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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book Review: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three - Patrick Ness

Something about this book didn't quite "do" it for me the way that the first two did. New World continues to be a fascinating place, and this final installment takes us deeper in it than we've gone before. In each book, we get closer to understanding the Spackle, the original inhabitants of the planet. In this one, we finally see part of the story from the Spackle point of view, developing a deeper understanding of their society and values. I should be glad that the Spackle finally have their say, but in some ways, it detracted from their mystery in the first two books. This book also seemed like it rehashed a lot of the story and themes from book 2; we see a lot of what already happened, except from the Spackle perspective, and we get the same emotional see-saw (although more of it), with Mayor Prentiss. Just how evil is he? Is he capable of change? (I didn't really believe it). Viola and Todd both narrate just as they did in book 2 as well, but the switch between their points of view often felt too quick to me, which was jarring. The book also felt longer to me than it needed to be; with too little or too much seeming to go on at the same time. This might be the plague of the third book in a series -- it has a lot to carry on its shoulders.

So, all this criticism, and yet I still gave the book four stars. And that's because Patrick Ness continues to show us a world that is complex and intriguing, because he continues to wrestle with themes that make your heart ache, and because he is a master of "voice" (no pun intended). This book more successfully changes "tone" depending on which narrator is speaking than almost any other book I've read that employs multiple narrators. And in YA, voice really can carry the day. I can still recommend this series with few reservations.