Only Monsters Remain
William J. Donohue
JournalStone Publishing (August 25, 2023)
Reviewed by Andrew Byers

Only Monsters Remain masterfully combines cosmic horror, deep character exploration, and the relentless drive of a post-apocalyptic narrative. Donahue’s storytelling prowess shines brightly in this captivating tale that will leave readers spellbound from start to finish.

The novel is centered on Jillian Futch, a former goth girl obsessed with all things morbid, who has traveled to the small town of Pell, Rhode Island, to serve as an apprentice funeral parlor director. Then all hell breaks loose: humanity is quickly replaced at the top of the food chain by an incursion of powerful, cephalopod aliens who shatter human civilization. Jillian, like the few remaining survivors, must cope with the reality of her new situation, all while trying to stay alive and fend off her fellow survivors, who have descended into barbarism and, in a few cases, cannibalism.

The apocalypse that unfolds in Only Monsters Remain is unique and well-imagined. Donahue’s portrayal of tentacled monsters descending from the sky and wreaking havoc upon the world is vivid and visceral. The chaos and destruction are palpable, and you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat as you navigate the nightmarish landscape alongside Jillian and her fellow survivors.

What truly sets this novel apart is its exploration of humanity in the face of unimaginable horror. Donahue delves deep into the human condition, examining the bonds of friendship, the resilience of the human spirit, and the existential questions that arise in the wake of catastrophe. The character dynamics are richly developed, and you’ll find yourself emotionally invested in Jillian’s journey.

One of the standout elements of Only Monsters Remain is Donahue’s prose. His writing is smooth and effortless, both poetic and chilling, creating an atmosphere that lingers long after you’ve turned the last page. The novel’s cosmic horror elements are expertly woven into the narrative, giving it a unique and thought-provoking dimension.

As the story unfolds, unexpected twists and turns keep you engaged and guessing. Donahue’s ability to craft suspense and maintain a sense of impending doom is nothing short of masterful. The narrative is relentless and culminates in an unsettling conclusion.

Only Monsters Remain is a testament to the author’s talent and his ability to deliver a narrative that is both horrifying and, at times, strangely heartwarming. If you’re a fan of cosmic horror or post-apocalyptic fiction with a deep and human touch, this book is a must-read. Prepare to be enthralled by the darkness and moved by the resilience of the human spirit in the face of true monstrosity. Recommended.