Friday, October 28, 2011

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):   This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .
This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

And here's what I thought:  I had been waiting for this book ever since I first heard about it, and thus had set myself up to expect a really great read.  And that's what I got: a really great read ... that broke my heart at the end.   I don't want to spoil anything for you, but what I will say is this:  this book is one of the best stories I have read this year.  Maybe in the last few years.  It's not very long, but I found myself thinking a lot about it once I would close the pages for the night (I read this before bed over a few nights).   Conor's an interesting character: he's funny, and he's frustrating, and he's real.   There were moments in this story when I would think, okay, it's all going to turn out just fine, don't worry ....  and then I would keep worrying.

That's not to say that this is an awful, sad book.  It is sad, but it has thoughtful moments, and bits of light that shine through. 

Patrick Ness (The Knife of Never Letting Go, etc) wrote this book based on a story by Siobhan Dowd.  He also wrote a lovely introduction to the book, where he tells us a bit about her, and why he wrote the book.   I almost felt like this introduction was a story unto itself, and I re-read it more than once.

And let me say a bit about the illustrations that appear throughout this story --- they are awesome.  Definitely evocative and emotional, they make this book -- without it, it would be a good story, and a good book; with them, it becomes something awesome.

First sentences:  The monster showed up just after midnight.  As they do.  Conor was awake when it came.  He'd had a nightmare.  Well, not a nightmare.  The nightmare.  The one he'd been having a lot lately.  The one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming.

Thoughts on the cover:  Perfectly suits the story.  'Nuff said.


AubrieAnne said...

I have a couple Patrick Ness books on my shelf, but I have yet to read any of them. This encourages me a bit though. Hopefully, the others are just as good.


Amanda Makepeace said...

Added to my TBR list!

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Please note that I am officially designating this blog an award-free zone. Thank you!!

Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs using images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison