04 October 2011

Book Review: A Monster Calls

Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher/Year: Candlewick / 2011
Date Finished: 30 September 2011
Source/Format: Bought / Print
Book #: 74

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It

A Bit of a Ramble
My love for Ness's Chaos Walking series pretty much ensures I will read anything that man writes, so when I heard about A Monster Calls, it went on the wish list immediately. I even defied my book buying ban to get my hands on it (although I am proud of the fact that I held out for a few months at least).

I have to say though that even without Ness's name attached, I probably would have bought this one anyway. Ever since reading Brian Selznik's The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I've had a fascination with books which include extensive illustrations. A Monster Calls uses numerous illustrations throughout and they are done in a wonderfully creepy, gray scale style:

Aren't these just beautiful pieces of art?! I loved looking at these pictures and spent a great deal of time gazing at them, letting my imagination wander.

The story is just as wondrous. Truly unique, the tale features three stories from the monster which reveal important truths but not ones typical for a fairy tale. I was so impressed with these stories: the way they worked together to complement the main narrative and the way they revealed humanity and not a pat moral. Because I myself am big on not spoiling the plot, and I honestly believe this is one tale which you need to know very little going in, I'll stop there.

My final thoughts on this one revolve around something rather embarrassing. I want to preface this by saying that I am not a crier. Seriously, I can only think of a few stories, whether books or film, which made me cry: Schindler's List and Braveheart are really the only two that spring to mind. With this one, there were a few moments, I was getting teary and one where I wanted to bawl like a baby. The worst part is that I was in Barnes and Noble while reading, smack in the middle of the cafe, so I had to force back the tears and try to keep my face from doing that horrid, tense, smooched up look one gets when trying not to cry.

So my advice is to go now and buy this book, but try to read it in private, so you can indulge in a bit of weeping.


  1. So glad you loved it too, Trisha! I think this book turns most readers into criers. And yes, the illustrations are just amazing.

  2. I didn't cry, but I was morose for a day or so. And the illustrations are amazing. I haven't written my review for this yet. *sigh* I know it is going to upset me when I do.

  3. I didn't cry either, and I am a huge crier! I think though mine relates more to my inner state the day I read something than what the book says!

  4. I just got this book, and I am really eager to start with it because I have heard so many amazing things about it. I know that I probably will cry because that is just me. I sometimes cry over commercials and so I know that if this book is even remotely sad, the tears will be flowing. Great review on this one! You have made me even more excited about it!

  5. Beautiful illustrations. I've seen everyone glowing about it and I need to just break down and buy it. I'm a big fan of pencil sketch artwork (or is this drawn with something else?). Either way, gorgeous.

  6. I've heard good things about this one and the illustrations are gorgeous!

  7. This was an amazing read. After the CHAOS trilogy, my author crush on Patrick Ness is kind of getting out of hand.

  8. Ooooh -- books that make me cry are kind of my secret favorite, even though these illustrations freak me out! I'm so getting this -- seems perfect for the autumn, too.

  9. I must be heartless. I read this book a few months ago and didn't cry at all. I didn't even get close. The illustrations are so perfect for this book though.

  10. The art is so gorgeous. Oh, this book looks amazing. Patrick Ness should be made the king of something.

    ...That's all I have to contribute here.

  11. Well, you can also blame the pregnancy hormones for your tears too!! This looks really good … and obviously one that needs to be read in print!

  12. I adored this book, for both the story and the illustrations. I sobbed in so many parts, this is really an amazing book. I can't wait to read what PN has up next :-)

  13. You are SO tempting me to buy this one. Bad influence!! Maybe I'll use my superior willpower and hold off on reading it so I can put it on my Christmas list.

  14. You're the first person who has actually convinced me to be interested in this one. BUT, I don't know if I can do the illustrations. I mean, reading Coraline gave me nightmares...!

    Do want to read Hugo Cabret though!

  15. I read this one after reading several positive posts about it. I loved the illustrations too. The posts I read were spoiler free so I didn't find the book to be what I expected (a terror-filled "monster book") but when all was said & done I'm glad I was surprised... :-)

  16. The monster is amazing developed and even though I read a character similar to the monster. It was done to beautifully. Expect Cliff hangers.
    I am not the owner of this kindle account.


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