Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on October 24, 2014 | 5 Comments

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick NessA Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Published by Walker Books (9.27.2011)
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Format: Hardcover, 215 pages
Source: I own it

2.5 Stars

The monster showed up 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 one 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 is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

My thoughts

I have heard of this book through many bloggers, and have seen TONS of glowing reviews for it. I’ve seen people talk about how it changed their life. (This was actually my first foray into the Middle Grade genre.) Honestly, I don’t even know how to review and rate this because this book didn’t really do anything for me.

It was deep…almost too deep for the audience it was meant for. But at the same time, it felt like kind of a pointless story for me (I feel like I’m going to get a lot of flak for saying that). I think maybe it’s just because it’s not my cup of tea, or maybe it’s that the story was so short and I didn’t have time to really get into it. I’m not sure, exactly.

With the subject matter, I should have cried. I didn’t. Why? Lack of connection, I suppose. I just didn’t care. Again, it was over so fast that I didn’t really have time to make a connection to the characters. Aside from the stories the monster told (which were the most interesting part of the story), most of this was just every day life stuff. I didn’t care about the bullies. Or the interactions with his grandmother or father. I was actually rather bored for most of the story. I was curious, though – I wanted to know what “the truth” was.

It is a beautiful story. Just because I didn’t care for it doesn’t mean YOU shouldn’t try it…most of you would probably love it!


I picked this book for Horror October because it was marked as ‘Horror’ on Goodreads, but it’s not really horror at all. Yes, there’s a monster…but it’s really more of contemporary than anything else. View Spoiler »

1 skull weak

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3.5/5
Premise: 4/5
Writing style: 3/5
Originality: 5/5
Characters: 2/5
Pace: 3/5
Feels: 1/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 2.5/5

Jessi (Geo)

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5 responses to “Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

  1. Aww, of course it breaks my heart to hear you didn’t love this one, because I definitely did. I don’t even feel like it’s because I necessarily related to what happened in the story – it’s just that overwhelming feeling of injustice and anger and frustration at the world, you know? I think we all deal with that struggle every once in a while. But I do think it’s a book you sort of have to take you time absorbing, not rush through, because it is such a little book with such a big message.

    And yes, definitely not horror. I’ve seen people mentioning reading it for Halloween and I always want to say something but feel like they should just find out themselves. I hope your expectations that it would be horror didn’t hurt your enjoyment too much!

    But yes. Sorry you didn’t love it :( At least I hope you enjoyed the art? :P

    • Yeah. I was just like, WHY IS THIS MARKED AS HORROR?! I hope the ones who marked it as such were the people who haven’t read it yet. I don’t think it was that fact that ruined it for me though, I just couldn’t connect to the story :(

      I did like the art! I can’t believe I didn’t include that in my review.

  2. *phew* I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to not really like the story. I agree that the most “interesting” part of the book were the monster’s stories. I was definitely more into Ness’s other novel, “More Than This” – I felt like that was more “horror” than this book was, lol. I even thought some of the dialogue between Conor and the monster was comical, and the monster said some pretty awesome quotes, but it wasn’t enough to make me love the story like everyone else seems too! But don’t worry, you weren’t alone on this one!

    • Oh thank goodness! I’m SO glad there’s someone else who agrees with me. At least when I’m treated like a pariah for not liking it I’ll have someone to run to haha!

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