The bestselling novel about love, loss and hope from the twice Carnegie Medal-winning Patrick Ness.
Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.
Patrick Ness takes the final idea of the late, award-winning writer Siobhan Dowd and weaves an extraordinary and heartbreaking tale of mischief, healing and above all, the courage it takes to survive.
Firstly, thank you to Michelle @ Michelle Likes Things for my copy of this, I love you!
I wanted to watch the movie first, as I’m strange that way, but, I knew after watching the movie that I immediately wanted to read the book [I did the same thing with Coraline a couple of weeks back].
So here we are, I’ll give you my take on the book, and the movie, and then compare them!
I did not expect this book to break me, but it did! In finely chopped little pieces too lol.
The writing is simple but also breathes life into the story without overloading on details. This is Conor’s story, this is his platform as he listens to tales and goes through life and I think Ness captures the 13-year-old perfectly. He’s stuck in this in-between time, not really a boy but not an adult, and like many teens, this means he doesn’t quite know where he fits in because of this.
But unlike a lot of his fellow pupils, Conor is dealing with the fact that he’s more the carer in his home, his mother is quite ill and though she has always taken care of him, with her sickness the tables have had to turn.
Combine this with his other responsibilities at school, it’s a lonely life and if we were listing priorities, well, his Mum comes before school in his books.
So why does a Monster visit him one night?
The Monster tells Conor that he’s called him and since he has, the monster will tell Conor 3 tales, and Conor will tell him the Fourth tale.
This isn’t just any tale though, the Monster claims that Conor will tell him his nightmare, his truth.
And Conor knows exactly what that means, and he refuses. The Monster doesn’t scare him, he has been through scarier things.
Ness deals with the complex relationships between Conor and his mum, Conor and his rather absent father, and Conor and his grandmother. His Grandma is the one person who he may have in his future, and he rages against this, she’s a woman unlike him in almost every aspect, the only thing they seem to have in common is they both love his mum.
This was a highly emotional read, and when you find out the Monster’s true purpose, well, you may get teary-eyed, I may or may not have.
Great pacing, amazing familial relationships, and heartbreaking prose. Definitely a favourite for me, 5 out of 5 cups of coffee from me!
Now, this is only my humble opinion, but, I thought the film was a really well-done adaptation to the book!
They didn’t take too much artistic license, but, this is, I imagine because Ness himself does the screenplay!
-Conor is an artist, and he takes after his Mum in that regard, she’s an artist too.
-We see him doing a lot of the chores and cleaning which you know he does in the book but isn’t always described.
-There’s a bit more of his Grandma and him at the end [I think this was probably done to give viewers a bit more closure, I liked it, though I would have been fine if the movie had ended where the book had]
-The monster possibly visited his mum also
-The monster has the voice of his grandfather [So we may see this as possibly the inspiration of the monster from his Mum’s mind]
-There aren’t the remanents from the trees visits leftover, to ‘prove’ his visits.
So overall, I didn’t find the movie quite as powerful as the book, but, I thought it was great. 4/5 for the movie, 5/5 for the book. I like how it answered some questions that readers may have had with the ending, and I love the art style of the tales!