Pamela's Reviews > Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
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Jul 22, 2010

really liked it
Read in July, 2010

MONSTERS OF MEN is the conclusion of Patrick Ness's riveting "Chaos Walking" trilogy about an Earth-like planet recently invaded by humans. The first book (THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO) contains the two best scenes in the series, both concerning the deaths of innocents, and the second book (THE ASK AND THE ANSWER) is the best of the three for its explorations of genocide, terrorism, and political machinations. MONSTERS OF MEN was, for me, the weakest of the books. Its great strength is the introduction of a new narrator: 1017 is one of the "Spackle," the indigenous intelligent species who are headed toward the same fate as the Tasmanian aborigines due to the arrival of homo sapiens. 1017's thought processes and the unique nature of his species' communication system are captured very effectively, and the alien's character development is completely satisfying. Ultimately, however, I think Ness rushed out MONSTERS OF MEN a little too fast. The nuance of the earlier books has largely been sacrificed to a plot that moves at such an intense pace it's like watching an episode of 24. Sure, it was fun, but the main characters spent most of their time reacting to all these events; Viola and Todd's character development, so intriguing in the earlier books, is largely buried by all the frantic goings-on. There certainly is development in the Mayor, the main villain, but I expected something more convincing from Ness. The ending will likely be controversial; some people might hate it, but I love the ambiguity. My son, who is a very close and enthusiastic reader of Ness's work, thinks that hope is one of the main themes of the series, and Ness constructed the ending so that the reader would also have to hope without being certain of the outcome. Overall, a terrific trilogy, and I can't wait to read whatever Ness comes up with next.
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message 1: by Sherry (new)

Sherry This series sounds good. I like hope - in life and literature! Ambiguous endings are present in many French films and literature. I used to despair over lack of a certain ending to French films, but now I realize that they are often like life. You may analyze and change your feelings about events, and, thus, the outcome - good or bad or hopeful - changes, too.


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