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.

My book of the year – Monsters of Men

Patrick Ness' Monsters of MenI’m suffering from sleep deprivation today as I stayed up way too late last night finishing off Patrick Ness’ new book, Monsters of Men.  It’s the final book in the Chaos Walking trilogy which is absolutely brilliant and a real benchmark for Young Adult fiction.  If you haven’t read the books I’ll give you 3 reasons why you should:

  1. Each of the books is a rollercoaster ride – there’s ups and downs, twists and turns, stomach-lurching events, and the story races along at break-neck speed.
  2. The development of the characters is incredible.  The characters are affected by the events of the story so they change with it, some for better, others for worse.  Patrick Ness is great at showing the true nature of his characters, not just what’s on the surface.
  3. The setting, the characters, and their story will stick with you long after you have finished reading.

Monsters of Men brings the story of Todd, Viola, and other settlers of New World to a thrilling conclusion.

Patrick keeps you guessing right til the end; has the Mayor truly been redeemed by Todd? Will anybody get out of the war alive? Will Todd and Viola finally get to be together?  I found it incredibly difficult to put the book down and go to work. 

I also found myself struggling with the book though as I wanted to find out how their story ended, but I didn’t want to leave those amazing characters and New World behind.  I’ll just have to start from the beginning again with The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Patrick Ness and Monsters of Men

Patrick Ness’ new book, Monsters of Men is due out on May 12 here in New Zealand and I can’t wait!  Monsters of Men is the final book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, in which we will find out the fate of Todd and Viola and the world that they live in.  Here’s the blurb:

Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others.

Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape.

As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there be peace when they’re so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await?

But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge…

I got my hands on a sample of the first chapter when I met Patrick Ness at the Somerset Writer’s Festival and you get thrown right into the action from the very first word.  It’s going to be a wild ride of a book!

If you’re also a huge fan of Patrick Ness, you can read my interview with him on the Pulse website.  While you’re there you can also enter the competition to WIN a signed copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go, a chapter sampler of Monsters of Men and two Chaos Walking badges. 

To make sure you’re one of the first to get your hands on Monsters of Men, reserve it now.