Someone You Can Build a Nest In

322 pages

English language

Published April 2, 2024 by DAW.

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5 stars (2 reviews)

Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance—from the perspective of the monster—by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell

Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she's fallen in love.

Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth.

However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside …

4 editions

Someone You Can Build a Nest In

5 stars

This book was fantastic. The setup is that shapeshifting, people-eating, amorphous blob Shesheshen is rescued by overly kind Homily, believing Shesheshen to be a person. Ironically, Homily comes from a monstrously toxic family of wyrm hunters, who are all out to kill Shesheshen specifically, while not realizing that Shesheshen is said monster. (Hijinks ensue.)

It's a story that deals with passing and masking--Shesheshen works really hard at trying to be a person, physically and socially assembled from what she can scavenge. She's got a wry non-human perspective that's especially biology-focused, like how to form legs and have a humanish shape, the tricky mechanics of eating with your mouth closed, and the overwhelmingness of smells and noises.

This book also deals with physically and emotionally abusive family, and how hard it is to struggle through trauma, no matter how much you are being hurt. Also, as you might expect, this …


  • American literature