Milly's Reviews > Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
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's review
Oct 17, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorite-ya, dystopia, series
Read from October 17 to 24, 2010

“War makes monsters of men, you once said to me, Todd. Well, so does too much knowledge. Too much knowledge of your fellow man, too much knowledge of his weakness, his pathetic greed and vanity and how laughably easy it is to control him.” – Mayor Prentiss.

Monsters of Men is the culmination of the epic trilogy, Chaos Walking. Patrick Ness did not disappoint me at all in how he ended this series! Monsters of Men was a roller coaster ride from beginning to end with unexpected twists and turns and heart pounding action sequences in every turn of a page! This is not your average fluff of a book or a guilty pleasure. It’s epic-long and will need a large chunk of your time to mower through it as once you start, it’s not so easy to put it down.

This is another dystopian book at its finest with a theme so original! Only Ness would come up with the idea of a world with men’s thoughts broadcasted and heard by everyone else while the women of this world could keep their thoughts quiet and hidden. What else is interesting is that even the animals have thoughts and are heard as well by humans, only their thoughts are very basic and are one or two word utterances. The men of Monsters of Men continue to be the only group of the settlers that have the Noise, only quieted when given the cure by Mayor Prentiss, which was also given to the Spackles who are natives to this world to quiet their thoughts to make it easier to control them. Only Mayor Prentiss, his captain, and Todd Hewitt could hide their thoughts. This ability was mastered by Mayor Prentiss, who shared and taught Todd Hewitt as he is grooming him to be his successor. Through this Noise, Mayor Prentiss learned to fly a plane and teach Todd how to read. By hearing the thoughts of others, he learned the skills of the person he was listening to. Ingenious plot! We also find out in this book that the Spackles, the natives of this country have a unified Noise, different from the Burden (the Spackles that were domesticated and lived with the humans who came to settle into this country from another world) who were in the first 2 books. New characters are also introduced as well as an old character from the previous book surprisingly comes back. This book continues to be thought-provoking plagued with moral and ethical dilemmas throughout the story line. Would you sacrifice the life of one for the greater good? – so reminiscent of my favorite book, Harry Potter. It also continues to be disturbingly haunting with its pages filled with war and death but at the same token hopeful and courageous as good tries to overcome evil through its protagonists, Todd and Viola!

Monsters of Men picks right back up with the war between the Ask (Mayor Prentiss and most of the male settlers including Todd) and the Answer (Mistress Coyle and most of the women as well as Viola) who eventually join forces to defeat the Spackles led by their leader, the Sky and 1017). Mayor Prentiss continues to butt heads with Mistress Coyle as Todd and Viola work hard to bring peace between all feuding factions including the thousands of Spackles who wants to avenge the genocide of their fellow Spackles murdered by Mayor Prentiss and his men in the second book.

Mayor Prentiss continues to be a person you love to hate and want obliterated from this world. He was so good at deceiving everyone including Todd that it truly made you wonder at one point if there was hope for him to change. Was it enough to be around Todd to want to make him change? Could he ever be remorseful of the cruelties he’s done: the genocide and the murder of his own flesh and blood?
Viola. Her voice is one of three storytellers of this book. I have always admired Viola for her intelligence, her charisma, integrity, and her bravery. She was wise beyond her age and made all the hard and tough decisions. Todd would have been at a loss without her. She was Todd’s light in the tunnel, his true North. Her devotion to Todd was unrelenting and admirable. She risked her life time and time again to save Todd. Despite her young age, people listened to her and respected her. Viola is the clear leader of this book. “You’re the thing that matters to me, Todd. Out of this whole planet, you’re the only thing that matters.”

“Because the reason is goodness, isn’t it? Isn’t that what Todd basically is? Despite the mistakes, despite killing the Spackle by the riverside, despite the work he did for the Mayor, Todd is essentially good”. Todd Hewitt – the male protagonist and the other voice in this book. Todd is the epitome of goodness in this book and the character I most admire. His remorse and his struggles to stay good despite the cruelties of this world that could have easily jaded him and the lure of power to control others as often dangled in front of him by Mayor Prentiss was highly regarded. Even Mayor Prentiss was so enamored by his goodness that he almost convinced himself that he could change. He cared so much about what Todd thought of him and wanted desperately to be his father in the end. Like Viola, Todd lived for Viola. He put his life on the line to protect her and to make this world a better place for her, even if it meant not being in it with her. What love! These two met so young and didn’t even understand what love meant. But because of the struggles they’ve overcome together, the way they fought to rescue each other time and time again, they’ve become so intertwined and started living for each other. One was never complete without the other. You just can’t help but root for them so they…could…finally…be together…at last…and just live happily ever after…no war…no Mayor Prentiss, no Mistress Coyle. Please just leave them alone and let them live in peace!!! And finally in the third book, they seem to finally understand what the flood of emotions meant when they were around each other and how they felt such longing when they were away from one another. First love. Young love.
The last voice is of ‘The Return’ or 1017 – the only Spackle survivor of the genocide and who has such hatred for Todd even though Todd was the one who set him free. He wished that Todd would have just let him die so he didn’t have to suffer and be reminded of the murder of his particular (partner) and the inhumane things they had to go through while imprisoned in the camp by Mayor Prentiss. Little did he know, which he finds out in the end how similar he is to Todd. Could he kill Todd when he finally gets the chance?

Part of my heart died a little towards the end. Ness was so crafty and so surprisingly good to end it the way he did. A most welcome surprise!
What a ride it’s been! I will forever remember Todd and Viola!
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Reading Progress

10/18/2010 "great start. so much action in the first 50 pages already!"
10/19/2010 "awww...Todd and Viola, finally falling for each other?"
75.0% "on page 420: WTF?!! Controlling SOB!"
75.0% "Finally....they kissed! It took long enough. And oh I wish Prentiss will just disappear! He's so evil!"
04/24/2016 marked as: read

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