I very much enjoyed the Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness when I read it earlier this year, so when I heard Ness had a new book out, I immediately put in my request at the library.

About the Book:

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (cover)Conor O’Malley’s mother is sick. Nothing the doctors try seems to help, though neither Conor nor his mother is willing to accept what seems to be inescapable. Conor has been visited by an awful nightmare ever since they first got the news, and he often awakens screaming in the night.

But then a different monster comes walking, and slowly, painfully, Conor learns why it has come to him.

My Thoughts:

I don’t have a lot to say about A Monster Calls that hasn’t already been said or that won’t ruin the story. It’s labeled for ages 12 and up, but I think it’s a timeless, ageless story that nearly anyone can pick up and be drawn into and touched by. It’s a story about learning to grieve, to face terrible things, to heal. For such a slender little book, it packs unbelievable power.

It’s also gorgeously illustrated. Black and white sketches adorn most pages, and interspersed throughout the book are two-page picture-only spreads. On pages where text and images coexist, the former is artfully formatted to accommodate the latter. It’s both dark and beautiful, the illustrations giving artful form to Ness’s words.

A Monster Calls page

Ness himself, who also wrote the Chaos Walking trilogy I read earlier this year, is a master of taking an impossibly difficult subject and teasing out a thread of truth. He can carve a path through the most formidable, incomprehensible topic and bring the reader safely through where others fall short or dare not attempt such feats. His books make you think and feel even as they enfold you completely in their plots and capture your heart with their characters. He is an author I will continue to read with pleasure and admiration.

Those are my thoughts. Check out A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness on Goodreads or LibraryThing, or read a plethora of other bloggers’ reviews!

Your Turn!

What authors have you read who are particularly adept at tackling challenging topics?

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  1. I’m so on the fence about this one. I didn’t like The Knife of Never Letting Go and haven’t really wanted to continue with the Walking Chaos trilogy. But then several people have told me that I really need to read this one. But then the subject matter–I’m finding that as a new mom I’m having a tough time with mother/child type subjects. Gahhhh!!

    Beautiful review Erin.

  2. I read this recently, and was just blown away. Ness has such a gift for crawling around into the bottom of your soul and just exploding it outward with his words and images. It was such a potent and powerful read, and I loved it. I can’t wait to read the Chaos Walking Trilogy in the upcoming year!

  3. I hope to make time for this one this year; it really does sound remarkable! Thanks for the encouragement, as I’ve not yet read the Chaos Walking books (and am hesitant to add another series right now, as I’m trying to “catch up” on a few first) but this is a stand-alone so I might just sneak it in!

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