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A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Simply stunning., 30 Oct. 2011
This review is from: A Monster Calls (Hardcover)
Like other reviewers I'm not too familiar, as a reader, with the work of Siobhan Dowd and I feel that surely I've missed out on something brilliant. I was until recently a childrens' Librarian so was quite familiar with the look of her novels, and much more so with those of Patrick Ness - a great favourite with my readers.

But, to the book. I won't repeat other, better reviewers and recount the story of the conception of this book. It is however a testament to the genius of two authors. On first purchasing it, in a professional capacity, I was expecting something along the lines of a gothic fairytale in Ness' own brilliant style. Needless to say, to those who have read it, I was surprised.

Ness is a writer of incredible skill. Those familiar with his Chaos Walking trilogy will know he is not a YA author who shies away from tackling the most difficult and thought-provoking of emotions and conflicts. A Monster Calls is no exception. Ness captures the personal anger and devastation in our grief. The raw emotion on display throughout is breathtaking in its believability and its ability to wring out your own emotions.

The monster of the title, a giant and indeed monstrous Yew tree, is an amazing creation. Again we are presented with Ness' brilliance at presenting the thoughts, the voice, the morals, of something or someone so other than ourselves. We, along with Conor, the 13yr old boy whose mother is suffering from the final stages of cancer, are forced to confront the harsh reality of our dreams, wishes, and desires. Its folkloric, allegorical tales are enough to test the wisdom of adults, but a young boy?

I must also praise the stunning illustrations by Jim Kay that provided the books with so much of its haunting, beautiful atmosphere. Simply as a piece of art the book is worth the price...

It's never ceased to amaze me how honest and unaffected literature for young people is compared with that offered to adults. I look forward to reading more from Ness, and regret that this must be the last work from Dowd. I've prattled on too long. It's getting later and as the book says 'the monster called at midnight...'

by Stéphane Reynaud
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real beauty..., 29 July 2011
This review is from: Terrine (Hardcover)
Like a lot of people it seems, I'm something of a Phaidon Cookbook junky. Whatever else you can say they're always so beautifully put together - always a stunning addition to the kitchen bookshelves. I'll admit that some may have found their way there never to be consulted again (except for mouthwatering glances). This is not one of them.

Reynaud's terrines are nicely organized - there's a five-course, terrine-based meal in here I know it - into Veg, Fish, Meat, Cheese and Desserts. The variety in recipes is great, with simple and more challenging terrines for the home cook. For me the 4 sauces for terrines at the end of each section was a delight. Simple, elegant, easy accompaniments for the main show.

To cut the foodie rambling short this is a fantastic book.

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