Synopsis: 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.
I started reading this book with no expectations of what to expect. I was sent a copy of the illustrated edition as soon as it was first released, and kind of just put it to one side without really looking at it, until I decided to open it up to take photos of it and discovered that it was signed by both Patrick Ness and Jim Kay; naturally, I got stupidly excited, and then started reading it immediately.
Nothing could have prepared me.
I was absolutely encapsulated in the story – honest, mesmerising and suitably heartbreaking all at once. I absorbed the whole thing pretty much in one sitting!
I loved the fantastical element to the story, which adds to Conor’s inner turmoil as he struggles to cope with his mother’s illness both in his home and school life and the guilt he feels toward the situation.
The narrative doesn’t go the way you’d expect it to – “Oh the tree is a metaphor for his mum dying…” Nope, it’s not. The ending is totally unexpected, and with in this particular edition especially, provides a stunningly visual reading experience. Even without the illustrations, it was like a movie playing in my head. I haven’t seen the film, but I expect it to be incredible if my imagination is anything to go by!
I haven’t read any other of Ness books, but after this I definitely will be – although I’ve heard that this is very different in style to his other works due to it being a continuation of Siobhan Dowd’s unfinished idea before her death. What an incredible tribute it is to her though. Ness has definitely done her justice.
Just read it, if you haven’t already. It’s super quick so won’t take any time out of your busy lives; it’s a good one to tick off your TBR (or add to it if for some bizarre reason it’s not on there already!)
View A Monster Calls on Goodreads