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War makes monsters of men, in the final (and best) book of the series,
This review is from: Monsters of Men: Chaos Walking: Book Three (Paperback)
[WARNING: spoilers for the first two books of the series will necessarily follow.]
In the end, each of the Chaos Walking novels has its own themes, arcs, and stories, even as they all add up to one continuous tale. The first novel was an exploration of the world that Ness created, but also an allegory for how we function in an overwhelming amount of information, and how that men can learn to control that flood for their own purposes. The second was a novel about what we could find ourselves doing for a cause we thought was right, and just how far we could stretch our moral fibers. And book three? Book three is a novel about war, and what it does to us all - but it's also a book about morality, and redemption, and politics, and the way we can become so focused on winning that we neglect what may be right or wrong. And it does all of this while telling a riveting, powerhouse tale that left me stunned, unable to do much other than process the book for a while after I finished it. Just as threatened at the end of The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men is the tale of the war between humans and the Spackle. But it's also the tale of the conflict between the Mayor and the Answer, both of whom are so focused on their own beliefs as to what the future should hold that they find themselves unable to accept anything short of complete victory by their own terms. More fascinatingly, though, Ness also adds another narrator to the novel, one whose introduction adds an entirely new language, perspective, and view to all of the events of the novel. It's this character whose arc may be the most moving, ultimately, coming together in a climax that literally made me gasp with its honesty and painfulness. I've been floored by the whole Chaos Walking series, but even in the greatness of this series, Monsters of Men may be the most beautiful and powerful of the series. There's a beauty and a quiet hopefulness that emerges at the core of the novel that's hard to shake, especially in the midst of such horrors, and Ness's fusion of so many themes, ideas, strong characters, and great plotting all come together to make not just one of the best YA books I've read in recent memory, but one of the best books, period. I can't recommend this series enough. Go out and immerse yourself in Ness's world - it's a hard place, to be sure, but it's an incredible one as well, one that may affect you more than you ever expect it to.