I have to put 1 star???
How about 0 stars???
Look, guys, I tried. I really, really did. In fact, I wanted to love this book. After reading A Monster Calls and hearing how beautiful and enthralling and exciting this series sounded, I had to give it a shot. In fact, I normally buy books, but wanted to read it so bad that I went to the library to check out this book immediately.
I thank all of the book gods that I did not buy this book, let alone the whole series.
Granted, I only made it 25 pages into the book, which according to Goodreads is only 5%. But believe me, there’s a reason, and in fact, you may already know that reason. My main issue with this book is the narrator.
I understand the idea of having a narrator who hasn’t learned to read. It is a dystopian society after all. My issue was with the way it was not only presented, but the way it was written. Todd Hewitt is an almost-thirteen-year-old, uneducated, immature little shit. That’s putting it kindly. Can someone explain to me, while he knows people can hear his thoughts because of the Noise, why he insists of thinking to himself how much he hates the dog he was given for this birthday last year? And why he treats his dog like crap? Like, I’m sorry? Are animals not good enough for your little puny macho self? Guess not.
Not only that, but the narration was annoying. The author has Todd thinks words like “Affecshuns” (Affections) and “gas stayshun” (gas station). I don’t particularly understand why those words were written like that, as “affecshuns” and “affections” have the exact same words, except one is incorrectly spelled. One could argue that Ness’s pointed was to show Todd’s uneducated way of thinking those words, but then how comes he can think so many other words correctly? It doesn’t make much sense.
Let’s look at some other fine examples of Todd’s way of thinking.
Page 1: “The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.”
Page 2 (Run-on sentence): “Ben’s sent me to pick him some swamp apples and he’s made me take Manchee with me, even tho we all know Cillian only bought him to stay on Mayor Prentiss’s good side and so suddenly here’s this brand-new dog as a present for my birthday last year when I never said I wanted any dog, that what I said was for Cillian to finally fix the fissionbike so that I wouldn’t have to walk every forsaken place i this stupid town, but oh, no, happy birthday Todd, here’s a brand-new puppy, Todd, ad even tho you don’t want him, even tho you never asked for him, guess who has to feed him and train him and wash him and take him for walks and listen to him jabber now he’s got old enough for the talking germ to get his mouth moving?” Yes, that is a whole sentence.
Page 2: “The plans are being planned, the preparayshuns prepared, it will be a party, I guess, tho I’m starting to get some strange pictures about it, all dark and too bright at the same time, but nevertheless I will become a man and picking apples in the swamp is not a job for a man or even an almost-man.”
Page 3 (The over-excessive use of the word goddamn): “”Squirrel!” Manchee shouts and off he goes, jumping off the trail, no matter how loud I yell after him, and off I have to go, too, across the (I look around to make sure I’m alone) goddamnfields cuz Cillian’ll have a fit if Manchee falls down somegoddamn snake hole and of course it’ll be my own goddamnfault even tho I never wanted the goddamn dog in the goddamnfirst place.” Was all of that really necessary?
Skipping a few pages of more horrendous narration to the part where I officially give up…
Page 22: “And them’s the words, the voices talking and moaning and singing and crying.”
Page 24: “The gas stayshun don’t work no more cuz the fission generator that made the gas went kerflooey last year and just sits there beside the gas stayshun like a hulking ugly hurt toe and no one’d live next to it except Mr. Hammar and Mr. Hammar’s much worse than Mr. Phelps cuz he’ll aim his noise right at you.”
I really tried. I wanted to like it. The story had potential. But for me, as a writer, I cannot deal with the way it’s written. It makes me want to burn it. Or buy them just to go through with a red pen and fix all the mistakes. It’s too distracting and I cannot thoroughly enjoy the story because of it.
If you can handle it, I would highly recommend because the story sounds as if it really has potential to go somewhere. If you’re like me and the writing makes you want to gouge your eyes out, I suggest you don’t even bother picking this up.