Book vs Movie | A Monster Calls


It’s the age old question asked by any film or print fan around the planet. I know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘why would you read that, they made a movie?’. Obviously it’s because the book is always better.

But is it really?


The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

Goodreads | Movie Trailer


There’s a handful of authors that I love so much I’ll devour everything available, without even knowing what it’s about first.  Patrick Ness is one of those authors.  A Monster Calls would be why.

At only 216 pages, it’s one of the most profound and uniquely magical books I’ve ever read, especially for a book about loss.  Patrick Ness took an amazing concept, from the late Siobhan Dowd, and created something exceptional.   Then Jim Kay took that exceptional work and delivered powerful and haunting images to compliment it.

I’ve heard the audio for the series is good, but I guarantee that no other format compares to the illustrated print book.  If you’re not seeing Kay’s images then you can’t be getting the full impact of the story.  It’s simply impossible.  It’s dark, and it’s edgy, and it’s magnificent.

(Added note, Jim Kay also did all the artwork in the new illustrated Harry Potter books.)


When I heard A Monster Calls was being turned into a movie I was excited.  I’m always excited.  I was also nervous, because book lovers can’t help but be nervous.  Then I saw the trailer.  If you haven’t watched the trailer, please click the link above and watch.  You can’t help but fall in love.

The movie was even more epic.  I’ve never seen a movie capture the essence of a book so perfectly.  It wasn’t even just the adaptation was good, because there are plenty of moves that were well executed.  No, it was how the movie brought the pages of the book to life.  Those illustrations became reality on the big screen, exactly as I imagined them.  The Monster was terrifying and beautiful.  The 3 stories were told in mesmerizing watercolor.  I couldn’t look away.

On the technical side, the script was perfect.  Yes there were a few changes, missing characters, phrases altered.  You have to expect some of that when a book is adapted into a movie.  I didn’t care, because the move was perfectly cast and every actor and actress gave each scene everything they had.  I hope Lewis MacDougall is recognized for his superb acting as Conor, and Felicity Jones had my heart in a vise as Conor’s mother.

I cried the first time somewhere around 20 minutes in, then continued off and on until the end.


I can’t choose.  The book was the best launchpad any movie could hope for.  All the basics were there, in the pages, for the gorgeous movie to interpret.  At the same time, plenty of movies have a book to create from and they still fail.  This movie did everything right.

It’s a tie.  Neither the book, nor the movie was better.  They’re truly the perfect compliment of each other.

I’m already eager to see it again.

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

24 Responses

  1. I have yet to see the movie but I really want to! I heard it’s really good. I doubt I’ll end up seeing it in theatres (because I’m still trying to see Rogue One). But I’m really glad you liked the movie this much, this gives me a lot of hope! 🙂


  2. ichabod2014ic

    It is reassuring that a movie can sometimes live up to its book. I am looking forward to reading and watching ‘Monster Calls’.
    When I heard that ‘Fight Club’ had been made into a movie, I had serious doubts as to whether it could be pulled off, but they did a fantastic job. I feel that the book and movie stand apart from one another.
    The biggest failure of an adaptation, for me, is ‘L.A. Confidential’. It tried to squeeze two or three books into one movie, by randomly selecting a few of the best scenes from each book. This was a huge failure.
    The most accurate adaptations I know of are Wallace Beerys ‘Treasure Island’, and Humphrey Bogarts ‘Maltese Falcon’. These are wonderful and exact renditions of the robert Louis Stevenson and Dashiell Hammett books.
    I liked the Peter Jackson ‘Lord of the Rings’ movies, except, there were no elves marching up to Helms Deep in the second film, and there was supposed to be a huge elf army to save the day in the third, but it did not show. It was only Legolas doing all the elf fighting. :-/
    Happy Reading and Watching!
    ~Icky. 🙂


  3. I have put in a request for the book with my library..well a hold (I am on a buying ban for this month). I am feeling pretty excited about the fact that it was a tie! I am hoping to read this soon and then rush to see the film 🙂


  4. I’m so glad to hear how much you enjoyed the film. I watched the trailer the other day and thought it looked incredible but was still hesitant since normally the movies don’t live up to the amazingness of books. I’ll definitely be watching the movie now though!


  5. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed both the movie and the book! I agree – the illustrated edition was such an experience that you’d miss out on with the audio, and nothing really compares with how atmospheric the drawings made the story feel. I haven’t watched the movie because I don’t want to get too sad at the moment, but I know I’m in for a good time thanks to you. 🙂


  6. I will admit, I didn’t actually *read* this. As I haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet, I wanted to avoid spoilers (let me know if this is spoiler free, and I’ll go back and read it!)– but I have a copy of the book waiting for me at the library! I just wanted to share that I’m so glad this is a topic you tackled. We don’t critically question this often enough. One will always be better, but it doesn’t always have to be the book.


  7. I’m working on a post that celebrates bloggers in this community that have been a support and inspiration to me. I hope for you to participate by letting me know two things. One, is What are you passionate about? Two, is what is your favorite quote? Thank you so much for your comments and wonderful posts!


      1. It isn’t too late don’t worry! I am so so happy you are participating! I agree with you completely when you talk about how affectionate birds can be they are so intelligent and so playful, and for many parrots, talkative too! I love your quotes, the first one felt so raw and sad, but beautiful too. The second one is awesome just for how it combines science and exploration with stories and I feel the truth in that one right in my heart. Thank you again. These were really wonderful.


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