Sunday, 5 January 2014

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I was introduced to Patrick Ness's work through World Book Night, when a friend gave me The Knife of Never Letting Go (part 1 in the Chaos Walking trilogy). I loved it, and the whole trilogy, which led me on to read more of Ness. The title I was most looking forward to was A Monster Calls, and for good reason.

There are a few editions you can find of this title. I ended up getting the illustrated edition, because if there is an illustrated edition of anything, that tends to be what I go for. Illustrated by the incredibly talented Jim Kay (who has just been commissioned to illustrate the Harry Potter series), this is a title where you absolutely must get the illustrated edition to fully appreciate the beauty of the story.

As clearly detailed in the forward of the book, Ness was given an original idea by the late Sibohan Dowd, who unfortunately died before she was able to write the story. Simply put, the story is about a teenage boy, Conor, struggling with everyday life while his mother battles terminal cancer. He awakens one night from a recurring nightmare, only to find a monster outside his bedroom window. The monster continues to visit Conor, pushing the boy to come to terms with his mother's situation.

The book itself is short, but Ness is masterful with his writing, putting so much into each scene, each character, you feel he accomplishes so much in 200 pages. It's funny, tender and heartbreaking, with Kay's ink illustrations setting a perfect mood for the text. There is far more I could say about this amazing book, but I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Just do yourself a favour and make sure you get the illustrated edition.

You can purchase the illustrated paperback from publisher Walker Books here: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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