A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Horror
An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. 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 monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd-- whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself-- Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
This was my first Patrick Ness book so I absolutely wanted to write a review. I have had this book sitting on my shelf for over a year, I think. I bought it on impulse for £1.99 because I had continually heard the name Patrick Ness spoken in awe on the internet. Everyone seemed to love him, so when I saw one of his books going cheap I had to buy. I didn’t really look at the blurb, I didn’t have a clue what the book was about, I simply bought it blind. This book was nothing like I expected but still everything I could have wanted.
Is it a favourite book of mine? No. Would I recommend it to others? Yes. It was a wonderful book, and such an original story.
This story was developed from another authors idea, so whilst it was Patrick Ness writing and developing it was not all his original idea. As I’ve not read any of his other work I don’t know if you can tell it is developed from another's idea, but it was definitely magical.
It was an emotional read, there were a lot of tears, and it was a very honest book. Brutally honest in many ways, and I adored that. It is quite a painful topic to feature in any books, a parent having cancer, and for Conor to be so young as the main character does make it a bit more heart-breaking. You can see how hard it is for him, and you feel as angry and frustrated as he does throughout the book. Ness’s writing was beautiful, though. He wrote all the emotions into each word, and he created such a magical book with such simple writing.
This is unlike any other book I’ve read before, though. It had a certain magical quality to it which was unexpected. I know the book summary makes it obvious that there is going to be some kind of supernatural element to it, but I think I expected something very different to what I got. I have read horror and fantasy novels before, and this isn’t really what this book is. When I was looking at the genre for this review I couldn’t help but disagree. There is a fantasy element, but this is very much a contemporary book in other ways. A child coping with a parent who is seriously ill is a contemporary issue. And this book was also categorised as both young adult and middle grade on goodreads, it is very much a middle grade book with the simpler writing style, but it is also a book for any age. I think it’s relatable to any age group, more so than a lot of other young adult books can be. This is an accessible piece of writing that is simple and magical, and very easy to fall into and be hooked.
I think this is probably one of the hardest books for me to review because it was so completely different to the books I normally read, but it was beautiful, magical, haunting and emotional. I would recommend it for the journey it takes you on and the beautiful writing. It is such a quick book to read that it will be worth the time you put into it.
Have you read any Patrick Ness before? What books would you recommend by him for me to read next?