Saturday, October 9, 2010

BR: Monsters of Men

by Patrick Ness
Chaos Walking trilogy; book III

Needless to say, I'm kind of a total fangirl of this series. It defies all expectations with imaginative style and strokes of brilliance. Just check out these three quotes, my review of book one, and my author feature :) I finally purchased this when I couldnt wait for the library anymore.
**Will contain minor-ish spoilers for the first two books!!**


'War', says the Mayor. 'At last'.

Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge...

My Expectations: HIGH. I expected it to blow my brains out.

Delivery: perhaps I was a bit unreasonable, but nevertheless this finale was pretty darned epic.

Put-down-ability: hard to stay engaged (I explain in the review) 7/10

My Thoughts

I think most people who have stuck with my blog know how big of a fan I am of Patrick Ness’ dystopian Chaos Walking trilogy. I mean, come on, the first two books were intense, and ended on such a crazy cliffhanger, they pounded at a relentless pace never letting me catch my breath as twist after twist occurred. And the third book is more or less the same level of awesome.

This review will stray from my traditional ones, partly because I feel since Ness ignored the idea of structure, I will too. Also, I would like to try my best to avoid spoilers, and change it up a bit.

Monsters of Men is truly remarkable, it is brutal, thrilling and unpredictable, the tragedies of war are splattered across its pages. But they weren’t the only things. Ness also managed to weave in freedom, information overload, choices, consequences, sacrifice, politics, power, vengeance, morality, love, hope, and far far more into this final instalment. I took away so much after reading it.

I really loved the idea of choices, about what we would do for someone we loved, the choice of pulling the trigger or shielding your eyes, the choice of saving a town or saving a person. All of this is explored in an entertaining fashion; Todd and Viola’s relationship evolves by leaps and bounds, it could be tense, deceitful, sweet or chaotic. I loved the lack of sexual tension, both these characters are totally in love =) I absolutely love them both!

The book's stance on war is strong and unyielding: sacrifices are made, sides are chosen, battles are fought, and none of this is sugarcoated and readers get an up-close look on how such brutality affects those involved. As some people feed off power and destruction others step up to the plate and take on the challenge. Costs of war, the consequences, and even the initial spark that sets everything off is amazing. No one, and I mean no one gets out of it unscathed.

The non-genius part of this novel was its length. I’m just a tad intimidated by long novels, and this one had the tendency to cause minor irritation. For one, the third POV inserted didn’t help me stay invested, if anything, it jolted me out of my suspension of disbelief. It’s like the third wheel in a perfectly compatible relationship.

But... you know what made HP so amazing? Lord Voldemort. The thing about Monsters of Men was, well, it was hard to define who Lord Voldemort was. The complexities of the antagonist(s) was spot-on, they had depth and motivations, development and that little sparkle of charm and doubt that made me think… what if he/she did change? I mean it takes serious talent to half-way redeem a basically horrendous person, and Ness managed to make him/her empathetic. Empathetic! I’m impressed.

This novel is a display of world-building at its finest. The Spackle’s means of communication, the Noise, the new world, the Settlers, it’s got the dose of originality and possibility that is a must-have for any dystopian novel. Plot twists were aplenty, many (esp. The Source…) left me jaw-dropped in a very unattractive manner. Pretty genius, just sayin’.

And to end on a high note, Todd was a fantastic character. There’s so many reasons why he should be the blueprint of coolness, so marvellously complex and with justifiable and understandable motivations, I loved his rocky relationship with the Mayor. As their relationship evolved, I was mystified with how things would progress, everything became so intimately tangled I was shocked with how Ness managed to pull everything off.

Patrick Ness, writer extraordinaire does it again. His odd stream-of-consciousness style is flawless, and I just love the shit he makes his characters endure. The ethical choice or the internal one. Is war personal? What is the 'greater good'? Taking responsibilty for your choices. Can love really survive such devastating circumstances? Can people really change? Do they?

Okay, and final comment, again, the climax and anticlimax was one of the best I’ve ever read! The plot picked up pace until I was completely hooked and everything was happening, then BAM. WOW. OMG. WOW. End.

Parting Thoughts: I wish I could say more, there is honestly hundreds of things I wanted to write in this review! I already know that I kinda overkilled the length.. sorry xD
Rating in HP Terms:
Exceeds Expectations

9.1/10 - because it's a stunning finale to an incredibly unique series. I loved the way everything unfolded, the themes it tackled, the writing, the twists, and especially the characters. Definitely recommended to any reader who is a fan of dystopian, gutsy fiction! A
And if you haven't read the series yet, TRY IT. Just try =) Book one is The Knife of Never Letting Go.


  1. I read the first two books already but I have not got the chance to read this one yet!

  2. I met with Patrick yesterday and saw him on Friday! I got a signed copy at an author dinner that day, so it's so perfect that you posted this! I have yet to read the books, but Patrick was such a fantastic speaker and you're review is so passionate that they're definitely near the top of my to-read list!



  3. I came from Staruday Situation hosted by Candace's Book Blog and Pure Imagination.

    I totally hate cliffhanger endings. I tend to wait for the last book to get published then start reading it. That is why I value reviews like yours. It helps me decide when to start reading/buying a book, specially those in a series. Thanks for sharing your views!

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-warrior [at] yahoo [dot] com

  4. I haven't read these yet but after your review, I will def have to look it up.

    Visiting from Saturday Situation!
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  5. Beth- if you liked the first two, I think you'll enjoy this one as well!

    Madeleine- words cannot describe how JEALOUS I am!!! He seems like an amazing person, and I really enjoy his interviews. And dinner? haha, gosh, you're so lucky! I hope you try the series, it's really different!

    Cherry- thanks for visiting Cherry! Mhm, trust me the first 2 have crazy cliffhangers but I think this one ties stuff up relatively well :) I hope you get a chance to read this!

    Brandi- thanks for visiting and commenting :)


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