Friday, July 2, 2010

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Usually I start off with a summary of the book. The problem is, this is the third book in the trilogy, and I don't want to give ANYTHING away if case you haven't read any of them because they're so freaking good. So good! So I think what I'll do is give a general summary of the series, how about that? And then I'll gush some more because they're SO FREAKING GOOD.

In book One of the Chaos Walking series, The Knife of Never Letting Go, we are introduced to a new world. A relatively small colony of humans have come to the planet, and before the start of the book, there was a war with the indigenous species that the humans refer to as the Spackle. The Spackle have no spoken language, they communicate entirely through thoughts. The human men find, much to their horror, that not long after living on this new planet, their thoughts are being broad casted too. The humans refer to this as "Noise." Human women do not have Noise.

The first book starts up with Todd in Prentisstown. Todd has grown up in a world without women, all killed by the "disease" that caused the men to hear their and everyone else's thoughts. The town is chaotic, with many men seemingly living on the edge of madness from the constant barrage of other people's thoughts. The town is tightly controlled by the Mayor. One day, Todd is off with his dog when he finds a pocket of silence in the Noise. It's a girl. Which makes no sense at all. The first book is about Todd finding out the truth about this world he lives in, and working together with the girl, Viola, to get free from the Mayor and Prentisstown.

Book Two, The Ask and the Answer sees the world broken into two fractures, the Ask, controlled by the Mayor, who now calls himself the President, and the Answer, a terrorist group that fights back against the Ask. Todd and Viola find themselves, against their will, in the two separate groups, unsure if either of the groups are really doing what's best for anyone. I loved what Patrick Ness did in The Ask and the Answer with looking at a terrorist organization. The Ask is evil, clearly, they're killing and torturing and branding women, but the Answer isn't blameless either. They use people, and kill innocent bystanders as well as the fight against the Mayor. The world that's created is so intricate. Nothing is black and white. The way people turn to the Mayor for protection, even as he does terrible things, is fascinating and creepily realistic. Todd is in a constant struggle to do the right thing, but both Todd and Viola fear doing anything that might cause harm to the other.

And so we come to the final installment, Monsters of Men, where the Spackle attack. The Mayor had killed all the Spackle slaves, allowing one to go free in order to start a war. The Answer was about to attack the Ask, but now the humans have a new, larger, very well armed enemy to deal with. Not only that, but a new convoy of settlers is only a month off from landing. Todd and Viola are fighting for peace, but the Mayor and the leader of the Answer, Mistress Coyle, are both still fighting for power. In this book we also get to learn more about the Spackle, and how they communicate.

This was all very vague, please believe me when I say this series is amazing and there's so much to it. Please read it. The relationship between Todd and Viola is beautiful. I was crying for the last 30 pages of Monsters and Men. I do not usually cry over books. Every now and then I might get a little teary, but I don't remember ever actually crying. Well done, Patrick Ness, well done. I was in what I refer to as "Harry Potter mode," where I sit and read and yell at anyone who tries to talk to me, "CAN'T YOU SEE I'M READING? I CANNOT BE DISTURBED!"

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