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Review: Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking Trilogy, Book Three) by Patrick Ness

in a sentence or so: War is here.  War with the Spackle, war with each other, and ultimately war with one's self.

the first book in this trilogy featured only Todd’s voice.  the second had Todd and Viola's voices.  and fittingly so, the third has three voices. i won't spoil anything by saying who the third voice is, only that it's very fitting and symmetrical. don't worry - no spoilers here (okay from books 1 and 2 but if you haven't read those yet i don't know what you've been doing with your life).

book two leaves us off with an impending Spackle attack.  which of course presents many interesting problems for New Prentisstown (who is already fighting a civil war with the terrorist women who call themselves The Answer"), the most challenging of which is will they fight a two front war, or unite against a common enemy?  who can be trusted? surely not the Mayor after his repeated lies and deceit...but he is clearly the most skilled leader in battle. surely not Mistress Coyle after she sent Viola on a suicide mission without her knowledge...but she is clearly the most skilled at peacemaking.  more tough decisions present themselves for Todd and Viola, and none of them have a clear answer.

the narrators alternate quickly and with cliffhangers like you wouldn't believe.  this crreats an abrupt and slightly disjointed reading style, which would of course mimic the tone and plot of the book - overwhelming and uncertain.  because war is so much of the focus, it makes sense that Ness creates a non-stop pace where the narrators are constantly rotating while so much remains unknown. Ness takes elements of war and translates that directly to the reader's experience of the events.

perhaps more directly referenced in this book than the other two is the commentary on religion vs. spirituality. many of Todd and Viola's most painful moments were inside the walls of a church, or due to a preacher.  Aaron (the horrid-face-eaten-off-crazy-man from book 1) was a preacher, and was ultimately killed inside of a church where HE was trying to push Todd to kill him.  there are no religious leaders left in the New World that we encounter, which seems a bit counterintuitive since rural areas tend to be more open to organized religion.  however, while organized religion seems to be something manipulated for the worst in the New World, the ultimate connection to each other and to the earth is Noise.  the way for individuals to get in tune with the Noise (spirituality) is to NOT control it, but to simply BE a part of it.  when leaders try to harness that power, or try to interpret that power for their own gain is when it is twisted and hurtful.

redemption is a theme explored throughout the series, but receives special emphasis in this book.  Mistress Coyle, the Mayor, and also Todd and Viola each have their own personal journeys to make, and ultimately it will be the choices they make that redeem them or lose them forever.

the ultimate conclusion of the story was fulfilling.  so much was left for the imagination, but enough of the loose ends were tied up so that it didn’t feel like a cop out.  Ness creates a world that is full of chaos, but also full of absolute beauty.  it is truly incredible to me that, through three significantly different voices, he is able to portray the awe and wonder of Noise and the world of Todd and Viola. i would be lying if i said i wasn't totally emotionally exhausted after reading the entire series, but it is the best kind of emotional exhaustion.  i was so invested in Todd and Viola, and in the world that Ness created.  this is, hands down, one of my favorite reads of all time. 

fave quote: "And I see how black the eyes of the Mayor are, how echoey his voice is becoming - 'The world is eating me alive, Todd', he says. 'This world and the information in it. It's too much. Too much to control.'" (558)

fix er up: nothing. this was heartbreaking, beautiful, exciting, thoughtful, insightful, funny and clever though and through. 

title: Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking Trilogy: Book III)
author: Patrick Ness
genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Lisa's Faves

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.

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