Scott's Reviews > Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
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's review
Aug 04, 10

bookshelves: to-read, 2010, older-teens, romance, second-half-of-2010, sf, summer-reading-2010, young-adult-books
Read from August 03 to 04, 2010

At some point while I was reading I was struck by an image. Not from this book. From a movie. Or a music video. Or possibly my imagination. But probably not the last one. But maybe the last one. Anyway. In this image, two lovers fly through space toward each other, finally smashing their faces together in a kiss. It is probably tenderer, the kiss, but it all seems so violent and g-forced in my head.
That's what I like about this book. The epic, time and space spanning love, that ends in a powerful, almost destructive show of affection. Todd and Viola are just fighting for each other, and they are so far apart, but they are, without a doubt, going to smash into each other. It's just physics. Of course all the rules come into play. I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. II. The relationship between an object's mass m, its acceleration a, and the applied force F is F = ma. Acceleration and force are vectors (as indicated by their symbols being displayed in slant bold font); in this law the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector. III. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (ok, I just copy and pasted those to look smart, but they are applicable). It's devastating, and Ness's style barely lets the reader, or me, catch their breath. He moves the action along with brisk, clipped sentences, full embodying how his characters are reacting, letting the reader get engulfed in the diplomatic intricacies and the pure effed-upness of war. It's engrossing. And his Todd and Viola are about as real and fleshed out as any character I have ever seen in a novel. They react the way I'd react in those situations. They are confused, angry, and complete.
And there lies my one issue with this volume . . . Ness adds a third voice to help move his narrative along. That of a Spackle, one of the alien race who originally inhabited the planet that Todd and Viola now inhabit. Where The Ask and The Answer succeed by adding Viola's voice, this one fails . . . almost miserably. Ness is either trying too hard or not hard enough, to flesh out his world and his third character. Not to say the Spackle isn't important to the story. He absolutely is. However, he speaks with the same clichéd nonsense that many books and movies have before. I couldn't help but roll my eyes when a Spackle chapter came up. I was often reminded of the crap dialogue in James Cameron's Avatar. Still, Ness is more talented that Cameron, and from time to time, the Spackle voice offered a nugget of gut-wrenching truth.
I was mostly on the fence about this book, until the last 3rd when Ness really stepped up his game, and brought everything and everyone together in surprising, face smashing ways.
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Reading Progress

08/03/2010 page 400
64.0% "Ness has got the intensity of war down. But the Spackle voice is giving me Avatar flashbacks."
08/03/2010 page 600
96.0% "I'm back and forth. I love it. I don't."
08/03/2010 page 500
80.0% "Put wrong page. Refer to previous status."

Comments (showing 1-1)

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Marleah OMG, Scott, what the hell is that image from? I remember it from somewhere too but I can't place it and it's going to drive me crazy.

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