A Monster Calls is a short low fantasy novel by Patrick Ness, based on an original idea by Siobhan O’Dowd. Sadly Siobhan herself died of cancer before she could write the book.
I’d actually seen the movie of this book before I read it so I had an idea of what happened and the sad theme. Connor is a young boy, 13 years old and his mother is dying, as he tries to deal with her imminent death, he is visited by a Monster who tries to teach him about things.
‘There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.’
This novel is so real, it explores an extremely sensitive subject as seen through the eyes of a 13 year old boy who doesn’t know how to deal with his feelings about his mother’s illness. It is raw, tragic, and moving.
For a children’s book it is extremely well written, passionate, heart rendering and most of all, honest. And that’s what it is really, a book about honesty and truth, the truth that’s deep inside us and which we don’t ever want to admit.
This book was poor. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s not often I’ll write a truly ‘bad’ review and I will still try to be as polite as possible, while in my head I’m raging with frustration. But of course you don’t have to take my word for it. If you loved this series good for you. If you still want to read it after reading my opinions then you should go for it. If you hated it then I completely understand that because I did too.
The Knife of Never Letting Go was a really good start. I liked the concept: people leave ‘our world’ full of corruption, and find a new planet. Initially populated by hostile creatures but it’s ok because there was a war and they’re all dead now. Oh and the women are dead too. Until Todd, the youngest boy in Prentistown stumbles upon one and begins a journey where he finds out everything he thought was true was actually a lie. It was actually the only one in the series which made me feel the remotest bit of emotion and that was due to an animal not any of the characters.
The Ask and the Answer was a lot more disappointing, as those who regularly read my reviews already know. The story didn’t really seem to get going and it was a BIG book for not a lot to be happening. It mostly involved in Todd allowing the mayor to control his actions because he needed to save the love of his life Viola. Except, hold on… where has this love come from?! There wasn’t even a hint of it in the first book and now suddenly they’re devoted to one another. Maybe Manchee’s death would have felt like it meant more if Ness had developed this love interest much sooner.
Monsters of Men was by far the poorest book in the series. To be honest I’m kicking myself for wasting a week of my time when I could have been reading much better books. Here’s some of the reasons I disliked the finale of this series so much:
1. The fake love interest between Viola and Todd. There was no feeling in it. I couldn’t picture them together because I’m not sure Ness ever even described them. There was no emotional connection created from their encounters and the constant bleating of TODD? VIOLA?! Todd?! VIOLA!! Was probably the most annoying thing I’ve ever read.
2. The length of the book was increased by about 50 pages throughout the book with 4 sentences on each page.
3. None of the characters had any substance and made me hate them all. The evil ones weren’t even properly evil and the rest were just annoying. Through the whole series I liked the dog and the two horses and that was it.
4. The way every ‘section’ ended with a cliffhanger that turned out to be nothing. Not only was this really annoying, forced and did I mention annoying? I soon got wise to the fact that nothing bad was actually ever going to happen to the main characters.
5. The words spelt wrong were pointless and annoying. The change in font and word size was annoying and pointless.
6. There was actually no plot. It came to an end and nothing actually happened.
7. There were lots of unanswered questions, plot holes and pointlessness. Case in point would be Todd’s mother’s diary. He lugs it around everywhere determined to learn to read it and we still never find out what it said beyond the first paragraph.
I could go on but it’s becoming exhaustive and I want to sleep.
The point I will make is that if you, like me didn’t like the series, don’t let it put you off the author all together. I was lucky enough to have read More Than This before I read the Chaos Walking series and really enjoyed it.
Try not to let this one ruin it for you. Right, off to bed to dream about killing every character in that book.
The second novel in The Chaos Walking series; The Ask and the Answer was I must admit a bit of a disappointment. I’d seen lots of reviews about this series which advised that the rest of the series was better than the first one; The Knife of Never Letting Go. But the thing is, I loved The Knife of Never Letting Go, I didn’t love The Ask and the Answer.
Where The Knife of Never Letting Go was a bubble of emotion; love being the strongest of them whether it was the love of family between Todd, Ben and Cillian. Romantic love between Todd and Viola and especially the love between Todd and Manchee (yes I’m still crying).
The Ask and the Answer just didn’t have any of that. The characters seemed flatter, there was none of the intensity or feeling dragging me in to the story line and it actually took me much longer to read than The Knife of Never Letting Go.
The Ask and the Answer very much reminded me of Catching Fire the middle story of the Hunger Games series. It’s for this reason that I will go on to read the final book in the series Monsters of Men because I’m hoping that this book was only such a disappointment because it was a filler novel between the exciting beginning and the happy ending.
I’m still reeling! I must admit I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started it. It’s the first one I’ve read by Patrick Ness, and the slightly strange way of talking that the main character; Todd has made me think I might not like it. But it grew on me pretty fast and by the middle I was racing through the pages.
The premise of The Knife of Never Letting Go is that finding what (I presume is) our current world is corrupt and evil so god fearing folk have travelled to a new world where they plan to go back to basics and live clean, good lives. But it doesn’t exactly go to plan.
As the only ‘boy’ in his village Todd has grown up believing one thing only to find out that it isn’t in fact exactly true.
It’s a book about self discovery, love, friendship and understanding. And let me tell you one thing it’s heartbreaking in fact no, not heartbreaking it’s goddam heart wrenching!
Although it has pretty much destroyed me, there’s no denying that this is an amazing YA novel. It has all the ingredients to make it into a fantastic series and I can’t wait to get started on the second book.
Day 8 of the writing challenge is for me the toughest yet. I’m a big book lover and having read 1.3k books on my lifetime it’s a tough choice. I have lots of favourite books from lots of different genres so it’s been a really tough decision to decide on my absolute favourite!
So I’ve decided to go for the book I’ve loved most that I’ve read this year. I’ve read 114 books this year so it still didn’t narrow down the choice that much! I decided to go with More Than This by Patrick Ness. It’s a crossover book which means it’s a suitable read for both children and adults although I’d say it was leading more towards teenagers than children.
The book starts with a boy who is drowning. He dies but the he wakes again in a strange and yet familiar place. I don’t want to spoil the book as I’d definitely recommend reading it but it has all the ingredients of a twisty turny unputdownable book. I mean I literally couldn’t put it down I read it in the bathroom, in bed, at work and wherever and whenever else I could get an opportunity. It’s the first book I’ve read by Patrick Ness but it’s definitely made me want to read more.
A book I didn’t like. Again there are several but I’ll take one I’ve read this year. From Notting Hill with Love Actually by Ali McNamara. Again a brand new author to me but with the opposite effect. I found the book really fake and it made it difficult to read, it was overly far fetched a woman obsessed with movies to the point she couldn’t survive or complete normal tasks or have normal relationships because of them. It was just ridiculous really…! Not to say that Ali is a bad writer or that others wouldn’t enjoy her book but for me I just couldn’t like it!