– Short Review –
Monsters of Men is a conclusion of an epic trilogy, one that I firmly believe that everyone should read, both young readers and older readers, it’s an astonishingly brilliant story which speaks as much of our times as it does of the world and times of which Ness has painstakingly brought to life. It’s a triumph and a remarkable young adult series – with astonishingly wonderful characters, a world which is rich and detailed and a story which you can lose yourself in. Masterful in every way!
Ideal for fans of The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins, The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson and The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner.
– Long Review –
We all know that Patrick Ness is a remarkable talent, his writing transports it’s readers to another time and another place, with breathtaking ease Ness is able to whisk his readers into stories which consume them, that become otherworldly – and more importantly become stories which can change people, more often than not his writing challenges societal norms and have a moral.
Monsters of Men picks up our story from where The Ask and The Answer left us – no time has passed at all, so the reader is thrown straight back into the melting pot.
The reader is immediately pulled onto the battlefield, with Todd and The President, as war is approaches, the new enemy the indigenous populous of the colonised planet, an enemy that the settlers thought they had eradicated from the face of the planet. But how wrong they were – the Spackle are arriving in their thousands to march on New Prentisstown, to lay waste to the townsfolk who enslaved them, tortured them and performed a genocide of their kind when they were deemed a threat to the towns survival. They lost the first battle – back when Todd was young, but they are here to win the war. There is nowhere to flee, with the Mistresses and their terrorism at their back and the Spackle marching on their front – it’s time to stand and fight. But war makes Monsters of Men – and we are about to find out how.
This book is astonishing, it is singlehandedly one of the most cinematic books I’ve ever read (I wasn’t surprised to learn whilst reading that it’s soon to be made into a film in 2020 staring Spider-Man himself Tom Holland) – Monsters of Men in particular has all the epic qualities of The Lord of the Rings – Ness has poured out so much detail into this book that it is so easy to visualise, which all work to showcase the wonderful raconteur he is.
Monsters of Men has set piece after set piece all of which build on the initial battle between the Spackle – which had me reeling as I read the onslaught that takes place, heart pounding in my chest, the battle rushing by, the horror, the carnage, my mind rushing away with me (as we see the battle unfolding from three very different vantage points – Todd, Viola and The Spackle) – seeing the impending trouble just around the corner, which the reader gets to glimpse, just before it plays out in the other storyline. It’s remarkable storytelling and something that artistically packs a punch too. The tension that Ness weaves through the books continues to build like a tsunami, until it crashes down, wiping everything away with its destructive power. Lives, lands, loves and hopes of peace washed away with the detritus of bad choices and veiled promises.
One of the big things about Monsters of Men and The Chaos Walking Trilogy as a whole is the character development, you actually care about this bunch of people, they are broken, they make mistakes – very costly ones, but you can’t help championing them on. Even The President becomes likeable in this book, we glimpse into his life, into his ongoing struggles, we see him wrestle with the monster that he has become and the good that is locked behind his ruthless and bloodthirsty wrath. It’s almost like when Luke Skywalker finds out that Darth Vader is his father (don’t worry there is no spoiler hidden in there) – but it’s the subtlety in which Ness reveals this which is the key, pulling at the heartstrings, changing the views of the reader that have become somewhat intrenched in all that gone before, transforming him from someone we villafied to someone who might just become something new, something worth saving.
Monsters of Men is unrelenting brilliance. The Chaos Walking Trilogy for me is up there with The Lord of the Rings – gripping, thrilling and in the end a masterpiece of epic proportions! If you read one set of books this year – make sure it is Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy!
Monsters of Men is the third book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy andis published by Walker Books and the new anniversary edition is available to purchase here.
I’m Patrick Ness. I claim three states in America as my home (as Americans are wont to do): I was born in Virginia, my first memories are Hawaiian, and I went to junior high and high school in Washington. Then I lived in California for college (at USC) and moved to the United Kingdom in 1999, where I’ve lived (mostly in London) ever since.
I’ve written nine books: 2 novels for adults (The Crash of Hennington and The Crane Wife), 1 short story collection for adults (Topics About Which I Know Nothing) and 6 novels for young adults (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men, A Monster Calls, More Than This and The Rest of Us Just Live Here).
For these books, I’ve won the Carnegie Medal twice, the Costa Children’s Book Award, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Red House Book Award, the Jugendliteratur Preis, the UKLA Award, the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the fabulous, fabulous, fabulous Jim Kay also won the Greenaway for his illustrations in A Monster Calls (so buy that version, would you?).
I write screenplays as well, including for the movie version of A Monster Calls starring Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver and Felicity Jones, out January 2017.
I love the Decemberists, Peter Carey and A&W Cream Soda. I dislike onions. Intensely.
(From Patrick Ness Website – view here)
Reviewed by Ross Jeffery
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