Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, Candlewick, 2010, 608 pp, ISBN: 0763647519
So the other night I was huddled up in my bathroom, crying my eyes out, a la Liz Gilbert in the opening chapter of Eat, Pray, Love. What major life crisis was I facing?
I had just finished Monsters of Men.
That book is amazing. At this point in the trilogy (book 3!), full on war had come to New Prentisstown. It was the Spackle vs. The Ask/the Mayor vs. The Answer/Mistress Coyle with Todd and Viola caught right in the middle. When Simone and Bradley arrived on a shuttle from Viola's ship, things only became more complicated.
Patrick Ness is an absolute genius of a writer. I had thought that I hated the Mayor more than any other character of all time, but as the book progressed, I actually found myself feeling sympathetic toward him... and so did Todd! Who the Mayor had tried to kill about 37 times!
Ness also added 1017 as a third narrator in the story. Hearing that third perspective made me look at the planet in a completely new way, and learning about "the voice" of the Land raised a number of questions: What is noise really? How can it be used? Can women get noise? What are the effects of taking it away? And beyond just the scope of this book, 1017 also made me re-examine the way that I look at language, war vs. peace, and assimilation in the real world. Patrick Ness is seriously brilliant.
Monsters of Men is completely unpredictable, but each new twist in the plot is written so skillfully that it is still completely believable. Todd and Viola are two of my all time favorite characters. They are flawed, idealistic, questioning, loyal, and brave. They make mistakes, but they never stop searching for the truth. Perhaps most of all, they love each other. At a time in YA literature where you can barely read two pages without stumbling over a love triangle, I absolutely love these two characters who just courageously, whole-heartedly love each other.
If you are looking for a book to fall in love with, read Monsters of Men! (and make sure that you read The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and The Answer first)
Now my only question is, when are we going to get a Chaos Walking font book?