A Monster Calls: Patrick Ness
Reviewed By Aiden Merchant
A Monster Calls is heartbreaking, beautifully crafted, imaginative, and engrossing.
Conor is dealing with something very heavy for his age – his devoted mother is dying of cancer. Conor’s father is never around (he lives in America with his new family) and his grandmother is rigid and unpleasant. Conor is not only raising himself (through the self-punishment of exclusion and chores), he’s caring for his mother and the house as best he can. Her treatments have varied in success, but now things are turning for the worst. To deal with it all, Conor has subconsciously called upon a tree-like monster that visits him at night, telling stories that Conor doesn’t find comforting or helpful. But there’s a purpose, of course, one that Conor won’t realize until the final pages of this drama.
This story broke me at times. Ness does an expert job in taking Siobhan Dowd’s vision and bringing it to life. A rollercoaster of emotion, A Monster Calls grabs you by the ears and forces your eyes to the page. You want a happy ending but know it won’t come. Instead, you must accept this story for what it is: an observation of inner turmoil and collapse. Moving through and out of darkness. Coming to terms with great loss. This story will pull at your heartstrings and make you really feel for the characters involved. I was silly enough to finish it at work during my lunch break, and I paid for that by meeting my next patient with reddened eyes.
I cannot praise A Monster Calls enough. It is a must-read.
A Monster Calls
Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working.
But tonight is different.
Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window.
It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.
Aiden Merchant is an independent author of horror, suspense, science fiction, and more. Under another alias, he got his start as a critic for such music magazines as Alternative Press (AP), American Music Press (AMP), and Outburn Magazine. He currently has two story collections available — Dead As Soon As Born and Kill for Them — and has big plans for 2020. He is married, a father of one, and living in the Appalachian Mountains.
Dead As Soon As Born
There is evil inside us all, and no one lives forever.
In this debut collection of short stories from Aiden Merchant, you will bear witness to murderers, monsters, and other horrors.