I received this book for free from Publisher, Purchased in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Also by this author: The Knife Of Never Letting Go, , The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Series: Chaos Walking #3
Also in this series: The Knife Of Never Letting Go
Published by Candlewick Press on October 18th 2010
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Prejudice & Racism, Social Issues, Violence, Young Adult
Source: Publisher, Purchased
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In the riveting conclusion to the acclaimed dystopian series, a boy and girl caught in the chaos of war face devastating choices that will decide the fate of a world. As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale. Includes “Snowscape,” a short story by Patrick Ness.
There is something special about the Chaos Walking series. These three books – The Knife Of Never Letting Go, The Ask And The Answer, and Monsters Of Men have this way of reaching inside you and revealing universal truths. They have this way of extracting some really serious feels from what feels like your core. To me, these books have proved that Patrick Ness is an artist of words, as stupid as that sounds. It is days later after I have finished the series, after I’ve finished Monsters Of Men FINALLY and I am still sort of sitting here stumped for words to describe all of the emotions and the book and my feels after finishing. I’m a bit overcome and kind of also mad at myself for not finishing Ness’s series sooner. Beyond this point right here there are going to be some spoilers — just a head’s up.
Monsters Of Men opens up with war. It’s not a simple one side versus the other war. Oh, no. It’s Mayor Prentiss versus Madame Coyle versus the Spackle. Todd and Viola are caught up in the war. Meanwhile, one of the scout ships has landed carrying new characters named Bradley and Simone who both have to pave the way for the fleet of Settler ships coming. The Spackle are very, very angry about the genocide committed at the hands of Mayor or rather President Prentiss. Todd and Viola desperately want peace, yet at the same time they are willing to jeopardize that peace if the other is in danger. This is truly the book where all of the threads from the previous two books in the series come to a head. This is where everything comes together and we get a true finish to the story. Personally, I loved it.
YOU GUYS! I did not think I could get any more attached to Todd than I already was, but I was totally wrong. He is one of the point of view characters in this book and goodness almighty he has come a long way from The Knife Of Never Letting Go. First, Todd has essentially learned to control his Noise, with the chants from the Mayor you know that whole ‘I am the Circle and the Circle is me’ bit. He channels this into a weapon, envisioning Viola. What I truly love is that Todd faces tough decisions, he makes mistakes, he selfishly makes war personal from time to time and yet he retains his humanity. For a fictional character, I felt like Todd is so flawed and so actualized and I just wanted to reach in and make everything okay for Todd. This is one character who truly goes to hell and back and it’s hard to read and heartbreaking because I’ve gotten so attached. That’s the thing about Patrick Ness’s writing, it will break your heart into a million little tiny pieces and you will relish the experience as it is happening.
Viola also gets her point of view expressed in this book. As you may remember from the previous books, women do not have any Noise in this world. They are strangely silent. Now, Viola also wants peace with the Spackle and she wants the war to just end. Yet, she makes this huge mistake that causes the war to go on and on, because of her love for Todd. Frankly, I felt this made her more real. I feel like in that situation, most people probably would not weigh the entire world against the one person they love the most. Then again, this is why I am not the boss of war, because I would likely do the same thing as Viola. She is brave and true and has this well of inner strength to the point where when she begins to sicken from the Bands the Mayor placed on the women, she starts to avoid Todd because she does not want him to be distracted by her illness. I loved that she is self sacrificing. ALSO! Her relationship with her horse, Acorn is pretty great.
1017, the Spackle that Todd saves from being killed gets his own chapters. He is called the Return by what is known as The Land, or all of the other Spackle. The Return, or 1017, spends much of his time with The Sky, who is the leader of the Spackle. He is resentful and pissed off about the genocide — can’t say as I blame him. And so, he wants vengeance. He has made this war personal. Especially because the Clearing — what the Spackle call humans — has murdered his One In Particular. The Return is most angry with Todd and so his chapters explore his hatred of Todd and also this sort of spiritual awakening and journey that the Return has. What I loved about his chapters is that we get a point of view of the ‘enemy’ we see that war is not black and white. We see that even though we love Todd because Todd is the literal best that The Return totally has a point in his hatred of the Knife. Monsters Of Men is a book that is brilliantly rendered with it’s various points of view.
If you are looking for a world with interesting sociology and society building, look no further than the Chaos Walking books. I loved the interplay between the Spackle and the humans. I loved the divisions between the humans. I think that Ness truly nails how senseless and personal war can be and should not be in Monsters Of Men. I loved that we got to learn a bit more about the ocean in this world (one of my weird quirks, FYI) as well the Spackle culture and society. We got to even experience evolution in this book.
I am truly sad to be finished with the Chaos Walking series but also feeling this huge weight of accomplishment. Granted, I still have the short stories set in this world to read, but still I am done! I loved that this book perfectly wraps everything up. I loved that we sort of get to see the Mayor redeemed — maybe that’s a spoiler, but I will leave you to make up your own mind about the Mayor. We get to see the fate of every major character. I just loved this book and this series and absolutely cannot recommend it enough. ALSO! Shocker, I did not sob at the end of this book, but I do feel heavy at finishing. Just, get yourself a copy of the trilogy and don’t get up until you finish Ness’s very last word in Monsters Of Men.