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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK HARBINGER: One word, Brilliant.
War. That is all the Mayor, with a gleam in his eye, can say. Stuck in the middle, all Todd can do is watch Mistress Coyle's terrorist army boom into New Prentisstown, spy the native Spackle soldiers zigzagging down the hill in front, and accompany Mayor Prentiss as his men march to meet them. Somewhere, the scout ship of incoming settlers will be landing in the middle...
Published on June 4, 2010 by Hollybally

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perils of war and the possibility of redemption
Monsters of Men is an epic novel of war told on a grand scale. The book begins immediately after the last one ends, with the beginning of a three sided conflict between the Answer, the Spackle, and Mayor Prentiss. Viola and Todd are stuck in the middle, and the action sucks the reader in straight from page one. The author does not flinch from showing the brutality of...
Published on October 8, 2010 by J.Prather


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BOOK HARBINGER: One word, Brilliant., June 4, 2010
This review is from: Monsters of Men (Hardcover)
War. That is all the Mayor, with a gleam in his eye, can say. Stuck in the middle, all Todd can do is watch Mistress Coyle's terrorist army boom into New Prentisstown, spy the native Spackle soldiers zigzagging down the hill in front, and accompany Mayor Prentiss as his men march to meet them. Somewhere, the scout ship of incoming settlers will be landing in the middle of Mistress Coyle's army oblivious to the chaos and Viola, ankles broken, galloping away from it all on her horse Acorn. Badly outnumbered and with two sides to fight, Todd and Viola are conflicted as ever. Peace or war, forgiveness or revenge, and hope or despair; if only the decisions were that polar. How much of their moral integrity are they willing to sacrifice to save each other?

Who could wait until September for the concluding book in this trilogy? So much drama, intensity, and unpredictable unknowns? I couldn't. There was no turning back once I calculated that for only a couple dollars more, I could have it now, and in the spiffy UK edition no less. (Which seriously, if we're talking about cover art, it has one of the most creative and one-of-a-kind book jackets out there. ) It also has to do with a certain author named Patrick Ness, who is the king of cliffhangers. The Ask and the Answer ended, again, with everything still on the line and a new plot twist. I can't help thinking: was he trying to kill us with suspense? But I can't see it written differently. Ness' signature chapter and ending cliffhangers reflect the entire tone of this series: furious pace, anything-can-happen, action-driven story arc for a futuristic people forced to settle a New World sans technology but with unknown alien natives and uttered thoughts called Noise.

More than the first two books in the Chaos Walking trilogy, Monsters of Men will unfailing hook you so that you can't put it down. Alternating sometimes as much as every other page between the perspectives of Todd and Viola, each viewpoint usually cut off mid-scene, mid-action, and on the brink of disaster, leaving you saying "what?". Being honest without a by-your-leave the incredibly fast pacing was almost overwhelming, veering on overstimulation. For those of you able to read each book in the series back-to-back, I don't think this would be an issue. It took me several pages to find my bearings and get emotionally back into the ambiguity of both the Mayor and Mistress Coyle's sides and feel invested. But once the third, differing perspective is introduced, my interest piqued and I easily let the brisk plot carry me along. A big light is shined on the Spackle creatures - what they're like, how they communicate, and how they fight. Frankly it was fascinating and combined with our increasing experience with the people of Prentisstown, the singular abilities of the Mayor, the growing capabilities of Todd, the healers of Mistress Coyle, the pieces began to fall together into a compelling whole. What are the origins of Noise, its capabilities and its true purpose? All of these questions that have been building on each other since The Knife of Never Letting Go are answered compellingly. To say I was completely satisfied with the conclusion after two books that leave you hanging is an understatement. That's not to say that Patrick Ness keeps you guessing until the final page, or everything is answered, but in the least all the loose end are tied up. Finishing Monsters of Men was a memorable experience for me which admittedly involved some crying. Before my bookpushing gets any worse PLEASE if you like scifi/dystopian YA in the least go out and get this series. You won't regret it. It was a near perfect series for me and will go on my all-time favorites list.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing ending to the trilogy, July 30, 2010
This review is from: Monsters of Men (Hardcover)
It's so hard to know what to say about this book. It's an amazing ending to the series, and it is worthy of all those cliches... my heart was racing while I read it, it kept me guessing throughout the very last pages for what would happen to my beloved characters, there were more twists and turns then you could shake a stick at, and I was in tears at the very end. I'm going to do my best to keep this spoiler-free.

This book, like the previous two in the series, deals with weighty issues of love, loyalty, trust, communication, and information. But Ness also delves into relationships between parents and their children, leaders and followers, and the responsibilities associated with all of these roles. And then there's the issue of redemption... can people go beyond the point of redemption?

The story focuses onto Todd and Viola, Mayor Prentiss and Mistress Coyle, and the Sky (leader of the Land - or Spackle as they are called by humans) and the Return (previously known to us as 1017). Outside of these main pairings, we have two settlers, Simone and Bradly, who are friends of Viola's and control the scout ship we saw landing at the end of The Ask and the Answer. And we have the returning Mistresses, Wilf and Jane, Lee, and Angharrad and Acorn (yes, I included the horses, because I LOVE those horses). As in The Ask and the Answer, we can draw the comparisons between the Mayor and Mistress Coyle, seeing how they each use power and politics to try and seize control. But, while I thought they were far too similar in the last book, we see them strongly diverge here as they both realize that the war has changed from the one that they started.

The reader is constantly shifting in this book, from the perspective of Todd to Viola to 1017. The changes are fast-paced and abrupt, which can take a little getting used to, since it feels like you're almost always having the rug pulled out from under you. However, it's worth it to keep with the story and just try to get into Ness's rhythm.

The ending is... ambiguous. It will make for excellent discussion, as will the way that the characters finish their own stories. Ness puts such a strong emphasis on forgiveness, acceptance, and hope throughout the series that I have a hard time not feeling hopeful at the ending. You really would be doing yourself a favor in reading this series. It has a little over everything... sci-fi, survival, adventure, animals, appeal to guys and girls, romance, super powers, and war. Maybe that makes the book sound overloaded, but it's also a beautiful story with characters who will stay with you long after you've finished reading.

On a slightly offbeat note, I don't think I'll ever be able to read or hear the word "Todd?" without getting choked up. Just typing it now has me tearing up!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perils of war and the possibility of redemption, October 8, 2010
This review is from: Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three (Hardcover)
Monsters of Men is an epic novel of war told on a grand scale. The book begins immediately after the last one ends, with the beginning of a three sided conflict between the Answer, the Spackle, and Mayor Prentiss. Viola and Todd are stuck in the middle, and the action sucks the reader in straight from page one. The author does not flinch from showing the brutality of war and exploring questions of the morality surrounding it. The characters struggle with placing the good of the whole against the good of the one, and whether war can be or should be a personal thing. Mayor Prentiss says at one point that "War makes monsters of men....Well so does too much knowledge." On a planet of information, that makes for plenty of opportunity for men to behave badly and also to redeem themselves. These themes run throughout the story.

Perhaps my favorite part of this book was the portion told by Prisoner 1017. His experiences and his journey were portrayed so vividly that they added a new dimension to this story. His path to redemption told in counterpoint to the Mayor's journey was telling and effective. Unfortunately, with all the things that this story had going for it, I walked away feeling rather disappointed. There was just nothing new here, aside from Prisoner 1017's story. There were no character twists, and by about a third of the way into the novel, I felt like I was getting repeatedly hammered over the head by the points and themes described above. I felt frustrated that the author kept pounding the same points home time and time again, when I got it the first time. While the Mayor was quite the effective villain in the first two novels, I found him to be rather tedious in this one. I could see clearly what was going on with him, and was just frustrated that Todd and Viola couldn't.

In sum, while I didn't find this to be the page turner that I expected and clearly some other reviewers have experienced, I still found this to be a fairly good ending to what I feel is an incredibly original and exciting sci fi series that holds a lot of appeal for both teens and adults alike. I will still be recommending this series often, but more for the first two books than for this one.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great series...except for this book., January 14, 2011
By 
Zebo Quad (Portland, OR) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three (Hardcover)
The only thing I can think of that happened between the wonderful "Knife of Never Letting Go" and the final installment in this series is that the editor fell asleep. Or thought that the addition of a third narrator, the Spackle, was such a brilliant idea that the rest of the book didn't need to be read. I will concede that the Spackle narration was my favorite part, and a great (perhaps only saving grace) addition, but...

1. All the elements that made "Knife..." so great disappeared! Talking animals companions went by the wayside. They introduced humor to this bleak world and created characters that weren't totally twisted. For that matter, the animals's noise really ceased to be a major element at all. I really loved Manchee. I wanted more Manchees. I needed more Manchees.

2. What is with Todd and Viola screaming each other's names into the nothingness?? Holy moly, that was annoying. It was like the Titanic movie, but worse. Sometimes there were two pages with Todd screaming Viola's name on it six or more times! Who does that?

3. Ness drawing out the action for the sake of suspense turned into a ridiculous parody here. Melodrama and scene-splicing intersected here to this unbelievable magnitude it was impossible to stay "in the story", if you know what I mean.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique, thought-provoking, but loooong., March 24, 2011
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This review is from: Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three (Hardcover)
This is a difficult review to write.

I'm not a professional reviewer, only giving my personal experience of a story. Sometimes I'm not sure why I like/dislike one. This book falls in that category.

It's well-crafted. The variations in fonts added to the reading experience. And it was well-written. The story arc flows nice and smooth. The characters remained true to the first two books. However, with 50 pages left to read in this monster book of 600 pages, I didn't really care all that much how it ended. After plowing through the first two giant books, that's not the experience I expected.

Here's why.

I don't think the characters change all that much in the third book. The Mayor is still a cunning, seductive, unpredictable villain. Viola and Todd still pine for each other. We are introduced to a third character and get wonderful insight into a Spackle mind, and that's what kept me invested in the beginning. The characters do grow and evolve near the end, but in predictable fashion.

However, I think my experience was flat because the pace felt sluggish. He kept me guessing at the end of several sections, but it was like a movie that needed to end an hour earlier. Todd's threats to whip the Mayor fanny get old, as do Viola's promises to protect Todd, and the Mistress's promise to destroy the Mayor. The story arc is interesting and Ness's imagined world where thoughts are exposed is fascinating. It was just too long.

I blazed through the final 50 pages. It wasn't entirely predictable, but my interest had waned. I just wanted to finish. The ending concluded with a fizzle rather than a pop.

3.5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't be fooled by the missing star, October 12, 2010
This review is from: Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three (Hardcover)
Monsters of Men is the only book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy that I couldn't give a five-star review. Don't get me wrong, I still loved the story, and all things considered it was a pretty knockout conclusion to what has become one of my all time favorite book series. BUT. I had some minor issues with it.

I'm probably one of the few people who will feel this way, but I wish 1017, the "Return" Spackle, hadn't been one of the multiple narrators. I wasn't crazy about Viola narrating half of The Ask and the Answer, but at least I liked Viola. I didn't really care for 1017, and except for the near end, most of his parts seemed to do more telling than showing; not enough trademark Choas Walking action. However, it was more than that: Having a Spackle narrate took away all of the mystery of the Spackle. The Spackle had always been one of my favorite things about the first and second books, and it was because they were so unique, so completely other. Being right inside 1017's head made him seem too much like an ordinary human character. And I know, this is a world of endless information, so it should only make sense that we know his thoughts, but as Mayor Printiss proves, there is such a thing as too much knowledge.

And speaking of Mayor Printiss, his character felt slightly redundant to me. I won't give away too much except to say that I had hoped to see his bad guy-ness envolve, REALLY evolve, the way it did from book one to book two. Instead it seemed that book two was where he hit his cresendo.

Overall, Monsters of Men is really a very good read through and through. It certainly doesn't suffer from losing steam the way so many conclusion books seem to do. The action is still breathless, the writing is still as sharp and precise as a scalpel, and the characters are still engaging (hello, Angharrad!) As for the ending, it left enough to the imagination to retain Ness's signature cliffhanger style, while still giving the reader a sense of resolution (I DO wish it hadn't somewhat reminded me of the final book in the Harry Potter series, however). I'm sad that I don't have these stories to read anew now, but I will undoubtably be rereading them--probably multiple times--in the very near future. Meanwhile, here's hoping Patrick Ness has other genius "New" worlds in the making.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and hard to finish., April 26, 2012
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I loved The Knife of Never Letting Go, so I was extremely disappointed to find that I hated Monsters of Men.

I think the biggest thing that I didn't like is the quick point of view changes. I really liked the addition of the voice of Spackle 1017. It was great to learn more about the Spackle. However, the chapters were too short and the changes too sudden for me. And I felt like I kept hearing about the same events over and over again, first from Todd's point of view, then from Viola's, and then again from 1017's.

Also, I hated all of the characters in this book. Maybe I was supposed to, the title is Monsters of Men after all. But it's one thing to make a bad decision once or twice. It's another thing to keep making the same bad decisions over and over and over again. For example, don't keep trusting the people that have already screwed you over multiple times.

The repetitive narration combined with the constant bad decisions made this book feel agonizingly slow and never-ending. I almost couldn't finish it- it took me several weeks. The pace did finally pick up for me near the end, but after trudging the endless middle to get there, I discovered that I didn't really care.

I know other reviewers found this book fast-paced and exciting, but for me personally, it just didn't work. And I am so incredibly disappointed because the first book was so stinking good!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Monsters of Men ends Ness' seemingly long series, January 3, 2011
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I finally got to this book, the last in Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking series. All I can say is that sometimes when I read this book and all the others, I felt like I was in a time warp. I think Ness would much better serve his readers if he would just get to the point sometimes, instead of dragging out many of the action scenes, long conversations and most often arguments and disagreements between Todd and the Mayor, Todd and Viola and Todd and himself.

In Monsters of Men, I felt like there was just this huge buildup to see if Todd would kill the Mayor, or who would be killed in general, and then you were just dumped on with an unexciting ending, but maybe it was meant to be that way?

I love the idea of this book and the entire series, I just wish Ness would get to the point sometimes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to deliver, June 7, 2012
By 
Ash Ryan (Salt Lake City, Utah) - See all my reviews
In The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness created an intriguing sci-fi/fantasy world, full of interesting ideas and promising characters. The Ask and the Answer was a truly great follow-up: the violence was even more brutal, but less gratuitously over-the-top; it was more about thoughtful thematic and character development, as the characters learned what it means to be adults.

Unfortunately, it all kind of falls apart in this final installment. There are some ideas that could have gone somewhere---the Spackle character 1017 had a lot of potential, particularly the issue of whether his species' "groupthink" way of life is good or bad (or good for them but not for us, or what), and Ness examines the question of the role of personal values in physical conflict (whether it's right or wrong to "make war personal", as he puts it)---but in the end he not only doesn't answer these questions, but the final resolutions of the plot conflicts simply have nothing to do with them...plot and theme are not integrated in the end, and the whole exercise thus becomes somewhat pointless. Indeed, Ness ends up equivocating on or vaguely passing over most of the deeper issues he had raised throughout the series. In short, he made a lot of promises and failed to deliver.

Still, though this last book in the series is a disappointment after the excellent middle installment, it's still better than a lot of young adult fiction out there, and the series as a whole is definitely worth a read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Series But..., September 23, 2011
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This review is from: Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three (Hardcover)
Really, what is there to say about this book...?

The series itself was fascinating. The first book gripped me so much I read it all in a few hours, I just couldn't put it down. Not only that, it had me so emotionally riled up I ended up crying near the end(something I rarely do)...

I had high hopes from book one onward, and I think that is what... disappointed me. That's just the word for it. The first book leaves you with such high expectations, you are prepared for an imaginative, intense, heart breaking, wild ride through the rest of the series and once its all done and over with you... feel like something is missing.

The second book was very, very good. But the constant switch from Viola's and Todd's point of view got on my nerves, I found myself just wanting to skip Viola's POV and get back to Todds. Don't get me wrong, I liked Viola as a character, but... Todds POV and story was just much more interesting to me.

And then there's this book, the final book, Monsters of Men. Really, after the second, book, my expectations had dampened slightly, but I still hoped that the third book would redeem the series, and hence leave me stunned by it. Sadly, this was not to be...

The constant switch between POV annoyed me, and the story just seemed to drag on and on and build up forever. And build up to what, really? Really, WHAT WAS IT BUILDING UP TO? The ending disappointed me greatly.

Nonetheless, the series overall was a very good read, better than I've been able to enjoy in a long time. It was a thrilling adventure, and I will return to read it again someday.

Something that I feel Ness really did well was drawing you close to the characters. I felt what they felt, hurt with them, loved with them, hated with them. I think this was not felt as much in the third book...

I do recommend this series, highly, because I feel, that even with its faults, the Chaos Walking series shines above the rest, it is a truly imaginative and emotionally riling world.
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Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three
Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three by Patrick Ness (Hardcover - September 28, 2010)
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