Thursday, August 12, 2010
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
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