Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (208 pages)
“Pet” Is A Creature Born Of Paint And Blood
In Lucille, monsters are a thing of the past. They existed once, well before Jam and her best friend, Redemption, were born. One afternoon, Jam ventures into her mother’s studio to look at her latest painting, and accidentally cuts herself. When a drop of Jam’s blood lands on the painting, a creature emerges. The gold-feathered being—who asks to be called Pet—has come to hunt a monster, one that lurks in the house of Redemption. Jam’s parents tell her to send the creature back, but instead, she hides Pet. To protect her best friend, Jam hunts the monster alongside Pet, uncovering a terrible truth that haunts her seemingly-perfect city.
A Timeless Fairy Tale With A Timely Message
Pet is both mystery and fantasy, but reads like a timeless fairy tale. It encapsulates many genres at once, while still being thoroughly modern. Jam lives in Lucille, a city free of monsters, but we don’t know where that city is, or when she’s living, or if it’s even in our world. Yet, Pet reminds us of the importance of paying attention, no matter if the times are troubling or (seemingly) calm. Angels can appear as monsters, monsters can look like angels, and “the truth does not change whether it is seen or unseen.”
Also, the story is thoughtful yet thought-provoking. After Jam’s parents tell her to send the monster back, she struggles with her decision to let him stay. Emezi doesn’t skim the surface of Jam’s thought process, but dives deep into her concerns. What does it mean that a monster-like creature has come to hunt a monster in Lucille, a supposedly monster-free city? And how does one save the world from monsters when no one will admit they exist? Those are just two questions that are explored deeply in this powerful novel.
The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars
Pet is a quick read, but one that will stick with me. Read this one if you’re craving a modern, fantastical fairy tale or if you need a dose of bravery to keep fighting the monsters.
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Jamie Mitchell is a writer, library assistant, former bookseller, and all-around lover of the written word. She’s currently working on her fifth novel, and if you’re wondering where the other four are, they’re safe on her laptop and in need of rewriting. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, and enjoys traveling, bookstagramming and experimenting with gluten-free flours.
Favourite book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Favourite brunch spot: 1823 Bakehouse