Two authors = one breathtaking story

CoverIt’s no secret that I think Patrick Ness is a brilliant author (I’ve written many blog posts about it).  His Chaos Walking Trilogy is one of those stories that really struck a chord with me and the characters and their world will stay with me for a long time.  The books in the trilogy have won various awards in the world of children’s literature, including the BookTrust Teenage Prize, the Guardian Award, the Costa Book Award, most recently the final book, Monsters of Men won the prestigious Carnegie Medal.  When the Chaos Walking Trilogy came to an end last year, I was looking forward to reading whatever Patrick Ness wrote next and thankfully I didn’t have to wait very long.

Patrick’s next project was to write a story based on the ideas of another brilliant author, Siobhan Dowd, who had passed away from breast cancer in 2007.  Siobhan had the characters, premise and beginning and it was up to Patrick to turn it into a story. Being both a fan of Patrick’s and Siobhan’s writing, I eagerly anticipated their story A Monster Calls.

And boy, what a story it is!  Night after night, Connor is woken by the same nightmare, “the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming.  The one with the hands slipping from his grasp, no matter who hard he tried to hold on.”  It is one night, after waking from this nightmare, that the monster arrives, twisting to life from the yew tree in the graveyard.  The monster comes to offer Connor a deal; it will tell Connor three stories, but then he must tell the monster a fourth story, and it must be the truth.  However, Connor’s mum is very sick and the truth is the thing that he fears the worst.

I really can’t explain how amazing A Monster Calls is.  Before you even start reading the book, you just need a few minutes to marvel at how beautiful it is.  Walker Books have put so much love into the design, from the dust-jacket and the cover,  to the stunning illustrations spread throughout the book by the very talented Jim Kay.  The story itself is breathtaking and you’ll go on a roller-coaster of emotion as the monster guides Connor towards the truth.  I especially liked the three stories that the monster tells and I hope that Patrick Ness writes more short stories like these.

Grab a copy of A Monster Calls from the library now.  Trust me, you won’t regret it.

4 thoughts on “Two authors = one breathtaking story

  1. kirsten 5 August 2011 / 2:17 pm

    Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy found library colleagues and high school students that I have spoken to at extreme ends of the like/dislike spectrum. If you where one of those at the dislike end DON”T let that get in the way of you reading A Monster Calls.
    A completely different story that explores the way that we keep things from ourselves and that letting go can finally set us free. The fairytale like stories that the Monster tells are a delicious twist away from the norm and got me thinking how everyone’s outcome are not always as we expect things to be – morals can be a judgemental demon! The art work is terrific – dark and disturbing, it ties with the notion of Monster very well but as the story evolves you can see the darkness being transformed from nightmare to proctector as Conner moves through his journey.

  2. Laraine 5 August 2011 / 4:15 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations, zackids. I have no idea how I got onto this list (I live just south of Rotorua) but it’s posts like yours that have kept me here. Do you have any other YA recommendations like this please? Incidentally, I’m sure it was on this list that I heard about Across the Universe by Beth Revis. I found myself enjoying it so much I didn’t want it to end so I eked it out as long as I could–not easy with an “unputdownable” book. 🙂

    • zackids 5 August 2011 / 4:49 pm

      Thanks Laraine 🙂 That was me who recommended Across the Universe. It’s still one of my top reads of the 2011 and I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel, A Million Suns due out early 2012. Recent YA books I can highly recommend are Divergent by Veronica Roth and The Bridge by local author, Jane Higgins.

  3. Laraine 13 August 2011 / 10:07 am

    Thanks, zackids, for giving me one of the best reads of the year. Thanks also for your other recommendations. I’ll keep a lookout for them. I realise it’s fairly old now, but have you read Exodus by Julie Bertagna?

    I’ve been doing a search for The Bridge. Hmm. Penguin Australia? Doesn’t that just figure!

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