Author: Patrick Ness
Published: May 3, 2010
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Series: Chaos Walking #3
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian, Science Fiction
Rating: 5 stars
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*Warning: This book review contains spoilers for The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer*
“War makes Monsters of Men.”My Thoughts
― Patrick Ness, Monsters of Men
In the riveting conclusion to the acclaimed dystopian series, a boy and girl caught in the chaos of war face devastating choices that will decide the fate of a world.
As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many.
The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale. (Goodreads)
I'm simply at a loss for words. Yet somehow, I'm still typing, still forming coherent, hopefully, sentences, while my mind is a churning mess of emotion and feels. Monsters of Men was everything I wanted and so much more. It was the electrifying finale to a series I have fallen head over heels for, and I just want to reread it again and again so I never leave the world of the Chaos Walking series behind. I know what you're thinking. She's talking all sorts of weirdness. But I'm dead serious, and if you've read this series, you must know exactly what I'm going through. It is rare for a series to continue to be exceptional as it progresses, and it is even rarer for a series to get better with every book when you thought it was impossible for it to improve. But the impossible is now possible. The Chaos Walking series is that series, and you need to read it right now. I told you I wasn't kidding.
Monsters of Men was an action-packed, intense conclusion to a beloved series. Just when you think the ending is near, there's even more heart wrenching scenes and unforgettable twists, and the intensity continues to build until you wonder if you can handle any more. It's an edge of your seat read, written to keep your eyes glued to the pages from start to finish. So much happens, and I was constantly fearing for the lives of my favorite characters and even the most despicable characters you will ever meet. How does Patrick Ness do that? How does he make me care for even the worst of humanity - the characters I should want to die? But he does it, and it amazes me beyond belief. All of his characters are so complex and wonderfully developed that it's almost scary. I kept expecting them to reach out of the pages and punch me in the face or tap me on the shoulder. They're that real.
I have to warn you that many scenes in Monsters of Men are painful and emotionally gripping. There's no way you can read this book calmly and unflustered; my emotions were all over the place. There is a full out war going on, and when is war ever pretty? But somehow, I sympathized with every side. The Mayor's soldiers, who blindly follow their leader into battle. The Answer, who believes that their way is the only way, and that terrorism will end the bloodshed and bring about peace. The Spackle, the native species of the planet, who are trying to avenge their fallen and wipe out all of men, who they see as an invasive species (which we kind of are). Then there's the new settlers - the two who have already landed and the convoy who is slowly approaching their new home, unaware of what awaits them. And, of course, there are Todd and Viola, who are a part of one side and yet, at the same time, they are not. Their love for each other and their unfailing hope in a better future, a future that the first settlers have forgotten was their goal when arriving here, is the only hope left for everyone on this planet.
The villain in Monsters of Men is one of the best, most convincing villains you will ever read about. He's unnervingly persuasive, and before you know it, he has you won over and on his side. You can never tell exactly what he's up to, and he shocked me time and time again, which was sometimes good and other times, not so good. Without the Mayor, this series would be definitely lacking because he stands for so much - the corruption of mankind but also a hope for redemption. Can he ever be forgiven for all of his horrible deeds? And can he ever be redeemed? Can a man change that much? While I highly doubted that the Mayor would be saved, I couldn't help wanting him to be, especially after seeing the growing connection between Todd and him. The Mayor has to be one of my favorite villains of all time, even over Disney villains like Scar and Maleficent, and his development is endlessly fascinating.
There's a little romance in Monsters of Men, but the little there is was wonderfully done. Just everything was wonderfully done. I couldn't imagine this series ending any other way. The romance between Todd and Viola, the antagonism between Mistress Coyle and the Mayor, the popping up of old characters we have grown to love, the Spackle's hunger for vengeance...all of it came together to make for a stunning final installment to a series I never wanted to end. A series that explores the possibility of peace when so many grudges remain and how men act when society itself is falling apart. Men that traveled for decades to settle on a new home and hopefully create a paradise, only to fail because of greed and vanity. But Monsters of Men also shows that there is still hope for mankind. Among the many who are selfish and weak, there are the strong and the brave who refuse to give in. Like Todd and Viola and so many others that I couldn't help but admire.
I could gush on and on about this amazing series, but instead, I implore you, I beg you to read the Chaos Walking series. I was impressed by both The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men was a brillant addition. In fact, I think it was my favorite book of the entire series. I fully intend to spread my love for this series as much as possible so that others have a chance to discover it.