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I liked Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy quite a lot, even though the style of the writing annoyed me after a while; each book could easily be 100 pages shorter.

The style of writing is much different in A Monster Calls, more restrained and controlled. I'm not sure how much of that is because he's adapting an idea by a different writer--Siobhan Dowd, who died from cancer before she could write the book herself--or just because he's a versatile writer (Monster is 3rd person, the Chaos Walking novels use several 1st person narrators, and the out-of-control feel is important to the story).

The plot focuses on Conor O'Malley as he deals with his mother's decline due to cancer, and on a monster that visits Conor at the same time each night. The monster takes the form of a yew tree in the church graveyard behind Conor's house. He believes the monster has come to heal his mother, and is disappointed when the monster says he came to tell Conor three stories.

The monster is one of the better mythic characters I've encountered recently, and he looks like this (illustrated by Jim Kay):

a-monster-calls-1.jpg

Here's my favorite line (that doesn't reveal too much about the story, at least):

"Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both."
Edited by Tyler

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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