Liked it even more than the first one - memorable and amazingly flawed characters, creative world-building and swash-buckling adventure. Wish there we...moreLiked it even more than the first one - memorable and amazingly flawed characters, creative world-building and swash-buckling adventure. Wish there were more books in the series!(less)
I feel like I should clarify my low rating (as I write I, along with only 3 others have rated it a two - no one has given it lower).
This book is abou...moreI feel like I should clarify my low rating (as I write I, along with only 3 others have rated it a two - no one has given it lower).
This book is about a sea-witch who, out of revenge after a childhood of ridicule and alienation, conjures up beautiful women from the sea. These women capture the eyes of all the men on the island, destroying families in their wake.
I honestly don't know what I really felt about this book - at times (most of the time to be honest) it was a struggle just to finish a single page, but other times, at the end especially, I had finished fifteen without even noticing. Overall I did not care much for the writing I guess; I'm not a fan of switching first person point-of-views - I much prefer third person when dealing with multiple people's viewpoints in a book. I did recognized some truly beautiful prose in it (when I'm not as lazy I'll look some of them up), but for me it was too much. Too heavy, too melancholic, too poetic at times. Not much happens in the book; everything just slowly spirals down until everybody is miserable. None of the characters seemed to ever be happy.
Speaking of the characters, I did not really like anyone of them. The only one I actually rooted for was the girl at the end, Lorna (?) and little Daniel Mallett, the others I just did not care about at all. Misskaella, the sea-witch, was petty and vindictive - and I don't think her upbringing justified her behavior during all those years of misery and witchcraft.
The story was interesting, but I think it was a bit too... Strange (this comes from me; self-proclaimed lover of freaks and supernatural happenings in books and movies. I'm ashamed of myself) for my taste. I never understood how the magic worked; was it common in the world? Did it work the same for everybody? Why did Miskaella take on an apprentice if not to teach her to bring forth more sea-wives? Was this apprentice (unfortunately, I don't remember her name) even magical at all? Why didn't Misskaella's children survive when everybody else's did? So many questions!! Where are my answers??
No, this book was not for me, it's as simple as that. But pretty much everybody else loves it, so give it a try and see for yourself. It might be a new favorite of yours.(less)
I revised my rating from 3 to 4; it's a retelling of Rapunzel, and for me to compare it to Disney's Tangled (a movie a absolutely adore!) is not fair....moreI revised my rating from 3 to 4; it's a retelling of Rapunzel, and for me to compare it to Disney's Tangled (a movie a absolutely adore!) is not fair. I realized when I re-read it, that the first time I had actually been disappointed when the prince's name wasn't Eugene or Flynn which is beyond silly actually! (forgive me!)
As a retelling it is a slightly darker and more hopeless version than what I remember from my childhood. There is a heavy cloud of despair and longing coming through the pages. Long after I put it down the second time I pondered the question; How far am I willing to go to get what I long for?(less)
A great book is a book that transcends its own setting and time. It is a book that makes the reader think not once, but twice. A book that is the sour...moreA great book is a book that transcends its own setting and time. It is a book that makes the reader think not once, but twice. A book that is the source for discussion; discussions that never waver or thin out. A great book inspires deep emotions, but not necessarily the same emotions in all its readers. With this in mind, it is safe to say that A Monster Calls (2011) by Patrick Ness is a great book.
The plot of A Monster Calls is fairly simple and to the point. It is about a thirteen year old boy, Conor, who is trying to deal with his mother's cancer diagnosis, an absent father and friends from school who don't seem to see him anymore. He carries more burdens on his shoulder than any boy ever should have to. The plot may be simple; the lesson you will learn from it, however, is anything but.
The time and place of the novel is never actually disclosed. We know it takes place somewhere in an English-speaking country, and there are things such as cars and television; this is all Ness decides to tell us. The beauty of it is that, incidentally, this is also all we need to know. The book is relevant to everybody, everywhere, no matter where the reader is currently residing or what she has experienced in her life. The message of the book speaks to all who pick it up and start to turn its pages.
The reader, alongside Conor, is thrown between hope and despair throughout the novel. Between resignation and determination. The book does horrible, but necessary, things to you with gentle words and simple, flowing language; it forces whoever reads it to either think about the potential loss of a loved one, or relive it if it has already happened. It teaches, without preaching, about the value of life, and the inevitability of death. Moreover, it tells of the importance of being truthful to yourself, even when the truth hurts and scars.
A Monster Calls is on the surface a very sad and depressing book. However, if you look underneath the surface and between the lines, you start to realize the book's true message; healing, letting go and, most importantly, that it is okay to want more time with the people you love. That it is alright to wish no one you care about will ever die, even when you know that is impossible.
Patrick Ness has crafted a great book; a book anyone can pick up and relate to. Today, or even fifty or hundred years from now, it will still be able to inspire and speak to its readers. It is a book that stays with you long after you have turned the last page. A Monster Calls makes you think, it makes you feel, and it makes you hope. It is everything a great book should be and more.