Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
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's review
Sep 27, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, science-fiction, young-adult, library
Read from May 03 to 09, 2011

Viola and Todd have reunited and together they have defeated the Mayor. Then the Spackle attacked. Realizing that they had no hope of surviving without the Mayor's help, Todd agreed to let him go, and the two find themselves fighting side by side. Todd begins to see the man that exists behind the monster that it Mayor Prentiss, but how much can he trust a master manipulator? Meanwhile, Viola reunites with old friends from the convoy, Bradley and Simone, who are horrified to discover that they have landed on a new planet in the middle of a war. How far should they become involved? And deep in the Spackle army lives an alien known as “the Return.” More than anything the Return yearns to kill the man who served as overseer to his slavery, the man he has given the name “the knife.”

Monsters of Men is the final book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. Like The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men is highly concerned with power struggles, and trying to do the right thing where the right thing seems impossible to determine, but this time the book takes place during a violent war. While it's true that Monsters of Men is not as consistent of a read as The Ask and the Answer was, when it's good, it's really, really good. If you've read this far in the series, I'd highly recommend finishing it.

One area where Monsters of Men really succeeds in is building suspense. You don't want to stop reading (or in my case, listening) because you just need to know what happens next. Patrick Ness succeeds in creating a twisty-turny plot filled with tons of surprises. I found myself gasping aloud in a few scenes. Both Todd and Viola remain great protagonists that develop in really interesting ways. This time, the novel has a third narrator, The Return, an angered Spackle that we know as 1017. I think they made a very good choice in telling part of the story from his point of view, as it allowed the reader to learn about a culture that has been shrouded in mystery to us. There are also some notable new players this time around. I really liked Bradley, who joins Viola and Wilf as one of my favorite characters.

It's true that there were a few things about Monsters of Men that did get on my nerves. I like the use of three narrators, but as the narrators interact often (unlike The Ask and the Answer where Todd and Viola are separated), it leads to scenes where we see an event from one perspective, then from another perspective, which feels repetitive. I also found I had issues with the development of Mayor Prentiss. It's not that I feel that his development was unrealistic, but I don't like the fact that we learn about this development through his dialogue. The Mayor will constantly be describing his own development which seems to break the whole “show, don't tell” golden rule. I also didn't like how his plotline was resolved.

Despite any issues I had with it, there's no denying that Monsters of Men is a great book. I often found myself wondering what Ness had going on in the back of his mind while writing this series. Is he commenting on colonialism? The holocaust? Or is it all one big metaphor for the internet and net neutrality? Anyway, this is a really thought provoking series and I'm glad I picked it up.

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Reading Progress

05/03/2011 "Listening to the audiobooks on the way to work. About halfway done"
90.0% "Almost done. Very suspenseful!"
100.0% "Finished this audiobook today. Pretty happy with it. Review coming soon."

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