Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

8621462Edition: Hardcover – borrowed, 215 pages
Published by: Walker Books
Genre: Childrens, Contemporary, Fantasy, Horror, Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars

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.


This was a really wonderful book. I wasn’t expecting much from it and really surprised me. This is a GEM.

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Note: Siobhan Dowb originally came up with the idea for A Monster Calls, but she passed away because of cancer before she could write it. Patrick Ness has never met Siobhan, but he was asked to finish the book and he succeeded in doing so.

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”

The story is about a young boy called Connor and his mum is suffering from cancer. Connor has nightmares. Not just any nightmare, the nightmare he sees in his dreams. He looks outside his window one night at exactly 12:07am, in which a monster comes to life from the yew tree and visits him to tell him three tales, but the fourth tale is a story that Connor is going to tell, which must include the ‘truth.’

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I really sympathised with Connor because he deals a lot of burdens in his life and it is a lot to handle. There’s his mother’s treatments, bullies at school, his father visiting him despite having another family in America, his determined grandmother who doesn’t understand him and also the monster who visits him. His mother’s condition causes him to not be able to be friends with anyone at school particularly Lily, his childhood friend and holds a grudge against her. Underneath it all, Connor knows the truth; he knows what’s going to happen to his mother but refuses to acknowledge it. He’s a very stubborn character, yet you can’t help but feel sympathy for him. The moral of the story is learning and accepting the truth and coping with loss. The monster in this book isn’t exactly a villain, as I would have expected him to be. He was more or less, like a friend to Connor.

“Stories don’t always have happy endings.”

This stopped him. Because they didn’t, did they? That’s one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn’t expect.”

I enjoy reading the tales! Especially the first and the third tale. It was the really interesting part of the book because I think it created a conundrum to some extent. The monster tells the stories but not all have happy endings.

The illustrations in this book were hauntingly stunning. I love art and drawing, so the illustrations were definitely the highlights of this book. There was so much interesting mark-making details combined in the drawings and also with the writing next to it. It captures the story perfectly and brings the book to life.

A solid 4 stars. I didn’t cry whilst reading this but I did feel very touched by it. If you plan on reading this, you should definitely pick up the illustrated version. Patrick Ness is a wonderful storyteller. I’m glad I’ve read three of his books this year. (Still need to finish the Chaos trilogy though).

100% recommend! Everyone should read this.

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10 thoughts on “Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

  1. Oh gosh this book looks good. I love that Ness explores moral gray areas, or creates characters that are neither good or bad. I regret not reading this when I picked it up at the library now…

    Ooh you have to finish Chaos Walking! Which book are you up to? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should definitely read it when you get the chance! It’s quite a short book, so it probably won’t take too long 😉
      I’ve only just read the first book so far. I rated 3 stars, thought it was okay but I know I need to read the rest to get into the story! Heard nothing but great things about it 🙂

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  2. Oh my god. I need a copy of the illustrated version because it is beautiful! This book wrecked me in the most beautiful way, leaving me sobbing at the ending in public. I loved the voice of the main character, and all of the different emotions he went through. Fantastic review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you read the non-illustrated one? Yes definitely buy the illustrated one! 🙂 it’s stunning and there’s so much detail in the artwork. Aww, did you? I could never cry in public. I tend to keep my emotions in tact when in public XD Thank you!

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  3. I’ve seen this book everywhere. Like at least four different bloggers have mentioned it and I’m just sitting in my room before I sleep at night staring at the book on the top of my shelf. I don’t know why I just don’t read it because it has pictures! I didn’t realize that it was a collection of a few stories but it sounds amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw you should definitely read it! Its worth the hype 🙂 The illustrations made me enjoy the story even more, they’re amazing! Jim Kay is really talented. It probably won’t take long to read too. Hope you enjoy it! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am still so ashamed that I haven’t picked up any Patrick Ness yet but I’m anticipating the influx of emotions when I do. A Monster Calls will be my first book most definitely. I’ve flipped through some of the illustrations when I’ve been in bookstores and I’m sure it adds a lot to the writing. And oh! I had no idea it was Siobhan Dowb’s idea. Interesting.

    Love the book photography in this, Thuong! And your new design for your blog is very cute. The warm colors are really suitable for Autumn (yes, I often think in seasons 😉 ), I think!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you enjoy it! It would be a great one to read for your first Patrick Ness book 🙂 the illustrations definitely adds to the story! They are quite haunting but beautiful at the same time. It says in the author’s note; I think that’s what inspired him – writing a book that Siobhan would have liked to read.
      Aw thanks, Summer! I liked the illustrations so much that I needed to document it for this post XD I was bored of my old one and felt like creating a new one 🙂 Thank you! Now that you mention it, it is quite autumn-y and whimsical 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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