A Monster Calls

May 12, 2011

Nearly two years ago, a friend handed me a book, and told me

“Read the first page. I guarantee you’ll want to read the rest.”

It took 23 words.

That book was The Knife of Never Letting Go  by Patrick Ness. I started reading it that night. I finished reading it the next. Or rather, early the next morning.

Luckily, it was only a short wait for the second book in the series – The Ask and The Answer.

The third book – Monsters of Men –  took an agonizingly long amount of time to be released, but it was very much worth the wait. I purchased the book, and had to resist trying to read it as I walked home. I finished that book in a single sitting as well.

This evening, I went to the launch of Patrick Ness’ new novel A Monster Calls. (From an original idea by Siobhan Dowd.)

After the impact the Chaos Walking trilogy had, I should have been ready for A Monster Calls. I should have known I wouldn’t be able to resist opening it on the bus home, even though I knew I had work to do. (Of course, having a tantalizing snippet of the book read at the launch didn’t help) I managed to resist briefly, but I went to bed a couple of hours ago and thought “I’ll just read a little bit more.”

I’ve just finished the book, and I can’t sleep just yet. I have a tendency to be effusive about books I enjoy. I have told anyone who would listen, at length, and repeatedly, about how fantastic I thought the Chaos Walking trilogy was and how they should immediately take  a weekend off and read all three in one sitting. I’m saying this now, because this history of enthusiasm might make you think it’s just my normal level of fervor at work in the words below.

It’s not.

A Monster Calls is an utterly breathtaking work of fiction.

Literally. As I closed the book, I had to take several deep breaths.

And that’s all I’m going to say. I could go on, with many more superlatives. I’ve been writing and deleting several, realising that I’d need either all of them or none of them to convey my reaction.

So there you go.


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