Choko's Reviews > Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
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bookshelves: distopia, ya

*** 2.65 ***

"...“Worst is the one who knows better and does nothing.” ..."

I don't get it... I think this is the moment I figure I am reading this series wrong, because I stuck with it to the end and I still had some major issues with it. Most of all, the two teenage main characters, Tod and Viola. It is very hard to keep on reading when you strongly dislike the leading couple and where everything and everyone makes you extremely angry. I had this constant buzz, or noise, of anger simmering under my skin, ready to explode every twentieth time Todd or Viola would say in the most dramatic and emotive way possible, the other person's name! I am so happy I don't know anyone with either name, because I would not be able to handle it if I hear those names ever again😈! But I digress...

So, the third and last book in the series began exactly where the previous one ended. The President is in control of the city and even more so of all the men around him. Somehow the crazy maniac, who has been working on controlling his noise (thoughts the Human men and all native to the planet creatures radiate spontaneously) for a while now, has figured out how to mind-control others who also have "the noise"... So this despicable human being has been obsessed with this teenager Todd, whom he likes better than his son, because he is showing similar to his mental abilities. That obsession by itself was creepy, should have been enough for Tod to distrust the fucker and stay away from him. But it wasn't only that! The President had tried to kill him, his girlfriend, his fathers, all women (after torturing them for pleasure, raping them, drowning them, and branding them like cattle, allowing his men to do the same), and enslaved and tried to annihilate the native peoples of the Land... You would think all of that would be enough for Tod to stay as far away from Prentice as is possible, but no. Todd becomes his besty, with delusions that by staying with him he will rub off some of his good will and hopes for peaceful and happy future and unity between the human fractions and the local Spekle, somehow changing President Prentice and redeeming him. At best this was naive, at worst completely stupid! At least Viola never forgot how truly irredeemable he is. But again, she didn't have the noise and she was not as susceptible to the insidiously damaging mental influence of the megalomaniac asshole!

"...“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.” ..."

However, Viola showed her immaturity from beginning to end. She was ready to start a war which would kill thousands in order to keep her boyfriend safe, but with time you would think she has learned the importance of not making war personal and think of the big picture. Hell nooooo, that would be to much to ask! Even when the faith of the World was in her hands, she was still ready to choose her fillings for Todd above all else😈. I know some might find this Romantic, but I find it demeaning to all young people, assuming that they would be this selfish and indifferent to all but their first love, to the point of destroying humanity and themselves as a result... At least I hope that this is not a likely emotional response, because otherwise we are living in a world doomed to self-destruction by ignorance...😧.

"...“Choices may be unbelievably hard but they're never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that's not how a person with integrity acts.”..."

In the whole book I loved the Land, the local native population name for themselves, the most. They are part of the ecological system on a planet where all creatures communicate through their noise, creating its collective consciousness and balance... They refer to the Humans as The Clearing, an empty space, like a scar on the Land, and they have brought only pain and destruction ... 1017, one of the enslaved Land who ran away when the President killed all of his brethren in the settlement, has Returned to the Land and the leader of his people, The Sky, decides that the lives of those Spekle/Land killed need to be avenged. We see the pain 1017 feels for the brutal treatment and loss of loved ones, the anger, loneliness, rage, need for reparations, desire to see his enemies die, as well as fear of the future, all so similar to the feelings of the likely oppressed women and controlled men under the President's regime... Yet, he is different from his kind, having lived all of his life among Humans as a slave, adopting many of their ways, becoming more separate because of it... His noise is not in harmony as the rest and he grieves for this closeness being taken away from him...

Apart from the looming conflict between the two cultures, there is the well armed military who are under Prentice's control and Todd on one side, and they are violently opposed by a group of rebels, lead by an ambitious and strong willed woman and Viola on the other. There are also five space ships full of new Human settlers circling in orbit, who most probably bring with them an arsenal of weapons. Will the fractured Humans put their differences aside in order to meet the challenge of the natives. Could they solve things peacefully, or are they setting themselves up for mutual extermination?

"...“What a sad thing men are. Can’t do nothing good without being so weak we have to mess it up. Can’t build something up without tearing it down.”..."

I am not going to deny that I wanted to know how the story ended and this curiosity is what kept me reading when I wanted to throw my Kindle in disgust with all the terrible choices everyone was making all of the time! I choose to believe that this is Fantasy and only in a fictional life could people be this ignorant and annoying. I was pleased with the message of unity, understanding and need for hard choices in order to have a peaceful and prosperous existence. However, even in my most open-minded state I have a difficult time believing that a person like the President would waste his time, which is full of doing horrifying things in order to subjugate all beings on the planet, with an illiterate, petulant and whiny kid, who can't think of anything else but his Viola. Or that any of those hardened settlers would take the two 14 year olds seriously as leaders in time of war no matter what anyone says. Again, I tried to suspend belief and roll with it, but the characters and immaturity of the two of them didn't engender even a spark of respect in me as individuals, so I could not take it seriously. Thus, the final result for me was just anger, dissatisfied unfulfillment, and the desire never again to read/hear "TOdD!", "VIOLA!!", "TOOOOOdddD", "VIOoooLAAAAA!!!", and so on to infinity... It could have been a great story if only we had some main characters we could have some respect for...

I am not sure if I could recommend this series to anyone, mostly because I am not sure who the intended audience is and because it is an acquired taste. And the ending... Gahhh!

I wish you all Happy Reading and may you always find what you need in the pages of a good book!
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Reading Progress

June 24, 2017 – Shelved
June 24, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
August 11, 2017 – Started Reading
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: distopia
August 11, 2017 – Shelved as: ya
August 12, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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 Simply Sam ツ Wow, Choko...this sounds wonderfully horrid lol. Now I know what to look forward to. Sorry it ended on a low note :(

message 2: by George (new)

George Jankovic Nice review, Choco!

message 3: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Aww sorry, bummer! I appreciate your honesty.
Great review!!

message 4: by Lakshmi (new)

Lakshmi C Fab review, Choko :) You're very patient to continuue this series

Choko Sam, it is not a badass story, just Todd and Viola were exceedingly annoying with their obsession with each other in the exclusion of anything else! Have we ever been that self-serving and selfish as teenagers? I hope not...

Choko Thank you so much, George 🙂!

Choko Deanna, I know, right?! It felt like the most sympathy the series was able to provoke in me was every time one of the talking and loyal animals died... I felt bad for the people, but they all seemed so complicit in their fate by either making terrible choices or just going with the flow, that it was harder for me to root for the Humans...

Choko Hahaha, Lakshmi 😀! You are so right! It took all the patience I had to finish it and I was left very unsatisfied... Thanks, my friend 🙂!

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