Book Reviews

Review: Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah

Expecting a story about rebellion with Hunger Games vibes, I was not disappointed in Monsters Born and Made. High paced and danger fueled scenarios await. Plus there’s fabulous character dynamics and I couldn’t help but love Koral. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Sixteen-year-old Koral and her older brother Emrik risk their lives each day to capture the monstrous maristags that live in the black seas around their island. They have to, or else their family will starve.

In an oceanic world swarming with vicious beasts, the Landers―the ruling elite, have indentured Koral’s family to provide the maristags for the Glory Race, a deadly chariot tournament reserved for the upper class. The winning contender receives gold and glory. The others―if they’re lucky―survive.

When the last maristag of the year escapes and Koral has no new maristag to sell, her family’s financial situation takes a turn for the worse and they can’t afford medicine for her chronically ill little sister. Koral’s only choice is to do what no one in the world has ever dared: cheat her way into the Glory Race.

But every step of the way is unpredictable as Koral races against contenders―including her ex-boyfriend―who have trained for this their whole lives and who have no intention of letting a low-caste girl steal their glory. When a rebellion rises and rogues attack Koral to try and force her to drop out, she must choose―her life or her sister’s―before the whole island burns.

She grew up battling the monsters that live in the black seas, but it couldn’t prepare her to face the cunning cruelty of the ruling elite.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: SC domestic abuse

I was expecting a high stakes Hunger Games book, but what I wasn’t expecting was a story about caste systems, class, and rebellion. From the beginning, I fell in love with the world in Monsters Born and Made. It is detailed, rich, and immersive. While it can take a bit for you to grasp the intricacies of the culture – as well as the history – once I did, I was in awe. Monsters Born and Made is a story about a girl who must fight for everything and against these complex forces of prejudice and hatred.

In a world where people will do anything to keep others down, to fight amongst themselves, Koral is determined to win the Glory Races and save her family. But with this background of rebellion and unrest, Koral will have to realize that everything isn’t as separate as she thinks. That some monsters are born and some are made. That it’s about the choices we make in the moment that define us. And how understanding someone is one degree away from empathy, from excuses.

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Monsters Born and Made is a story about gilded cages, abusive toxicity across all groups, and the possibility of escape. It’s about exploring what happens if we let our anger consume us. About realizing that not all of us are destined to be heroes, to choose to sacrifice to fight for something larger than us. And that sometimes we have no choice. I’ll be here for your screams and messages when you get to the ending. Find Monsters Born and Made for anyone who loves dystopias, deadly games, and rebellion on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite book that gives you Hunger Games vibes?

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