Review: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Pet - Akwaeke Emezi - 9780571355112 - Allen & Unwin - Australia


This was pretty much an impulse read. I saw a lot of talk about it in the last couple weeks, I was curious but not enough to disrupt my already messy TBR, then the magical words “it’s short” got mentioned. And sure enough, at only a little over novella length, it’s an astonishingly quick read, but that doesn’t mean it packs any less of a punch.

In a post-revolution, utopian town of Lucille, society has been restructured so that violence and abuse don’t exist anymore. Or at least, that’s how it seems on the surface. When Jam accidentally awakens her mother’s painting, summoning a creature called Pet, she learns that there might still be a monster left. A monster who might be hurting someone she loves. And Pet is there to hunt them.

Did you have to be scary in order to be a hunter?

Pet had called her a hunter too, but Jam didn’t feel like she had the kind of power to make anyone afraid. She was just a regular kid, not some painted-into-life creature whose entire purpose was literally to catch monsters. She didn’t want to fight or be in a new revolution; she was just trying to help her friend in case he was in danger.

The mystery of who the monster is and what did they do was incredibly compelling and kept me turning pages – I can’t resist a good question. And while the book is written in a simple style, accessible to younger readers, there is enough thematic complexity to leave me satisfied.

I felt like the main theme of the book is justice – and how to deal with people who abuse others, commit crimes, and so on. I don’t think I’m skilled enough to sum the whole argument up, but it was nuanced enough for its length and well done and shot through with optimism that yes, while monsters have to be deal with uncompromisingly, people can and do change. It’s a book begging to be discussed.

Apart from that, I liked that Jam’s transition was completely accepted, as was the fact that she both signs and speaks. I liked that there were different kinds of families depicted – from Pet’s, which is just her and her parents, to her friend Redemption’s, which is much larger. I liked the gentleness of the world they are fighting to preserve.

In short, highly recommended.

Enjoyment: 4.5/5
Execution: 4.5/5

Recommended to: those who want a quick and accessible read that nonetheless manages to deal with some heavy issues in a nuanced way, those looking for LGBTQ+ representation and Black characters (thinking of it, I can’t remember a single white person)
Not recommended to: can’t think of any drawbacks

Content warnings: abuse (off-screen)


One thought on “Review: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create your website with
Get started
%d bloggers like this: