Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness (Author) Siobhan Dowd (Conception) and Jim Kay (Illustrator)
Format/Length: Hardback / 215 pages
Publisher/Date Published: Walker Books / September 27th 2011
Category/Genre: Young Adult / Fairytale-ish — Paranormal
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Description: The monster showed up 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 one 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 is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
I’m going to start this review by saying this.
This is my second Patrick Ness novel that I’ve read—my first being More Than This—and now, I plan on tracking down every single novel this man has ever written, because god, this was beautiful. Beautiful: I honestly think that is the best way I can describe a novel of this caliber. Not only is it beautifully written—but the illustrations (by Jim Kay) were evocative and artfully done, adding a wonderful visual layer to the story.
I never truly expected A Monster Calls to be so . . . emotional. I went into it without the faintest clue of what it was about (as I do with most books), only that people everywhere seemed to love it. And that’s the thing with hype: you’re never really going to know what you’ll think of it until you’ve read it, hence my slight hesitancy to read it. Originally Siobhan Dowd’s idea, Patrick Ness wove a beautiful story of love, loss, with a fantasy twist that fits the story perfectly.
I’m going to compare this novel to Eren by Simon P. Clark, because I read that first, even though that was published only last year. Both have an almost . . . fairytale quality to it, you know? An almost surreal, edgy feeling which makes you turn page after page until it’s done.
It’s really hard to find a flaw in a novel like this, because it was just so well-written; any minor quibbles I may have had at the time of reading it were pulled to the wayside. Once I was finished, I just decided that in retrospect, they’re just not worth mentioning.
So, I repeat: GO READ THIS.
If you do take the time to read A Monster Calls, I recommend you do so with the illustrated version. I remember picking up a paperback copy once (I think it was this one—don’t quote me on this) and I don’t recall it having images. While the true beauty of the story does lie in the writing, Jim Kay’s illustrations add another haunting layer that’s not worth passing by.