Monday, 23 May 2011

Review: A Monster Calls

Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Published: 2011
Pages: 211
My Rating: 4/5

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 one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...The monster in his back garden, though, this monster is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

I hadn't heard anything about this book before I saw it in the shop. It caught my eye as the dark mysterious hardback that stuck out from the other books. As soon as I saw that it was by Patrick Ness (author of one of my favorite trilogies; The Chaos Walking Trilogy), I knew I had to get it. Even though it is written by Ness, it was based off an original idea by Siobhan Dowd, who sadly passed away before she could write it. 

I got the impression when I looked through the book when I got home that it was meant to younger readers because of the fantastic illustrations inside and the age of the main character. Even though the book had that younger image about it, I found it extremely heavy and dark like the pictures themselves. But this is what made the book so special. 

The blurb on the back gave very little indication as to what the book was about apart from a monster. I had no idea what I'd got myself into. The real meaning was extremely powerful and deep. Something I think many people can relate to. The main themes being loss, truth, and acceptance. It also had a lot to do with the inner demons one can carry.

Even though it was a very short read, it definitely packed a punch. The writing and story made sure that it would stay with me for a long time after I read it. I really felt for the main character, Conor, as what he was going through in the book is pretty much one of my very worst fears. It really got me thinking about what I would do if I was him. 

The book is pretty much how he copes with his stress and grief, and how he struggles with terms of acceptance. It is interesting how it is shown through the monster, painting a vivid image in your head of something you wouldn't normally be able to see.

definitely wasn't expecting this book to be so heavy, especially for what could be considered as a children's book. I wouldn't rush to give it to a child. But at the same time, it was brilliant. The concept was so well thought out, and then well written in turn. Not many books make me cry. But this book practically had me sobbing into a pillow by the end. It is a truly powerful book, with an extremely relevant and important meaning. I would only recommend this book if you have a box of tissues ready with you.  

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