Monday, 3 October 2011

Review: Monsters of Men - Patrick Ness

Published: May 3rd 2010, Walker Books
Pages: 603 pages, hardback
Series?: Yes, this is the third and final book in the Chaos Walking series
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): 'War', says the Mayor. 'At last'.

Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await?

But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge - the electrifying finale to the award-winning "Chaos Walking" trilogy, "Monsters of Men" is a heart-stopping novel about power, survival, and the devastating realities of war.

My review: What to say about Monsters of Men... I'll warn you now this isn't really going to be a particularly coherent review, just me throwing praise at Patrick Ness and rambling about how this is pretty much the best series I've ever read. Seriously. I bloody love these books.

Monster of Men is the final book in the Chaos Walking series and the one Ness finally won the Carnegie medal for - I was so happy he got the recognition he truly deserves for this absolutely stunning series. For me there really are no flaws in any of the books. They were all a complete joy to read and I can't say enough wonderful things about them. I just wish Ness had more books out there as I can't get enough of his easy, smart writing style. When I'm reading his books I feel utterly content and can completely escape into the world he creates, he's certainly up there with my favourite YA writers of all time, jostling with David Almond and Meg Rosoff for the top spot, I think.

Monsters of Men had everything I wanted and it was the perfect way to end the series. One of the things I love most about Ness is that he keeps it realistic, even though that often makes me cry (although I don't think I cried as much in this one as I did in that one particular scene in The Knife of Never Letting Go... you know the one). Viola, Todd and the rest of the gang have been plunged into the midst of war, not everybody is going to survive and it would have wholly unrealistic if Ness had given us a happy, Hollywood ending. Obviously I'm not going to give a thing away but I thought the ending was brilliant; completely shocking and I cried a whole lot but it was necessary and it was perfect. Sir, you are a genius.

If you haven't read this series yet please just do it, I absolutely guarantee (100%!) that you won't be disappointed. These books will rock your world and remind you exactly why YA fiction is so wonderful. Ness has such a way with words, it all feels so effortless and I cannot wait for his next release. Somebody out there has got to adapt the Chaos Walking series for the big screen - they have to... but they have to handle it absolutely perfectly. If the right cast and crew got behind it I think the films could be exceptional, just like the books.

Hands down this is my favourite YA series. These books excite me like no others and The Knife of Never Letting Go is always one of the first books I recommend to anybody. Monsters of Men is a stunningly written book that serves as the perfect finale to an outstanding series.

First line: '"War," says Mayor Prentiss, his eyes glinting. "At last."'

Read if you liked…: The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Total: 19/20 (A)

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