Hello friends! I’m so stoked to be sharing this post today, because it’s about Rebecca Schaeffer, aka one of my favorite authors, and her Market of Monsters series.
Before we get into it, I’ve done similar posts for Talia Hibbert, Alyssa Cole, and Lucy Parker three romance authors I love to the moon and back. You can check those posts out by clicking on their names. 💜
Now that that slight self-promo is out of the way, let me introduce you to Not Even Bones, the first book in Market of Monsters.
Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.
But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again.
Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.
four reasons to read the series
it’s one of the darkest series I’ve ever read
I’ve seen a lot of books promise to be dark, disturbing and twisted, but most of them never quite deliver on those promises. Rebecca Schaeffer, however, goes there; not once, not twice, but over and over again. She does not shy away from gore and torture; but more than that she tells characters’ stories who would, without doubt, be the villains in most novels.
“Piece after piece went into little glass jars. Fingernails were pried off and dropped into vials with little clinks. Hair was shaved off and tied with a ribbon. The skull was sawed off and the brain scooped out, and portioned into little Tupperware containers like a zombie’s lunch.”Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
Nita grew up dissecting supernatural beings her mother kills, so the family can sell these body parts on the black market. It’s a bit of a strange job, but Nita enjoys the hell out of it; so much so that she struggles when she is unable to dissect anyone for a while. Kovit is a zannie, an unnatural who feeds on people’s pain. Technically, he could find the pain he needs to survive without hurting anyone – e.g. in hospitals – but instead he has mastered the art of torture.
Nita and Kovit are characters I wouldn’t want to meet with at night – scratch that, I wouldn’t want to meet them, period – yet, I couldn’t help but love them. Schaeffer has given these characters so many layers that, on some level, I couldn’t help but root for them. They do the creepiest, most disturbing shit, yet they have complex emotions and aspirations and are struggling through life just like everyone else is. It’s an entirely new look at villains, at morally grey characters and Schaeffer does an amazing job of giving them depth without romanticizing their cruel deeds.
the main characters are incredible
Nita and Kovit are captivating to read about. Nita could already be considered a morally gray character when the novel starts, but she believes herself to be a good person, and for the most part, she is. She is someone who decides to set her mother’s captive free despite being utterly terrified of how her mother will react. However, she pays dearly for this decision and what comes after her kidnapping drastically influences her character development. Kovit, on the other hand, is a fully formed villain by the time he appears in the novel and he is not about to apologize for the decisions he’s made.
Luring those men in and killing them made her feel powerful, in a twisted sort of way. In control.Only Ashes Remain
Due to these differences, they change and evolve in different ways, but neither is less fascinating then the other. I think my favorite part of the series is seeing the lines they draw for themselves – we see how crossing lines they never thought they would affects them, and how these lines also change throughout the series as they try to find where their morals stand.
the world is bloody fascinating
Throughout the series Schaeffer keeps broadening the world, giving us more and more details without info-dumping. We’re constantly learning new things about the unnaturals and about how this society works, and as this is happening we – and Nita – are faced with new information that changes our original opinion.
A great example is a question/issue one of the characters asked/raised towards the end of the second book. It puts a lot of things into a new perspective, and made my view of this world evolve a bit. As the story progresses I’m sure Nita will dig deeper into this issue, which is something I’m very curious to see.
the diverse cast and social commentary
A big part of the cast, including our main characters, are people of color, and the books also touch on topics relevant to our world, such as racism, privilege and how English speakers can act towards speakers of other languages. All of this is addressed in a nuanced and real way, and having real world issues mixed with this fantasy world’s issues was incredible, especially when most of the fantasy world’s issues also serve as apt social commentaries.
Quick note: I’m reading this back and I’m not sure if I’m tired, or if that sentence is a bit messy, but I hope y’all get what I mean.
discover bonus content
🖤 Rebecca Schaeffer talked about how she creates truly morally gray characters; see it here.
🖤 In this interview she discussed her inspiration for the series, her favorite character(s), and other fun things.
🖤 She gave an interview to The Rose Quinn Podcast, which you can listen to on Spotify here, or whenever you listen to podcasts.
Do you enjoy darker, grittier fantasy? Do you have any recommendations (YA or Adult)? Have you read Market of Monsters?