A Monster Calls Review


STARS: image

The original story idea came from children’s author Siobhan Dowdbut, who passed away after being diagnosed with cancer before she had a chance to write it herself. Patrick Ness was asked to turn her work into a book, even though he never really got to meet her. He  states that he wanted to write “a book that Siobhan would like” and I believe he’s succeeded. A Monster Calls is a beautifully written and wonderfully illustrated novel about grief, loss and how to get over both of them. It’s heartbreaking!

Conor has troubles at school and he has no one to turn to, he doesn’t even talk to Lily anymore, his former best friend. His mum is getting ill and his father isn’t there, he has moved to America with his new family. One day, at 12:07 a monster shows up. It’s nothing like Conor would expect, at least it’s not the monster from his nightmare. The nightmare that he kept seeing every night, the one with the wind and the darkness and the screaming… The monster tells Conor that he appeared because he wants to help someone and he will tell him three stories, in exchange for a fourth. His story. His truth. And that’s from where everything begins.

The three stories that the monster told to Conor, were sort of like tales, with a controversial moral precept. Everyone will read and understand a different meaning, but the ones that Ness wanted to point out was:
1. There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.
2. Belief is half of all healing. Belief in the cure, belief in the future that awaits.
3. There was once an invisible man, who had grown tired of being unseen. It was not that he was actually visible, it was that people had become used to not seeing him.

This book made me cry several times and it happens to be a children’s book. I would suggest it to EVERYONE. It’s an honest, beautiful and achingly sad book that can move anyone to tears. You may wonder why I haven’t give this book 5 stars. Maybe it deserves it, it probably does. You see, there’s so much hyped around this book and that’s why I expected something mind-blowing and what kept me from being so impressed, was that I found it predictable. I cannot say that I didn’t enjoy this book, I loved it, but I’m just saying..
Initials thoughts:
1. As I was reading, sometimes my eyes were fixed on the illustrations. They were so amazing and it’s no surprise why this book has won an award for it. The black and white background, the monster and some little details next to text were enough to like the book without even having to read it.
2. I really liked Conor. He is probably my favourite character after Oscar from Extremely loud and Incredibly Close. I loved the way he struggled with his friends, how he suffered in silence for his mum. He is a remarkable boy with great qualities and a troubled imagination.
3. Patrick Ness has a wonderful talent of telling stories. It’s a amazing writer, poetic and lyrical in some parts and that made this book even better. I loved the style of writing and I found it very refreshing.
4. The theme of the story is approachable and can touch anyone. A small boy who needs to escape from his horrible life. The story is so well told and Patrick Ness succeed to make this boy’s struggles mine.
5. LOVED ALL THE TALES! Probably, the one I found most hard to understand was the second one.

If you want to see the illustrations and read some of my favourite quotes, you can visit my other blog here.

16 thoughts on “A Monster Calls Review

  1. rebeccaschlosser6 says:

    I read this book back in October. It was incredible for being a children’s book. My favorite tale was the first tale with the prince, the queen, and the farm girl. The book as a whole struck a chord with me, as I went through a loss myself last year. I am glad to see someone like the book equally as much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. paperjasmine says:

    Great review! I love this book so much. Both the writing and illustrations are amazing. You’re totally right, Conor is great and the whole book is wonderful, but I also found it a little predictable. Which didn’t stop me from loving the book, of course! 🙂 It’s one of those books I borrowed from the library that I’d definitely like to own! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Come Hither Books says:

    I listened to this one on audio, and therefore missed out on the illustrations. But it was a great audio performance, so I don’t feel too bad. Actors can be hit or miss as narrators, but Jason Isaacs did a good job with it. I might have to go back and reread sometime for the illustrations though, I didn’t know about that part until afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookishuniverse says:

      That’s so true about the audios, it’s the actor’s voice that makes the difference. You can listened it again and if you have a friend that owns it, you can have a peek at the illustrations.
      Thank you for your comment xx


  4. Killian says:

    Hi! Thanks for following me on Bloglovin’! Your blog seems great so I just returned the favour.

    Patrick Ness is one of the very few YA writers that I think are truly great. A Monster Calls is really something special. I’ve never cried at a book (The Book Thief brought me pretty close but I managed to hold it in because I was at my grandparents house at Christmas) but this one definitely had my old tear ducts straining at times.

    Also, as you said, the illustrations were truly beautiful. If I was an author I’d love illustrations like them. I felt that they really fit well with the story. The plot was dark and twisted, and so were the illustrations.

    Have you read any other Patrick Ness books yet? I see that you don’t read series (I haven’t actually read that post yet but I will after this) but if you’re willing to break that trend I’d really recommend his Chaos Walking series, it’s one of my three favourite YA series of all time, along with His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and the Mortal Engines Quartet by Philip Reeve. His standalone novel More Than This is great too.


    Liked by 1 person

    • thebookishuniverse says:

      Thank you so much for following me:)
      This was my first novel that I’ve read from him, but definitely isn’t going to be the last. I bought More than This a few months ago, but haven’t actually opened it yet. I found his writing so beautiful..
      As for the series, haven’t read the Chaos Walking but I heard that it’s great and I really want to, I’m sure that they’re amazing. Thank you for the other recommendations, I’ll definitely check them out.
      Thank you again for visiting my blog. I’m now heading to yours xx


  5. Olivia says:

    I have heard that this is an emotional read on multiple counts and it seems like it is going to be just that! You definitely will not have been the first or the only person to cry. It makes me curious to see just how beautifully this story is told. I need to try it!

    Liked by 1 person

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