This is not a review.
I first heard of Patrick Ness thanks to an old Amazon recommendation in 2009. Later, he was mentioned in an io9 article, which somehow legitimized my desire to find his books. In 2009, I found both The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer in Bibliarch Glorietta, and the rest was history. I remember not even managing to climb the stairs of my lonely apartment because I was too engrossed in his books. I read them straight. I don't even remember fixing myself dinner. After the release of Monsters of Men last year, I had been eagerly awaiting his next title.
Then came A Monster Calls. Like I said earlier, this is not a review.
A Monster Calls was really the brainchild of author Siobhan Dowd. I am sorry to admit that I've never read anything she has written before this. But Ms Dowd passed on before she could finish it, and Mr Ness was left with the task. In the story, Conor comes face-to-face with a walking nightmare. And whether Conor likes it or not, the monster is there to tell him three tales -- and expects one in return. And what Conor has chosen to tell literally shook me. I cried. I had been in his shoes before. I knew that life. This is what I mean when I say this is not a review. I am not the right person to ask.
The spark which belonged to Ms Dowd was shaped by Mr Ness' way of writing powerful coming-of-age stories and Jim Kay's brilliantly dark illustrations. A Monster Calls knew, with its honest and simple prose, how to reveal a carefully layered story, one that is brimming with emotion that is neither put-on or pretentious. You have to be there, at 12.07, to know what I mean.
If you've faced sickness and death and loss and regret in your life, read it. This is not a review. This is an exhortation.
A very special thank you to Tina of One More Page for my lovely copy.