Hweeps's Reviews > A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
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May 08, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: favourites, reread-someday
Read on December 10, 2011

I've got snot on my arms, and too much mucus in my nose, and.. TMI?

A Monster Calls is... amazing. It's .. I don't know what you'd call it. Soul-capturing? Perfect? I struggle for adjectives, for words that will give a name to the emotions I feel now.

I.. have never read anything by Siobhan Dowd before.. Maybe it's time to start if Patrick Ness - the freaking amazing person who wrote the book - praised her so highly, and since the idea of the book came from her.

I dont know what is it exactly that made me bawl like a baby reading the book - I can't give a name to it. Maybe you can?

Read the book. Seriously.

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Edit

I should have known better to write a review 1 minute after reading the book.. My emotions were still too bright, if you know what I mean, I was still too high-strung, and all I can think of is I LOVE THIS BOOK I LOVE THIS BOOK I LOVE THIS BOOK when actually, I can at least attempt to break it down. I'll try my hardest to be coherent here....

So.. Things I love about A Monster Calls:

1. It has to be said. The illustrations. Never ever have I read any book that the illustrations are so wonderful. By wonderful, I don't mean the standard of the art was high or whatever. No, I mean that the illustrations don't just contribute to the story; they are part of the story. Jim Kay's illustrations are just amazing. You can check out an animation of the illustrations here.

2. The writing. Anyone who has read the Chaos Walking series would agree with me when I say that Patrick Ness has a very heartwrenching way of writing; his words pierce deep and leave a strong impression. He can write emotional scenes with little words but with so much power in them. I don't know, I just happen to think he's amazing. He captured Conor's loneliness; his grief; Conor's mum's sickness and her state of mind along with her health; Conor's grandma's way of coping, the way she was; Lily and Conor's friendship... etc.

3. The monster. 'Nuff said. I was uncertain of him at the start, but quite quickly, he gained my trust and affection. Maybe 'affection' is the wrong word to use here. I doubt he needs any from me. Still.. I think those who read the book will know what I mean about the monster..right?

There's more I love about the book; maybe the whole book.. I just can't eloquently put it down into words, so this shall just have to do. All the same, I recommend everyone read it.
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Quotes Hweeps Liked

Patrick Ness
Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled. Stories chase and bite and hunt.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“You do not write your life with words...You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“I wish I had a hundred years, she said, very quietly. A hundred years I could give to you.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
But what is a dream, Conor O'Malley? the monster said, bending down so it's face was close to Conor's. Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream?
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“Stories don't always have happy endings."

This stopped him. Because they didn't, did they? That's one thing the monster had definitely taught him. Stories were wild, wild animals and went off in directions you couldn't expect.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“The justifications of men who kill should always be heard with skepticism, said the monster.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“Who cares even if I didn't?!" Conor shouted back. "They're just stupid berries. Woo-hoo, so scary. Oh, please, please, save me from the berries!"
The monster looked at him quizzically. How strange, it said. The words you say tell me you are scared of the berries, but your actions seems to suggest otherwise.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
There was once an invisible man, the monster continued, though Conor kept his eyes firmly on Harry, who had grown tired of being unseen.
Conor set himself into a walk.
A walk after Harry.
It was not that he was actually invisible, the monster said, following Conor, the room volume dropping as they passed. It was that the people had become used to not seeing him.
"Hey!" Conor called. Harry didn't turn around. Neither did Sully nor Anton, though thet were still sniggering as Conor picked up his pace.
And if no one sees you, the monster said, picking up its pace, too, are you really there at all?
"HEY!" Conor called loudly.
The dining hall had fallen silent now, as Conor and the monster moved faster after Harry.
Harry who had still not turned around.
Conor reached him and grabbed him by the shoulder, twisting him round. Harry pretended to question what had happened, looking hard at Sully, acting like he was the one who'd done it. "Quit messing about," Harry said and turned away again.
Turned away from Conor.
And then one day the invisible man decided, the monster said, its voice ringing in Conor's ears, I will make them see me.
"How?" Conor asked, breathing heavily again, not turning back to see the monster standing there, not looking at the reaction of the room to the huge monster now in the midst, though he was aware of nervous murmurs and a strange anticipation in the air. "How did the man do it?"
Conor could feel the monster close behind him, knew that it was kneeling, knew that it was putting its face up to his ear to whisper into in, to tell him the rest of the story.
He called, it said for a monster.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
Who am I? the monster repeated, still roaring. I am the spine that the mountains hang upon! I am the tears that the rivers cry! I am the lungs that breathe the wind! I am the wolf that kills the stag, the hawk that kills the mouse, the spider that kills the fly! I am the stag, the mouse and the fly that are eaten! I am the snake of the world devouring its tail! I am everything untamed and untameable! It brought Conor up close to its eye. I am thils wild earth, come for you, Conor O'Malley.


"You look like a tree," Conor said.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“Conor's grandma wasn't like other grandmas. He'd met Lily's grandma loads of times, and she was how grandmas were supposed to be: crinkly and smiley, with white hair and the whole lot. She cooked meals where she made three separate eternally boiled vegetable portions for everybody and would giggle in the corner at Christmas with a small glass of sherry and a paper crown on her head.

Conor's grandma wore tailored trouser suits, dyed her hair to keep out the grey, and said things that made no sense at all, like "Sixty is the new fifty" or "Classic cars need the most expensive polish." What did that even mean? She emailed birthday cards, would argue with waiters over wine, and still had a job. Her house was even worse, filled with expensive old things you could never touch, like a clock she wouldn't even let the cleaning lady dust. Which was another thing. What kind of grandma had a cleaning lady?”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
After he killed the farmer's daughter, said the monster, the prince lay down next to her and returned to sleep. When he awoke, he acted out a pantomime should anyone be watching. But also, it may surprise you to learn, for himself. The monster's branches creaked. Sometimes people need to lie to themselves most of all.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
You think I tell you stories to teach you lessons? the monster said. You think I have coming walking out of time and earth itself to teach you a lesson in niceness?
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
Many things that are true feel like a cheat. Kingdoms get the princes they deserve, farmers’ daughters die for no reason, and sometimes witches merit saving. Quite often, actually. You’d be surprised.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“Because I'm not blind to how Harry works, you know," she said. "A bully with charisma and top marks is still a bully." She sighed, annoyed. "He'll probably end up Prime Minister one day. God help us all.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
>He was greedy and rude and bitter, but he was still a healer. The parson, though, what was he? He was nothing. Belief is half of all healing. Belief in the cure, belief in the future that awaits. And here was a man who lived on belief, but who sacrificed it at the first challenge, right when he needed it most. He believed selfishly and fearfully. And it took the lives of his daughters.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
The parson refused to believe the Apothecary could help, said the monster. When times were easy, the parson nearly destroyed the Apothecary, but when the going grew tough, he was willing to throw aside every belief if it would save his daughters.

"So?" Conor said. "So would anyone! So would everyone! What did you expect him to do?”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“Here is the hardest hit of all, O'Malley," Harry said. "Here is the very worst thing I can do to you."

He held out his hand, as if asking for a handshake.
He was asking for a handshake.

Conor responded almost automatically, putting out his own hand and shaking Harry's before he even thought about what he was doing. They shook hands like two businessmen at the end of a meeting.

"Goodbye, O'Malley," Harry said, looking into Conor's eyes. "I no longer see you.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
There was once an invisible man who had grown tired of being unseen. It was not that he was actually invisible. It was that people had become used to not seeing him.

And if no one sees you, are you really there at all?"

Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“Conor was no longer invisible. They all saw him now.
But he was further away than ever.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“Four lines, and the world went quiet.

I'm sorry for telling everyone about your mum, read the first line.
I miss being your friend, read the second.
Are you okay? read the third.
I see you, read the fourth, with the I underlined about a hundred times.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
You were merely wishing for the end of pain, the monster said. Your own pain. An end to how it isolated you. It is the most human wish of all.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
Because humans are complicated beasts, the monster said. How can a queen be both a good witch and a bad witch? How can a prince be a murderer and a saviour? How can an apothecary be evil-tempered but right-thinking? How can a parson be wrong-thinking but good-hearted? How can invisible men make themselves more lonely by being seen?

"I don't know," Connor shrugged, exhausted. "Your stories never made any sense to me."

The answer is that it does not matter what you think, the monster said, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness
“His grandma burst into his mum's hospital room ahead of him with a terrible question on her face. But there was a nurse inside who answered immediately. "It's okay," she said. "You're in time.”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls


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