Jessica's Reviews > Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
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Oct 13, 10

bookshelves: favorites, ya, sci-fi, otp, guts-you, dark-and-creepy, fierce-ladies, dystopian, war, shed-some-tears, reviewed-books, aliens, pretty-prose
Read from October 10 to 12, 2010


Towards the end I made the mistake of reading this book in a public place. If you hate crying in public (or hate holding back tears like a warrior in public), then save your reading experience for home. This book will gut you, there’s no two ways about it. And when Ness reaches inside and punches you in your soul, you won’t want some stranger sitting next to you who can hear you and your ugly-crying.

This series finale (why? WHY?) starts with a bang and ends with one too, and in-between you’ll go through that lovely rollercoaster of bookworm delights reserved only for the best journeys: a racing heart, sweaty palms, guessing games, shocking twists, killer cliffhangers, hating the fact that you have a job and other obligations which demand your time and prevent you from living in your book…

Ness introduces a third voice to the story, a Spackle (the Return, formerly known as 1017), and I welcomed him with open arms. I had put up some resistance to Viola’s voice in The Ask and the Answer only to inevitably grow to love and appreciate the change. I trust Ness and he has yet to disappoint me. Todd, Viola, and the Return are each painted so vividly in their narrations, you can’t help but hungrily read on each time there’s an abrupt perspective change. You won’t feel the need to skip over certain character’s sections, because the stories of all three are richer than whatever lame book you read before this series (I kid!).

Ness once again captures (with aching realism) the horrors and unspoken truths of war, of death and murder and the possibility of redemption. Are we the mistakes we make? What’s the price of a life? Is there such a thing as a necessary evil? Is there always a choice? There is heavy emphasis placed on themes of love, loyalty, and trust, as well as forgiveness, acceptance, and hope.

Relationships are examined, those between parent and child, leader and follower, lovers, friends, enemies, even a man and his horse. How does one influence the other? What is one’s responsibility over that influence?

Like the previous two books, my strongest praise remains the multi-dimensional characters who continued to surprise me. The greatly flawed heroes you want to wrap in your arms, and the villains you alternate between wanting to sit and have coffee with and wanting to chuck into Tartarus. (I fear meeting the author in person. Surely he would read me in an instant, knowing all my secrets, quirks, and sins.)

It says something about an author when he can make horses lovable and engaging characters that are well-rounded and evolving. HORSES. (Although, they ain’t got nothin’ on Manchee!) SO GET THEE TO A BOOKSTORE! BUY THIS BOOK!

(Oh, and don’t be surprised when I name my first-born Todd. An effing great name.)
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