Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Chaos Walking: Book Three
Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2010
603 pages. Borrowed from the library.
“War” says Mayor Prentiss, his eyes glinting . “At last.”
That is the opening line of the third book in the Chaos Walking series. Monsters of Men starts just were The Ask and The Answer left off. The first pages throw the reader into a violent battle and it is upsetting and exhausting enough that I almost had to put the book down. It went on and on and on. Fast and furious. Thinking about it now, I can only imagine that it is just a hint of what being in war is like.
Patrick Ness has, for me, lived up to the expectations created by The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and The Answer. He delves into the darkest parts of the human spirit, into the lust for power and control, the desire to annihilate the enemy, never really even bothering to find out who the enemy is. What is this murderous quality that lives inside our souls?
We find our two main characters, Todd and Viola, separated from each other, almost seeming to be fighting on different sides, but always struggling to make the right choices. They are bound by their own beliefs, learning as they go, trying to find each other. Viola’s fellow travelers have reached her, adding multiple layers of intrigue and technology to the battle. And we are finally introduced to the Spackle. What an amazing culture they turn out to be. I am amazed at how Ness allows us into each of his characters thoughts. We are in their heads, following the stressful and manic thoughts in this violent world of war.
I am afraid to write any more about the story or about the characters for fear of giving too much away, the way I felt about The Ask and The Answer. Just know that this is an exceptional series for young adults and that it deals with big issues, terrorism, racism, love, war and the impact of making choices. I highly recommend the entire Chaos Walking series.
Patrick Ness has a wonderful website that can be found here.