[Book Review] A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Title: A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness

Release Date: September 27th 2011

Publisher: Walker Books

Favorite Quote: You were merely wishing for the end of pain, the monster said. Your own pain. An end to how it isolated you. It is the most human wish of all. 

Official Rating: 5 stars

Thoughts During This Read: This is the embodiment of art, and brilliance. It is beautiful.

This book is what I feel we need more of in YA. It is true art. You know how when you watch a good episode of your favorite show, or you see a good movie and you are amazed by the brilliant acting? This is that in book form. It takes a concept, develops it, and within that development has beautiful, lyrical writing that truly immerses you into the story. The best way I can describe the writing in this novel is this: “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader–not the fact that it is raining but the feeling of being rained upon.”-E.L Doctorow. Ness’s writing brings the feeling of being rained upon, every single description he makes in the story, all else fades away and you are enthralled. You are the story. The story is you.

And it took reading Ness’s writing to realize that I hadn’t read writing of good quality in a while. Stories wriiten like Ness, like Kate Scelsa, like Adam Silvera…there needs to be more of that. Reading Ness is truly going to change my perspective of what is actualy quality writing, and I can see it driving me to be more critical than usual. When you read, you want to be immersed in the story...you want a part of you to momentarily be the story. 

Who am I?

I am the spine that the mountains hang upon!

I am the tears that the rivers cry!

I am the lungs that breathe the wind!

I am the wolf that kills the stag, the hawk that kills the mouse, the spider that kills the fly!

I am the stag, the mouse, and the fly that are eaten!

I am the snake of the world devouring its tail!

I am everything untamed and untame-able!

I am this wild earth, come for you, Conor O’Malley.

(How beautiful is that? Talk about a breathtaking monologue! I’ve only seen something that evokes so much emotion out of me in Shakespeare, and that still doesn’t meet the beauty.)

This story takes the anguish of a young boy and makes it more than just a flat word. More than a flat description. Ness turns the anguish of Conor into a visceral, throbbing thing that easily seeps into the veins of the reader. The pressure on him with all that he has going on in his life, the stress, the yearn for punishment or a conclusion to his pain is utterly heartbreaking; and relatable whether a reader has been in Conor’s situation or not. Every reader who has ever experienced anything painful in their lives, any moment when they were distraught, will find a piece of themselves hidden in Conor, and that is what makes this story so beautiful.

You were merely wishing for the end of pain, the monster said. Your own pain. An end to how it isolated you. It is the most human wish of all. 

Another thing I loved about this story were the illustrations, the tales, and just the POWER that was in every word.

Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make these lies necessary. And your mind will punish your for believing both. 

You do not write your life with words. You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do

I do not know whether this was a coherent review. Whether it made any sense, but that’s beside the point. The whole point is for you to hear about a beautiful, creative, wonderful novel and to seek its power for yourself. Please. All this gibberish was me asking you to just read it. Oh, and if you know any other innovative stories like this one, please let me know in the comments below.


14 thoughts on “[Book Review] A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

  1. I only read More than this, by Patrick Ness, but I absolutely fell in love with the writing style, the story, the way it just took me along for the ride, and made me forget the whole world around me. I’ve been looking at Patrick Ness’ other books, to see which one I should read next, and, damn. your review was wonderful. This story sounds so unique, and, different, just like I thought More than this was.
    Perfect review, I can’t wait to pick this one up, asap! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I read this book a few months back and I definitely agree with everything you said! After reading Ness’s writing and how beautiful and the way it was able to really manipulate my emotions, I knew I’d have to look pretty hard to find good writing that would meet this standard.
    There really is so much powers in all the words of this novel. Everything has an emotional meaning or something behind it, and Ness maintains such a strong, vivid and tangible atmosphere throughout the entirety of the novel Ria blew me away.
    And it left me crying like a baby by the end of it, which is always a big selling point for making a book a favourite for me (unless it’s making me cry out of torture for having to read it, but that never happens).
    Wonderful review, I totally understand and agree with your thoughts!
    xoxo 💋

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this not too long ago and completely agree with your review. This book is amazing and truly is a work of art. Ness is one of my favorite authors o all-time. If you haven’t read his novel “More Than This”, I highly recommend it. It blew my mind… Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. aentee @ read at midnight says:

    YAY I am so glad you enjoyed the book. I was uncertain about it because it was marketed for a younger audience, but Patrick Ness really pulled through and his ability to break your heart transcends age barrier. I read this when I was getting my hair done and I cried so much the hairdresser thought she fucked up my hairstyle lmao.

    Liked by 1 person

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