing that it’s as strange as it sounds…

The tremps don’t talk (they never have as a barbaric race)…but they said one word over and over:


Kinda like this to me…but with pointy teeth

When Tallis realizes she’s not her mother and father’s biological child, she readies herself to find answers…why did the tremps stay behind and kill her mother? Why have they been becoming more aggressive? And where does she fit into all of this? 

Why did they say her name? 

With a band of friends, Tallis goes looking for answers, but hot on her heels are the tremps…and the townsfolk that know all about the only name they continue to whisper….”Tallis.” 

She is wanted…by humans and elves both. 

Is It Classroom-Appropriate?

Yes and no…there’s nothing keeping it out of the classroom: no racy business, no swear words, nothing like that. But I have a hard time picturing a lesson plan use for this book. This is more of a Tolkien-esque read: it’s Epic fantasy for sure, spread out over a period of time. It takes a minute to get involved but once you’re involved, you’re INVOLVED. I found it impossible to break away sometimes. I stayed up late to read until I fell asleep sitting up. It was addicting and the writing was so good. 

I’d recommend it for outside reading for students who are fans of Tolkien/Galbadon/Martin (bear in mind I’ve never read their work, but with the level of detail and world-building, it’s high fantasy for young adults. So I give The Monster of Selkirk ★★★☆☆ for classroom use, which equals:

Yes, you could use it in the curriculum, but there are easier choices. Keep this one recreational as there is a sequel and there could always be more. 

Age Range

Now this isn’t going to be on Lexile. It’s just not. So I’m going with my gut here for age range. I would recommend 13 and up, and ensure that the reader is ambitious and dedicated. This is such a rewarding read, but it’s not really one for a reluctant reader. They might feel overwhelmed with the build up and the exposition. This is great for older YA readers. I know I enjoyed it a lot. It carries some romance but not the kind of romance where it’s the end of the world and the couple isn’t paying attention. This is romance is brief glimpses because, hello, they are being chased by evil elves! I don’t think a candlelight dinner would work while you’re being hunted, just sayin,

End Result:

O. M. G. THIS WAS SO GOOD. It has stuck with me for several days (I finished it days ago and I still cannot stop wondering what is going to happen next! Here’s the cover for the second book and I love it so much!

So awesome. Awesome.

Anyway, I read this after Black Dawn and before Hunted, and I still can’t get over it. This book sticks with you. You get to know every character intimately bc of the Omniscient POV, and it ends on an insanely good cliffhanger. Well, not so much a cliffhanger as one of those “Dun dun dun” moments. You know?

So I HAVE TO give The Monster of Selkirk ★★★★★…or…

Funny, because one The Valiant got five stars for classroom use and three stars overall…and this book gets three stars for classroom use and five stars overall…it’s just how it works, bloggerinis! Sometimes a book can be awesome and just not fit into the curriculum, and sometimes a book fits the curriculum perfectly but isn’t quite as awesome of a read. I loved this book, and I can see many YA readers enjoying it as well. 

Hopefully as much as I did! 

What’s your next book adventure? Mine is writing more reviews bc I’m super-behind!

33 thoughts on “The Monster of Selkirk – C.E. Clayton (Review)

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    1. It really is! I was surprised bc most of the time I go into a book with a critical eye…but this one just made me want to find out more and more! I usually don’t like the whole Omniscient narrator (you know, the narrator that can speak for any character), but all these characters were unique, and Tallis was always the MC.
      She’s sending me book two soon, and I honestly didn’t want to read anything else afterwards! 😂


    1. I’m glad you think so! It was amazing! I am seriously, like, surprised that I’ve been reading these wonderful books that even have covers that make them stand out! This, to me, could be a regular YA release and people would love it. I haven’t read the ToG series, but with the evil elves and the magic, I would think this would compare to some popular high fantasy!
      I hope you get a chance to read it…maybe we can do another giveaway? 😏😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow this sounds like an amazing book Stephanie, and you’re right the cover is beyond amazing as well. I imagine it would look even better sitting next to the cover for the second book on your bookshelves! 😀
    I’m glad you enjoyed this one, it does sound like a pretty epic fantasy, and while it’s a shame there isn’t as much use for it in the classroom five stars is an amazing rating!
    Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Beth! I always am excited for your comments!
      I don’t have the physical book yet, but she told me that if I liked it, she would send me book one and the next book for the library! I’m so jazzed bc it left off and I was like, MORE!! Lol!
      I think you’d like this one…I just finished Hunted, and that was slow compared to this one. I only will be giving that one four at most. I wish the buzz that surrounds great indie books would help them get released into bookstores!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and yeah I feel the same about seeing your comments! 😀
        Oh that is good news, and in that case I hope the books arrive quickly so you can get started on the second ASAP! It’s always tough to wait when books end of cliffhangers isn’t it?
        I have Hunted on my to-read list for this week. I am kind of excited to get started but yeah I’ve heard from other reviewers about the slow start so I expect that going in. Wonder if that’ll help when it comes to rating it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh yes, I’m eager to resume the story so much!
      Yes. The book reminds me of Robin McKinley’s writing: very flowery, very long and described. It takes awhile for it to develop and then sometimes you almost want to push the MC along. If you have patience, which I know you do (bc we are similar readers), it pays off. It’s somehow the same story but different and it’s done brilliantly. I think I am giving it four stars bc I while it was good, it’s not my favorite book ever. But it was memorable. And that keeps the three and four stars separate IMO.
      I still also have to review the second HP and Black Dawn (which had a rough start and then only got cool near the middle)…but I’m thinking Three for that one bc I can barely remember it. And that’s how I know: I like taking time in-between to review a book so I’m not high on that “just finished a book” feeling.
      You know what I’m referring to? That rush from just completing a book so it seems like it was better than it really was?
      I’ll need to write a review a day until I’m caught up since April is almost over!! 🙀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then I hope the second book is as good as the first one was.
        I haven’t read many of Robin McKinley’s book, if I’ve read any, but I think I remember you saying they’ve been hit and miss for you depending of the story. Obviously that one was kind of a hit for you (four stars after all), and yeah I find for me it really depends on the book but you enjoying it is a good sign.
        I can’t wait to see your review for the next HP book, and I know that feeling. I’ve ended up changing some of my reviews because of it in a way, looking back it wasn’t as good as I first though right away when I finished. It’s why it’s good to wait. Also yeah I can’t believe how fast this year is flying by. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I KNOW!! It’s the end of APRIL!! All those book releases that seemed so far away and now ACOWAR will be out in a couple weeks! I remember when it seemed like it would take forever! Time sure flies when you’re reading books! 😲

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Oh, my gosh. I didn’t know you didn’t end up moving to Florida! I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s getting laid off. That is so rough! I am so excited for you that you found such a great indie book! Those are definitely diamonds in the rough. I’ll have to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a good one, that’s for sure!
      Yes, it’s been rough. She’s more stressed out than usual. She snaps at me more and it sucks.
      I just hope she finds something soon…in the meantime, I’m trying to pull in what I can.
      It’ll hopefully be ok. Trying to be positive!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope she finds something too. I’m a corporate recruiter by profession here in UT, so if she needs anyone to give her pointers on her resume, let me know. I’m happy to take a look. You guys will get through this! Hang in there, my friend!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay! It’s VERY interesting!
      I’m on the edge of my seat for book two. 😊😊😊
      It’s really good if you ever get a chance to check it out…maybe I can ask CE if she’s willing to do a giveaway! 🤔


    1. Yes! Students love to read books that aren’t educational, don’t they, lol?
      It’s just funny.
      But this one is really good and though I find a good one once in awhile like Heir of Illaria, it always surprises me when I find one this good! I can’t stop raving about it! And originally I was only reading it bc I agreed to review it (totally thought it would end up as a DNF), but I think it’s one of my faves now!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Do you know if this is a loose retelling? Because it vaguely calls to mind a fairy tale I read when I was younger about a woman who finds a baby in the woods and brings it home only for her husband to get really jealous over that fact. I can’t even remember the name or how it ends but this premise sounds so familiar to me. Anyway! I really like the sound of this book. I’ve never read a book with elves before and it sounds darkish so I’m officially intrigued. I’ll definitely be adding it to my TBR. Great review as always, Stephanie!! 😊♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you as always, and you make me blush as usual! ☺️☺️☺️
      I DO remember a fairy tale that starts like that…but like you, I don’t remember what happens to the girl or what the name of it was. She never mentioned the book being a Retelling and to me, I vaguely recall that it was prob a lost princess story (lost child found in the woods, maybe dad tries to kill her? I’m just not sure…) I have so many books of fairy tales and Princess stories (one is literally called “A Book of Princess Stories”) so they all are muddled in my brain.
      I mainly remember Grimm’s fairy tales ruining my images of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White from my Disney movies!!
      I guess I’ll have to ask her if there was some inspiration for any of it, but I will say it was super original and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!! 😊
        I’m glad I wasn’t just imagining it sounding vaguely familiar. Either a princess story or maybe even something to do with faeries or greek mythology. I can’t remember at all either. I just know it sounds so familiar! 😂 I’ve read a lot of fairy tales too though so I get what you mean. After a while they get all mixed up.
        I’ve never read the Grimm’s fairy tales though, I think. At least not the originals. Only the watered down ones or the Disney remakes. 🙈
        You should so ask her because I’m really curious about it now lol. Let me know what she says!

        Liked by 1 person

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