This is one of those books that has nothing but praise showering down upon it, so in true Miss Abigail fashion, I wasn’t a fan.
A Monster Calls has been on my TBR for years, and when the movie came out recently, it moved up my priority list.
Safe to say I missed seeing it in the cinema, but I still really wanted to get through the book and then watch the movie (hello, Liam Neeson is in it… I could never pass that up!).
Anywho, during my #boutofbooks readathon last month, I powered through and finished it… and I have some issues. So, let’s take a look.
On the surface, there wasn’t anything wrong with this story exactly. There’s no part in particular that I didn’t like or thought was handled badly. It was more of an overall feeling that it just didn’t sit right with me.
I think a lot of the issues stem from the fact that Ness was not the one who conceived this idea, and therefore it was not his vision. Personally, I was very aware while reading the book that he was fulfilling someone else’s idea. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, and it was a fitting tribute, but the story just didn’t ring true to me. I can’t imagine successfully being able to write about a character you didn’t create yourself, it would be like reading a piece of fanfiction (where you’re hyper-aware that this piece in front of you isn’t the whole story, but rather one person’s perception.) Does that make sense? To me, it was just a little half-hearted.
Now, it’s time to get personal. I’m just not a fan of Ness as a writer. This is the second book I’ve read from him now (the first being The Rest of Us Just Live Here) and I’ve encountered the same problem on both occasions. When I read a book by Jenny Han, I think to myself ‘Lara Jean, you’re just so cute!’ or ‘The song girls are exactly like me and my siblings’. On the other hand, when I read a book by Patrick Ness, I feel like I’m constantly aware that this book was written by him and that these characters are imaginary. It means that I’m never really fully immersed in the story and so I’m just not that emotionally invested in anything that happens to them.
When I first started this book, it felt very similar to Neil Gamian’s the Ocean at the End of the Lane, which was infinitely more magical and convincing in my humble opinion. I’d highly recommend that one one this one.
As a story, I really did like the concept, and it was an interesting picture of illness and bereavement. Therefore, I’m still going to see the movie in the near future, hopefully it won’t disappoint.
Overall, I gave 3/5 stars (still no 5/5’s on the horizon). I think a lot of brownie points were lost because of the hype to do with this book, which meant I was expecting so much, but ultimately, it was just okay.
What did you guys think of this novel? Overhyped, or amazing? Let me know in the comments!