A Monster Calls… Depressingly.

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Hello to all trees crushing churches, pigs from outer-space, people with funny suits and computer speakers from 1987.

Yesterday I read a book. I read lots of books; however, I rarely read books about living yew trees that talk to people and tell stories and are INCREDIBLY DEPRESSING. A Monster Calls is a book by Patrick Ness, author of the tremendously cool series Chaos Walking. This book is a 200-some sad picture book, so sad, so incredibly sad that you will very possibly feel like crying… or rewriting the ending, like I did. And Conor could finally face it, his mother’s death. Wouldn’t it be better if it ended like, And Conor lived happily ever after in a flying castle with his friends and there was never another depressing day to be had. Ever. Then they all went and got ice cream and there were puppies and butterflies falling from the sky.

A Monster Calls is fantastic. Patrick Ness is a great writer and, though melancholy, the book is quite entertaining and brutally honest. The best part is the illustrations, which are dark and strange and sometimes alarming. It’s a lot to take in three hours of furious page-turning, and it leaves a bittersweet (mostly bitter, not very sweet) taste behind. But the monster, which is a yew tree but not a yew tree but not real but real at the same time, is possibly the funniest part of the whole thing, which is ironic since it’s also the scariest and darkest part of the whole thing. The stories it tells to Conor are interesting, and the whole thing is like a half-daze of frightening images and wordplay: all very lyrical, like a long, dark poem about a dying woman and a struggling boy and a darn freaky living tree that crushes things.

I reccommend it, if mostly for the artwork. The story is good on its own, but the images that Jim Kay conjures up really makes it what it is. Four stars out of five, I say.

So ends my review of one of the most interesting yet horribly, horribly sad books I’ve ever read. Let’s read the Clifford the Big Red Dog Valentine’s Day book next. Please.



2 comments on “A Monster Calls… Depressingly.

  1. Andrew says:

    This book looks awesome, and he kind of reminds me of Swamp Thing.

  2. I wish he WAS the Swamp Thing. The Swamp Thing is much, much less depressing.

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