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Review: The Monarch Papers: Flora and Fauna by C.J. Bernstein

the monarch papers, cj bernstein, basecamp 33, fantasy, fiction, novel, writing, magic


The Monarch Papers: Flora & Fauna

C.J. Bernstein

In 1982, a reporter stumbles upon a hidden memory that ends up costing him his family and mental stability. In the pursuit of answers; he discovers there is a hidden world of magiq in this novel from C.J. Bernstein, based on the online interactive experience; The Monarch Papers.

This novel tells the story of Martin Rank, who is a freelance reporter. Investigating the recently closed mental institute in New York, Marty finds himself in a room with a pile of books, one of which looks familiar. The symbol recalls some long distant memory from his childhood about a book he can’t now recall or even describe, leaving him haunted. Being the type who follows leads and uncovers truths, Marty searches for answers to this mysterious book, which leads him into the world of Ackerly Green Publishing. But that will be the least of the mysteries, as he tumbles down a very large and deep rabbit hole.

The mystery and magiq of the story is set up instantaneously and the reader is just as curious as to where all this will go and what it will become as the narrator, Martin Rank. Everything is revealed in slow and deliberate sequences, and the introduction of the internet during his investigations only helps to make the book all the more eerie and unknown. Martin’s story gives us a perspective of what happened before Basecamp 33, the online forum to help solve the mystery of Ackerly Green and home of the Mountaineers that popped up in and around 2016. He, as a character, is very human with relatable flaws, and dogged in his determination. The fantasy element of The Monarch Papers: Flora and Fauna is set in a very earthly and concrete environment that, as a whole, offers a unique experience to the reader.

We have, as yet (there is a second volume coming out soon) to see any other world other than the one we currently live in. There have been no distinct portals, no travels to other lands of magic. In fact, the place that may be another realm or possibly the unaltered timeline where magiq still exists, might be incredibly dangerous to go to. This makes things all the more suspenseful, as if turning a corner might reveal a new hidden doorway, or some tiny alleyway might whisper a secret. The Monarch Papers: Flora and Fauna acts as a key that, through a work of fiction, makes the reader see things a bit more magically once they step away from it.

I received an ARC of this book and voluntarily chose to provide a review.

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