A Monster Calls – A Review

When I first sat down this rainy morning after my husband left for work I didn’t expect to finish a book before it was time to let the sheep out into the pasture.  I didn’t expect that one of the books I had bought – based mostly on cover art I’ll admit – in Minnesota would turn out to be so completely fantastic and moving.  See, I’ve been having a rough time with books lately.  I like to push myself outside of what I normally would read.  “Try something different, something smarter Preita,” I’d tell myself and then I’d be disappointed.  Seems as though I’m not really a “smart” reader.  I pick up a book and expect it to entertain me.  Weird I know.

So I combed the racks of Uncle Hugo’s Sci Fi and Fantasy book shop looking for things I hadn’t seen before.  Not as hard as you’d imagine because frankly the selection at most nation wide book super stores is rather limited.  You can go in expecting to find Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Tad Williams, Robbin Hobb, and more other big names.  This is your selection so if you are a fast reader and have already read these you are kind of screwed.  I miss Uncle Hugo’s since I moved out of Minnesota.  It’s a fantastic shop that will surprise you with something new each time.

So I picked up this small little hard cover book with a great graphic cover.  It was an anomaly in size and structure which I appreciate.  After giving the summary a quick read I added it to my small pile of travel books.  unfortunately I did not read this book first.  I picked something else that was going to be my first book of the trip and frankly, I can’t even now after 3 weeks of having finished it, tell you if I really liked it.

A Monster Calls is unlike anything I have ever bought.  Not only is it a short 200 some odd pages but it’s fully illustrated with beautiful graphic black and white images that are just stunning.  This book has brought back what books once were.  I couldn’t help while reading A Monster Calls to think about how this very practice would enhance just about every book I’ve ever read.  The effect is stunning and moving.  It brings more than just words, it evokes emotions in you on a deeper level.  The illustrator was perfectly paired with the author and together they made one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

In A Monster Calls you follow Collin, a young man who’s mother is fighting a losing battle with cancer.  In the midst of this heart break a yew tree transforms into a gigantic monster to tell Collin three tales, each beautiful and heart breaking in their own way.  In the end Collin tells the monster his own tale and we find out why the monster actually came to call.

The reader should not be distracted by the size of this book, though small it has packed a serious punch and Patrick Ness is a true artist in every sense of the word.  He has created a tale that is endearing to the reader, unpredictable, original, and marvelously captivating.  A Monster Calls is a true gem, it’s just truly a beautiful tale that I think everyone should read.  I think it’s probably every authors ambition to create a story that hits the reader so deep.  Bravo to Mr. Ness for bringing such an amazing tale into the world.

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6 thoughts on “A Monster Calls – A Review

  1. I am so going to read that! I am also going to see if our library has it and if it doesn’t order it for our collection. It looks amazing! love the illustrations!

  2. I agree that this book is really touching and thought-provoking. But to clarify, the main character is Conor and not Collin. If I’m not wrong, there’s no “Collin” in the book.

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