A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

“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. The one with the hands slipping from grasp, no matter how hard he tried to hold on. The one that always ended with-”

When the monster turns up Conor is expecting it. What he isn’t expecting however, is for it to be the monster it is. He was expecting the monster from his nightmare, the one that has been terrorising him for months. This monster wants something different though, he is here for other reasons, he is wild, he is old and he wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. He wants the thing that Conor has been hiding. He wants the truth.

***
oh my, I don’t know how I can review this. Can I just tell you all straight off that A Monster Calls is amazing, its beautiful and you all should go and read it. Now. What are you still doing here? You don’t expect this review to be coherent do you? I’m afraid I don’t think I can do that…. but I’ll try. 
The story is about Conor and the monster that turns up in his garden just after midnight, the monster that starts telling Conor tales and expects something back in return. The monster that has been called for Conor to realise the truth, the enormity of the situation his life is in and, well, what will happen in that life. We get an insight into Conor’s home life, his school life and his night life… but not the full picture, not for a little while anyway, and the suspense of that was what was brilliant about this book. The story was adapted with imagery in my copy of the book and I am so glad I got this version, instead of the smaller paperback which doesn’t have the illustrations. I loved what Jim Kay did with the story and how atmospheric it felt because of his take on it. 
I loved Conor, I loved the Monster and I loved Conor’s Mum, even his Grandma was nice in her own way. I wasn’t impressed with his dad but I saw the reasoning behind his dads actions, well some of them anyway, and I wished that Conor and his Dad could have gotten on a little better. I liked the relationship between Conor and his Mum, though I do wish he felt that he could show more of his emotion sometimes.
I think the emotions that run through this book are portrayed brilliantly, however we as readers only get to see them because of the third person narrative with focus on Conor. It is easy to see his emotions but he doesn’t show them, he doesn’t see to think he should and a lot of this book is about bottling up those feelings. I liked what that gave me as a message from reading and think a lot of people will pick the same thing up. I liked the stories that the monster told and the way they carried over into Conor’s life without too overbearing a message given. 
I purposely kept away from everything to do with this book before I read it, I had heard it it was amazing but thats about how much I heard, I didn’t know it was going to be sad, I didn’t know what the monster was doing there or anything. I loved reading this book without knowing anything about it and I will be recommending others to do this too, though I guess if you’ve read my review you now know stuff about it… sorry. 
Even so, I cannot recommend this book enough, I absolutely loved it and think most people will. Patrick Ness took the story from Siobhan Dowd as she unfortunately passed away before she could write it herself, he talks at the beginning of the book about how he had one guideline; to write a story Siobhan would have loved. I really hope she would have because I think Patrick Ness did a fantastic job. 
A Monster Calls was published in 2011 by Walker Children’s Books. My copy was purchased on a recent trip to London. 

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  • I really need to read some Patrick Ness, don’t I…

  • I haven’t really been interested in this book until now – it sounds amazing! I saw it in the library last week but I didn’t borrow it :/
    Thanks for the brilliant review!

  • I’ve heard so many good things about this book, I think I’m going to have to give it a go soon!

  • I didn’t know much about this book when I read it either except that it was sad and that I might cry. It affected me so much that I didn’t review the book. I really just couldn’t put into words how this book made me feel!