Monsters of Men

Monsters of Men is – of course – the book I was referring to in a comment last week. Spectacular was the word I used, and I was pointing out that whereas The Knife of Never Letting Go is a very good book, Patrick Ness has improved with each instalment of the Chaos Walking trilogy. The Ask and the Answer definitely deserved the awards it was given, and the mind boggles when I think about what Monsters of Men ought to get.

At the end of book one I was dismayed to find that there was very little reprieve for Todd and Viola after all they had come through. I was more resigned in book two, but could see that there just might be light at the end of the tunnel. Some way into Monsters of Men I felt it was not at all unlikely that it would end in disaster, but what was more, for someone who craves happy endings, I didn’t mind. I came to the conclusion that if this was heading straight to hell, then it was a most interesting journey and well worth reading.

Having seen life through two pairs of eyes in the other two books, here we get a third point of view with 1017 as a counter balance to Todd and Viola. There is more symmetry in that they have a ‘mentor’ each, and these mentors have a lot more in common with each other than you’d think. There is some good in them. Yes, even in the Mayor. And there is bad in all. You come to see that this is often the case in many scenarios, and there are countless parallels in real life. Good and bad come together.

I toyed with the idea that the Mayor would turn out to be good for a long time. You don’t think he will, but there are many little signs of good. Mistress Coyle is not as good as we girls would prefer her to be. And The Sky has a lot going for him. But maybe he’s not perfect either?

And what about the young people they train to do their jobs? Are they special?

This is such an interesting way to look at what people do. And there’s a lot of background to wars in general, showing us how easily and how often everything will go as wrong as it possibly can.

The horses are the real heroes. And for all who hated Patrick for killing off Manchee the dog, he does something to almost redeem that. And then he does something else to make you despair.

It’s all very human. Or Spackle. Or whatever.


6 responses to “Monsters of Men

  1. I have been unable to write a review for my blog on this trilogy, I am so in awe of it. I think it would have been just those two words: “Read it”. Amongst the best writing of the last ten years as far as I am concerned. And the Mayor has to be one of the best baddies ever invented. Just unbelievable.
    (and I cried a lot at the end)

  2. Thoroughly agree – the horses are the heroes! I loved them!

  3. Library Mice – just say ‘not too bad’.

    Linda – I’d love a horse to think ‘girl colt’ in my direction, but possibly I’m too old to be a colt?

  4. I agree, each installment has gotten better and that is saying a lot since the first was pretty spectacular. What I enjoyed about the third installment were the parallels between the Sky and the Return and the Mayor and Todd. I thought that was brilliant.

    I am glad that the Mayor did not redeem himself. He was way too over the top villainous and I could never have believed in his redemption. But that may just be a personal problem.

  5. Personally I’m glad what happens at the very end happens. (The Todd thing)
    He had to have something REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY bad happen to him. But I wish it happened to Viola instead of him.
    Just my opinion.

  6. Sorry if that counts as a spoiler……

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