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Jennifer Giesbrecht Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Monster of Elendhaven (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jennifer Giesbrecht is a literary fiction author from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has a bachelor’s in history and spent much of her early adult years as a professional street performer. During this time, she also developed a reverent and deep respect for the sea. She is currently an employee of “What Pumpkin Studios,” where she writes games. She had always wanted to be an author and in 2013, she enrolled and attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop. However, she never managed to publish anything as she was too involved in other things. She published her first novel “The Monster of Elendhaven” in 2019 to much popularity and critical acclaim. Her work has been featured in “Imaginarium,” “Nightmare Magazine,” “Apex,” “Stories of Resurrection” and “XIII.”

As a child, she read a lot of fiction particularly when she was in elementary school. Jennifer Giesbrecht above all loved to read JRR Tolkien, though she developed a liking for pulpy fantasy as she grew older. Other fiction that she devoured during this time included “Ballad of Beta-2” and “Empire Star” by Delany, “The Witches” by Roald Dahl, “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens and everything similar to “The Sword and the Sorcerer” anthologies. However, her favorite has always been “The Lord of the Rings.” She found something special in the work when she cracked it open for the first time in the 1990s. The movie only served to enhance her love and appreciation of the magnificence of the fantasy work. Jennifer has also been influenced in her writing by the likes of Samuel R. Delany, Hilary Mantel, Vladimir Nabokov, Victor Hugo, and James Tiptree Jr.

Giesbrecht’s work is characterized by violent tension that is only eased by the vivid descriptions. She is an expert at depicting the town of Elendhaven and its inhabitants in sometimes being lurid and sometimes poetic to make for a truly magical place. Applying practicality and sumptuousness, she brings her talents in her exploration of mythology and world-building to make for some thrilling results. “The Monster of Elendhaven” is more than just a story of nasty humans committing homicide and scary monsters. Jennifer tells of the unspoken reasons that define Johann the lead’s character, and why some of the characters are not afraid of demanding a brutal form of revenge. But in between the gore is a commentary on capitalism, climate change, power, environmental exploitation, privilege, racism, and homophobia. While it is not a novel about social justice, it examines the larger social contexts in which it is set just like any well-written novel of speculative fiction would. In addition to the social contexts, Giesbrecht’s also tells a romance narrative that is just as important as revenge. However, this is not about picnics, flowers, chocolates or flowers but rather of torture conducted with great fervor. Florian loves Johann in a twisted kind of way that makes him test his limits to death. In his turn, Johann relishes these sessions as he loves witnessing the darker aspects of Florian. They are both drawn to the power of the other, relish unanticipated moments of submissiveness and take turns dominating each other. It is a love where they empower and balance each other and then end up in a love story of soulmates who bond over shattered skulls, screams of pain and pools of blood.

Jennifer Giesbrecht first thought of doing Faust in reverse when she started writing “The Monster of Elendhaven.” She wanted to rope the devil into some kind of bad deal with an earthly, dreadfully pathetic figure. But she was more interested in the 19th and 20th-century versions of Faust that include aspects of World Wars, irrationalism, nationalism, and psychoanalysis. The Humanist/Christian themes that underpin the Faustian versions did not hold any interest. As such, she wrote the novel not according to the moral concerns of the Early Modern period. Instead of having an old mythical monster in the devil, she told the story in which the leads are Florian and Johann, two monsters set in the modern world. The inspiration for her setting in Elendhaven was her own hometown of Halifax in Nova Scotia. It is a small isolated town build on a rock, cradled by a foul harbor, buffeted by awful weather with cool shipwrecks covered by meters of silt lying in the deep waters. Just like the volcanic made crater harbor in her fictional town, Halifax had a huge explosion in 1917 that blew a hole in the harbor. The largest man-made explosion that blasted a huge hole in the city informed her description of Elendlaven’s crater made harbor.

“The Monster of Elendhaven” by Jennifer Giesbrecht is set in a world full of cruelty, wickedness, and cruelty which is the perfect place for a monster to be born. The city of Elendhaven came to be when ancient magicians poisoned the sea, split open the earth and in doing so gave birth to a city through violence. Around the devastation wrought by the violence sprang up a city only for it be gradually consumed by the poison. At the time of the birth of the monster or more accurately when the residents learn that the monster is in their midst, the city is slowly and painfully dying. There was never a time when men and small boys could behave so despicably in their thirst for blood and violence. The monster is named Johann and as he ages, his thirst for power grows stronger. He wants to know all about power, including how to grab it from others and how to ensure others never takes it from him. Johann also learns to enjoy killing and how to be a very good killer. He believes that only those with power will survive and he is determined to be the most powerful. But Johann is not the only monster who wants power in Elendhaven as the magical, beautiful and delicate Florian Leickenbloom is also desirous of it. Florian has a dark and bleak nature that would put to shame the putrid waters on the beaches of the city. Florian knows that Johann’s thirst for power is just what he needs to further his own greed for power. When the two meet, they become lovers and combine for a wicked plan to destroy the world that they are willing to die for.

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