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Ness, Patrick: A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls (2011)
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 224 (hardcover)
Series: Stand Alone

Summary (from )

I've been wanting to read this book for AGES. AGES I tell you. It first caught my attention when I read reviews for it on The Book Smugglers and on Books I Done Read, who both gave it stellar reviews. That, compounded with the fact that the book was SUPER SAD (I kind of like sad books that do so without being exploitive -- I find them cathartic) and it has PICTURES! Really neat and spooky looking pictures that look like this:

How cool looking is that? It didn't hurt that it was written by Patrick Ness. I read and loved his book The Knife of Never Letting Go which I read and reviewed back in April of this year.

However, getting this book proved to harder to get than I anticipated. The book store I work didn't get it in at the end of September when it was released, but it WAS on order. World's Biggest Book Store in Toronto had it, and Jacob offered to buy it for me, but I was all like: "Naahh, my store should get it in soon -- it's on order." Of course, IT DIDN'T come in soon and by the time I figured that out I was heading to Toronto to visit Jacob anyway, so I decided to get it then.

All this preamble is just to give you all an idea of just HOW excited I was to read this. You'd think all this anticipation would have set me up to be disappointed. I was kind of worried about that when I did have the book in my hands actually.

I was so very, very wrong.

REVIEW: no spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: Really, what more is there to say? This book is amazing and it met all my expectations and then some. Be warned that this story is a tear-jerker, but it handles the subject matter (mother dying of cancer) with heart and honesty that never felt exploitative. There are stories within the story that are rich and layered and throw you curve balls in their morals. The illustrations throughout the book are really cool and creepy looking and encapsulate the feel of the story perfectly. The writing was also very fitting for the story and made this read all the more heart-wrenching. I was emotionally drained when I put the book down, but I felt a sense of relief too.. This is one of the best books I have ever read and is definitely going to be one of my favorites this year.

Cover Commentary: It's perfect (like everything else about this book). This picture perfectly illustrates the feel of the book (grim and depressing) and is really intriguing: what IS that thing anyway? what's it doing? why? I think it will really pull people in.

Ness, Patrick: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008)
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 496 (trade paperback)
Series: Book One of Three 

Summary (from )

Another book for the Alphabet Soup bookclub over at calico_reaction! I was super excited when this book was chosen for the month of March because I've actually been wanting to read this series for ages. I've only heard good things about it from bloggers who I trust (or have similar tastes with.) I was almost afraid I wouldn't get to read this during the challenge period because I've been epically swamped with homework (six essays due within the next two weeks, six exams after that, a dozen or so assignments) BUT I made time to read this and I'm REALLY glad I did. By the way, this review of going to have crazy spoilers, so if you plan on reading this, please for the love of god, don't look under the cut. 

REVIEW: major spoilersCollapse )

Final Verdict: This is a GOOD book. It was slow to start, but as I went on I got really sucked in. It's got a solid cast of characters who are very normal and very flawed people. I seriously just wanted these poor kids to be okay, and while the ending didn't really promise me that (at all), it's only made me want to read the two sequels. There's great first-person narration going here as well; I think Ness made good use of it, and uses the element of the Noise to bring it a step further and I thought it was nicely done. There's a great Chrysalids-esque setting that Ness builds up on nicely, so even if you're not a lover of sci-fi, there might be something here for you. It's a dark and depressing book that doesn't hold back on the grit or violence, so if you're looking for something happy I wouldn't recommend this title. However, if you're not looking for light and fluffy, this is definitely worth checking out. 

Cover Commentary: It's all right. Nothing special, and it didn't really grab my attention too much in the book store either. It's got the cool font that shows up in the book when Noise is being visualized and it's a nice shade of orange I guess? It's definitely not a bad cover.


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