A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Review)

 

8621462Synopsis: 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

Cover:  I thought it was a pretty creepy. I’m not exactly attracted to really creepy books, after I stared at it for a while I was pretty curious. I wanted to know exactly what kind of monster this was if was not the one Conor, the main character, was afraid of.

What I Have To Say: Conor is awoken one night by a mysterious wise monster that formed from a Yew Tree in his yard. Approaching his bedroom window, the Monster would seem menacing to anyone else besides Conor. Since this monster was not the thing Conor feared, the one in his dreadful recurring nightmare, he reveals to be fearless. The Monster says he will help Conor even though Conor did not ask for help and that is the last thing he wants from anyone. Nonetheless, the Monster returns and tells Conor three stories asking in return the truth from the boy. Unfortunately, Conor knows what this truth is. It’s in his nightmare every night, a dream so terrifying and dreadful that he has never dared tell anyone about it. His nightmare is the last thing he would utter out loud because he knows that if he did so this dreadful tragedy, this realization, this truth would become a reality.

A friend of mine saw me at school and he kind of just shoved it in my face and said, “You have to read this! It made me cry!” I slowly took it from him. Being only about 200 pages I finished it rather quickly. The effect this story had on me was not expected whatsoever. The language is simple and the mind of 13 year old Conor is one easy to relate too. Ever since his mother was diagnosed with cancer, he has been ostracized from his peers at school and deals with daily bullying. He has shut out his best friend and teachers treat him like he’s hopeless. His father lives in America and he dislikes his grandmother. The only person he truly loves is his mother who he claims to be “getting better.” He is a lonely character. During the first nights the monster approaches Conor he is seen as an annoyance that says wise things that makes no sense to our main character. The Monster proceeds to tell Conor three stories, all possessing a common theme, although it is very hard to notice. After the three stories, Conor has gone through many experiences and emotions and his mother is now back in the hospital trying one last treatment. It is time for Conor to tell his story, the nightmare withholding the truth. A truth so horrifying to Conor and so sad to the reader.

I was interested in the plot line and the setting and the wonderful main two main characters: Conor and the Monster. Reading the book, everything was easily woven together and then in the last few pages everything is unraveled and revealed to the reader. The Monster suddenly makes sense and Conor comes to his realization and faces what is actually happening in his life.

Conor’s truth was not a total surprise to me but the way he felt about his own feelings had me choked up (yes, I did cry). The sadness in this book was sneaky and undetectable. It was as if it was standing behind the reader the whole time while he/she was reading. As the reader approaches the last pages they suddenly look behind them and the sadness wraps around them and they feel it. They feel Conor’s grief, his guilt, his sadness, and his relief. In a satisfying bittersweet ending this book makes chills go down your spine and touches your heart at the same time. The author Patrick Hess has really outdid himself and illustrations by Jim Kay were abstract, dark, and amazing. The Monster Calls would not be here if it was not for Siobhan Dowd.  The book is a true masterpiece.

Rating: ★★★★★

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