A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls Patrick Ness

The monster showed up just after midnight.

– Opening sentence

WARNING: This book will make you cry, and it will never fully leave you.

Reminiscent of a fai

rytale, yet as dark and enthralling as a horror,  A Monster Calls is something special.

A tale a about love, sorrow, guilt and grief, A Monster Calls evoked an emotional response in me that most books fail to even slightly stir, and it will be a book that I hold dear for a long time to come.

From an original idea by Siobhan Dowd.

Siobhan Dowd was a British writer and activist, who died in 2007 from breast cancer.

Dowd wrote a number of children’s novels, and undertook another one before her death. Unfortunately, she didn’t get the chance to finish it.

She had the characters, a premise, and a beginning. What she didn’t have, unfortunately, was time.

Patrick Ness, in the Author’s Note to A Monster Calls.

Patrick Ness, best known for his Chaos Walking trilogy, was asked to complete Dowd’s final story by their mutual editor Denise Johnstone-Burt.

He said yes, and the end result is A Monster Calls.

I’ve just finished reading it in one sitting, and it’s easily one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

I own the illustrated version (featuring Jim Kay) and the illustrations are both dark and sinister; mesmerising and beautiful. They complement the story perfectly, transporting the reader into a timeless vortex of magic and fantasy.

The Monster Sitting Down - Jim Kay
The Monster Sitting Down – Jim Kay
Monster at the Window - jim Kay
Monster at the Window – Jim Kay

As I was reading it, everything else disappeared. From the very beginning it draws you in, and refuses to let you go until you reach the very end.

The story itself has very few characters; namely Conor, Mum, The Monster, and The Nightmare. Their story is short but enthralling, and Ness tells it artistically.

The Monster is one of the best characters I’ve discovered in a long time, and reminded me of Enid Blyton’s characters in The Faraway Tree series.

You’ll notice I’ve kept this review completely spoiler free – and that’s because I read it without any insight as to what it entailed, and that make it even more special to me.

I’m going to give you the same chance to experience it the way I did – and I fully recommend you do. This is a book for all ages, and one to read again and again for years to come.

And by doing so, he could finally let her go.

– Final sentence

5 Stars (5 / 5)


  1. Pingback: My Top Reads of 2016 - Dickens Does Books

  2. I agree with your review–A Monster Calls was one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I don’t know exactly how much Dowd provided, but Ness certainly took the story someplace special and powerful.

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