Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Monsters of men: Patrick Ness

I reviewed the first two parts of Patrick Ness's Chaos walking trilogy in the summer when The Ask and the Answer (part 2) was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. I've just finished the final part, Monsters of men (as one of the character's says, "War makes monsters of men"). Rereading that earlier post, I was struck by how tense I had found the writing, particularly in the first book, The knife of never letting go. While I was certainly intrigued to find out how Ness would resolve the dangerous situation Todd and Viola found themselves in, I didn't find the conclusion quite as gripping. The war on New World becomes very complicated and a bit confusing, especially when a third force, the Spackle, the planet's indigenous species, also takes up arms. Each battle felt as if it was going to be decisive and then more followed. However, there is a satisfying ending with themes of revenge, forgiveness and redemption and Todd, Viola and the relationship between them are finely drawn - I was reminded of Philip Pullman's Lyra and Will. Overall, I would heartily recommend this trilogy for avid readers of 12+.

PS - click here for an online short story prequel to the trilogy, telling how Viola arrived on New World (via Booktrust).


  1. It is less tense, isn't it.

    In fact, I must confess that after reading a chapter or two, I found that "Monsters of Men" didn't 'grab me' and I put it back onto the To-be-Read stack.

    I'll wait a bit longer though and try again. Thanks for great review.

  2. Thanks for the comment - maybe it was just an idea stretched too far.

  3. I was actually turned off by the introduction of the 3rd POV. I can see the need for, the way the story was going, but wasn't in the mood for it. (At least at this time :)

  4. i have chance reading of only few pages from part iii . while the language still haunts me as somber, its epic war politics reminds me many a scene from Mahabharata.