Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book Review: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Full scale war is on the horizon for the citizens of New Prentisstown. Will Todd and Viola be able to barter a lasting peace for those already on the planet and those on the way?


This last book in a fantastic series exceeded even my highest expectations. I was completely enthralled, and highly emotionally invested in the outcome – not just for the fates of Todd and Viola, but also, yes, for Todd’s horse (#teamboycolt). For those of you who read the first book (and I certainly hope you have if you are reading this review), you know that Ness has no qualms about killing off our favorite animals. And that’s why one of the thoughts that was foremost on my mind while I was reading this was “He better not kill Todd’s horse!”

Anyway, back to Todd and Viola. They’ve both been through a lot. They are good people, but along the way, they’ve had to make some hard decisions. And the stakes are raised even more this time around, because it’s war – and the outcome is going to determine the fate of the whole planet.

And since this is a book about war, I want to talk about the battle scenes a minute. Battle scenes often bore me, because usually, we only see the POV of the heroes, how they are stomping all over a faceless, probably evil, enemy. But here, the enemy isn’t that clear cut. We get to know people on all sides, to sympathize with them, to understand that with every death, every injury, something is lost to someone.

Ness adds a third POV, from one of the indigenous Spackle, and we come to sympathize also with them and gain more of an understanding of the world’s politics.

Probably the most amazing part of this novel though, is the characterization of the major baddie, Mayor Prentiss. I don’t think I have ever encountered such a layered villain before. He’s someone you hate and wish dead – and yet – Ness makes you hope for his redemption. (An aside: It’s mainly Mayor Prentiss’ fault that I found the villains in Michael Grant’s GONE so flat, since I read that one right after finishing this.)

If I have any complaints at all about this installment, it’s that there was one part of the ending I found very….strange. But that’s spoiler territory, so I’m done here for now.

My rating: Like THE ASK AND THE ANSWER did during Dystopian February, this one gets 5 Zombie Chickens – The Ultimate Dystopian Experience


Series order:

THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO (read my review)
THE ASK AND THE ANSWER (read my review)
MONSTERS OF MEN (out now in the UK, out on September 28, 2010 in the US)

Find out more about the series at the author’s website.


See index of all Dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

26 comments:

LM Preston said...

This sounds awesome. I haven't heard of the series before and I'm glad I stopped in.

Lenore said...

LM - It IS awesome. Glad you stopped in too!

Amanda said...

The first in this series was...too intense for me. I loved it and couldn't stop reading, but after I was done I'd read too fast and felt sick. I could never prod myself to go through the experience again for the second book. I'm really bad when it comes to most series.

(Bookish)InABox said...

The Ask and the Answer hooked me, and I can't wait to get my hands on Monsters of Men.

Sarah said...

Yes. This entire series is amazing, and Monsters of Men was a fabulous and fitting end to a wonderful, disturbing, and provocative series. It's one of those books that I had to read fast because I was so invested, but wanted to read slow because I didn't want the series to end. Bravo, Patrick Ness. He knows how to create villains, that's for sure!

Emily said...

After hearing so many good things about this series I broke my no new books in August promise and got The Knife of Never Letting Go from the library today. All sources indicate that it'll be worth it though!

Smash Attack! said...

I put these books on my TBR list. They sound stellar!

Liviania said...

I still need to start this series. I felt like the first one got mixed reviews, so I didn't think about it much, and then the subsequent two received fab reviews.

Heather said...

Wasn't it fantastic! I loooved it. Such a great end to such a great series. When I finished, I wanted to start all over again at the very beginning. I will definitely have to reread them next year. I wonder how intense it would be to go straight through all three....

bermudaonion said...

It sounds like this is the dystopian series I should try.

AmandaRose said...

Hey, I'm doing a book giveaway on my blog and thought you might be interested! Check it out: http://amandarosetew.blogspot.com/

Great Blog!

Alyce said...

I loved this book too, and thought the series was very entertaining. They were all intense reads, but they sucked me into the story so thoroughly that I can't complain about that. Even though I loved the last book I had issues with the ending, and thought it might have been a better, more realistic story if it had ended sooner.

Chris said...

Wasn't it incredible Lenore? And you're so right...one of the things I loved so much about this one is that you never entirely know who the enemy is. Ness is just a genius! And I thought the same thing...I thought that poor Todd's horse was a goner before I even started the book :( Ness takes no prisoners! I was just convinced he was going to kill her.

Nymeth said...

Those battle sides just completely broke my heart. And I'm curious about which part you found strange!

PS: #teamboycolt unite :P

Colleen said...

I have this one sitting on my review shelf. I LOVED The Ask and The Answer. This has fast become one of my favorite series.

Teresa Kravtin said...

What a great review! And kudos to you for enticing many others to read the series. There are many of us who have been singing the praises of these books loud and long, and wonder why EVERYbody isn't on board yet!! Thanks for your two cents!

Teresa Kravtin said...

Oh! In case you're interested, there is a discussion group on FaceBook that I invite anyone to join. Rabid fans there who share thoughts. There are posted reviews (I just posted this blog review!) and more. Patrick Ness is also a member!

http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=109855269768&ref=ts

Splendibird said...

It's an extraordinary series isn't it? I finished Monsters of Men feeling completely wrung out and in buckets of tears (that last line!! Even thinking of it makes me shiver). I am constantly amazed that more people haven't read the books and am now quite evangelical about them - I've bought copies for several friends. Just absolute writing genius.

Michelle said...

I heart these books so much! And I really can't wait to read MoM. Especially knowing it lived up to the rest of the series. And I agree, Mayor Prentiss is one scary villain.

Zibilee said...

Ooh! Five zombie chickens? That's a great endorsement right there! I also have a lot of trouble with battle scenes, I tend to tune out whenever they show up on the page, so it's good to hear that this book doesn't fall into that trap!

Spellboundbybooks Melissa said...

Great Revie. I loved these books and was Team Boycolt too!! I loved the fact that they could hear the animals.

Lawral the Librarian said...

I cannot wait for this book to come out!!! I'm not surprised that the ending was strange. Ness has a way with endings, don't you think? As long as the ending for this last book doesn't make me want to chew my nails off like the last two, I'll be happy.

Jenny said...

I thought this was an incredible conclusion to the trilogy too--definitely five zombie chickens. :p Especially the--er, not wanting to get all spoilery, I guess I would say, especially the character who proved to be living with the Spackle. Marvelous.

Lily Child said...

I didn't fully read your review, b/c I haven't read the first book. However, it sounds like I need to get my hands on this series ASAP! :D

Holly said...

I'd been looking forward to this review - I don't know how I missed it. MONSTERS OF MEN seriously blew my mind. The mayor was one of my favorite characters, too. <3 this series. Must buy the first two books sometime.

Meghan said...

I wasn't terribly crazy about the first of this series, but I went ahead and bought the second one anyway to see what happened. And found this one in the library - I have just read them both and wow, am I glad I kept going. I don't even know how I'm going to manage a review!