Reviews & Interviews

Book Review – How to Unpeel a Monster by Nimue Brown

Book Review

How to Unpeel a Monster

by Nimue Brown

Self-published, June 2020



This evocatively named poetry collection from Nimue Brown is one of my favourite books of the year so far. This volume offers over forty deeply personal poems on themes of lust, love, and the meaning of monsters.

I was delighted to receive this digital volume with its striking cover art. I love poetry. I love writing poetry, reading poetry, and have just recently started going to lockdown-friendly poetry events online so was definitely in the frame of mind for enjoying a new poetry book.

Even if I had not been in this frame of mind, even had I not read or heard a poem for the past decade, this new book would have left me feeling inspired and reflective. It’s difficult to dive too deeply into poems in a review without spoiling the lovely surprises that are in store! But I can say that Nimue’s style is highly accessible; there is no pretension and none of the “trying too hard” that can spoil a poetry collection. Every piece is infused with genuine feeling, whether that’s exploring the sexiness of consent, the depths of old love, or the joys of the natural world and its wildness.

The theme of monsters and the different meanings of what is considered monstrous reappear throughout the book. The first poem is the title of the book, and skin is removed like layers, or perhaps layers are removed like skin. Vulnerability and the feeling of being exposed are as raw as the subject, cleverly built around the idea of a monster that has created a skin to protect and isolate.

Soul Retrieval is my favourite poem currently, although that changes daily. The feeling of missing something not experienced, until you experience it, then realising it was always something you were missing… I’ve never read anything before that captures that feeling so eloquently.

I will return to this book again and again, because these poems aren’t there to be consumed then forgotten. They need to exist and be replayed, like favourite songs, or beloved memories.

You can get Nimue’s book direct from the author by commenting over at this blog post. There’s also some intriguing info about how the cover picture was composed!

Nimue Brown is a prolific author, with at least ten other books available to buy ranging from volumes on modern paganism like When a Pagan Prays to the fabulous graphic novel series, Hopeless Maine. Nimue is an active member of the pagan and druid community and the blog, Druid Life, is always packed with relevant insight.

You can support Nimue’s work over at Patreon or Ko-fi, and Nimue also has a Bandcamp page of beautiful words and music.


To Purchase Book Click Here.


About the Author:

Mabh Savage is a Pagan author, poet and musician, as well as a freelance journalist.

She is the author of A Modern Celt: Seeking the Ancestors & Pagan Portals – Celtic Witchcraft: Modern Witchcraft Meets Celtic Ways.