Audio Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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A Monster Calls Patrick NessA Monster Calls

Patrick Ness, inspired by Siobhan Dowb

Illustrated by Jim Kay
Publish Date: September 27, 2011
Candlewick Press
Audio book for Review from Brilliance Audio
Read by Jason Isaacs

This is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss. The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . .

This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults. –Goodreads

I can not say enough good things about A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. The story is heart breaking and real and hard to deal with but fabulous in its own way. How do you deal with heartbreak and loss when you are so young with no one to turn it? This is what Conor is facing and the Moster makes him face. The monster comes to tell Conor three stories then after the stories Conor must tell him the truth – something Conor doesn’t want to face.

Conor is dealing with a lot in his young life. His mother is sick with cancer, his father left and is living in America with his new family, and his grandmother isn’t someone he gets along with. On top of a horrible home life, he is also bullied at school every day – which he takes without telling anyone what is going on. Then one night, the monster shows up and demands for Conor to deal with what is going on in his life through three stories – all of which cause Conor to act out and deal with the things happening in his life. Even as an adult reader, I was left confused and trying to figure out what had happened with the stories – who was really hurt and who was really doing the hurting.

Even though I listened to the audio and didn’t look at the illustrations as I read the book, I still enjoyed the story. I did go and buy the book just so I could see the illustrations and they are fabulous. The pictures are done in black and white and it adds a whole different element to the story – making it dark and scary in ways just reading it wouldn’t allow.

The audio for A Monster’s Call is superb. Jason Isaacs (aka Lucius Malfoy) does a fantastic job of bringing Conor’s voice to life. He is emotional and forceful and everything you want a reader to be when reading a book with so much emotion attached to it. His voice for the monster is scary and commanding while his voice for Conor makes your heart hurt at times. He was the perfect narrator for this book.

A Monster Calls is heartbreaking and real and something that you need to experience. Conor will break your heart and you will want to take him home and make his life better once you read his story. The audiobook is fantastic and would be a great starter for audiobook virgins. If you have not read this book, it should be put in your TBR pile. It is a fast read and worth the couple hours.

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