Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Trilogy was on my list of "bad books". To show it wasn't anything personal (just an inexplicable dislike of talking animal stories) I decided to tackle his latest book.

A Monster Calls came to Ness upon the death of writer Siobhan Dowd. According to Ness' author note at the front of the book, Dowd had "outlined the characters, a detailed premise and a beginning." He didn't feel that he could write a novel in her voice, but the idea grew and evolved until it felt like he had "been handed a baton".
The result?

An incredible, atmospheric, dark fairytale of a story. Complete with creepy, eerie etchings by Jim Kay.

I loved it.

As mentioned in the previous post, this is a modern day fable exploring grief and the search for truth.

Conor has a lot to deal with - at home and at school. He is haunted by nightmares and bullies. Until his nightmare becomes real and he is forced to face his demons head-on.

Ness, with the guiding spirit of Dowd behind him, creates a masterful story.
I devoured this book, I shuddered, I poured over the illustrations and I ooh-ed and aah-ed with satisfaction.

This story will haunt you in the way all powerful fairytales creep under your skin and slip into your dreams.

Keep me away from talking animals, but talking trees are okay!

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