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Monsters Hardcover – September 10, 2013
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From School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—Bick takes listeners on a post-apocalyptic journey in this final volume in the "Ashes" trilogy. The sheer volume of main and secondary characters and their complex (and often serendipitous) relationships are impressive, but the capriciousness of the point of view makes the story difficult to follow. Also, many of the mysteries from previous books in the trilogy (Ashes, Shadows) remain unresolved. Listeners learn that the Changed are evolving, but little is shared about how and, even less, about why. Despite the weakened story line, Katherine Kellgren offers a gripping performance for listeners, with climactic pacing around every turn during Bick's lengthy action sequences. The audiobook opens with Kellgren's decrescendo as Alex plunges into water, her voice fading to almost a whisper as Alex sinks into a memory, allowing listeners to experience the full gamut of her emotions. Despite Kellgren's outstanding performance, however, this dark dystopian thriller is only recommended if books one and two are popular in your collection.—April Everett, Rowan Public Library, Salisbury, NC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Seventeen-year-old Alex left the postapocalyptic town of Rule to save herself from the misdirected leadership there. But in this conclusion to the Ashes trilogy, she returns in an effort to save others from the flesh-eating, zombie-like teens known as the Changed, who now seem to be controlled by someone or something. If Alex or any of the other Spared can stop a madman, there may be hope for some kind of future for the unchanged children who remain. This gargantuan (over 800 pages!), action-packed conclusion really needs the character list planned for the finished book to help readers follow multiple story lines that converge at the reunion of Alex, Tom, and Ellie. Bick ably juggles the different strands to create a tension-filled narrative wherein the bloody bits tend to be thorough and clinical rather than crudely splashy. Moments of tenderness and hope balance the gore, and the ending seems to indicate that all, at long last, might be well. Grades 7-10. --Cindy Welch
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Top Customer Reviews
With all the recent apocalyptic and zombie hype, I really appreciated Ilsa Bick’s interpretation of end-of-the-world chaos. In Ashes, the reader is introduced to the main characters as the world falls into pieces after an EMP went off and turned half of the surviving population into killing machines with a taste for human flesh. Shadows not only shows the evolution of the cannibalistic Changed and their new-found ability to use weapons, but also showcases the deterioration of normal humans into cold-hearted and animalistic beasts.
Monsters is a fast-paced, horror-filled novel that will leave you gripping your seat as you wait to see the outcome of the inevitable “final” battle where the Changed surrounding Rule and the deranged people still living within its borders. The writing is deep and analyzes the sanity and motivation behind the characters narrating their pieces of the complex puzzle that is Monsters. If you don’t handle gore well, refrain from reading any of these books because Bick writes realistically and descriptively. My main complaint, fickle to say the least, is that Alex, the heroine, did not end up with my favorite potential lover, but I feel like I will be in the minority with that opinion!
All of the novels of Bick’s that I have read, have been pretty great reads! If you are a tad squeamish, consider reading Drowning Instinct by Ilsa Bick instead! It is a wonderful book that lacks gory details!
Monsters brings the Ashes trilogy to a close, but it complicates matters and drags things out way more than was necessary. As the book opens, Alex and Tom are separated and trying to survive in a zombie-filled world where humans are almost as big a problem as the people-eaters. There's a lot of traveling, and Alex is back with Wolf, the zombie who seems to still retain some human emotion. Meanwhile, Chris meets up with Ellie, the girl originally with Alex when the Zap happened, but his story takes a major turn when his injuries turn out to be much worse than feared. Somehow, the main characters slowly, slowly make their ways back to one another in a showdown that may take the town of Rule down in pieces.
I wasn't a fan of the multiple points of view; there's a section in the book that I found myself skimming in order to get back to the main stories. By the time we finally end up in Rule, I was about ready to blow the town up myself. However, I really did enjoy the final third of the book, and the chapters moving back and forth between characters' action was riveting. I loved how it all played out, even if I do feel the story would've benefited from serious culling. It took me quite a while to remember who was who and where we were when I began the book; whoever decided that the "catch-up" pages belonged in the back of the book--after the ending!!--was a major idiot. It really slowed my reading down while I came to grips with what all was going on since it'd been more than a year since I read Shadows.
Monsters is a book I can recommend, with reservations. I think it would've been best had I read it right after Shadows, and if you feel like skimming, it's all right to do so. You won't miss any major plot points and it will get you to the action, which is really good once you arrive. And be forewarned--this is one majorly gory book! Bick doesn't shy away from details of zombie-people-eating, and you'll need a very strong stomach to read it. I also got very tired of hearing about the "monster" in Alex's head--okay, I got it, it's all tied into the theme and the zombies and her illness...too much. But I did enjoy the read and am glad I read the entire series.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Third: "Ugh...That was tedious..."
Really a strong beginning that turned into a dragged out and tedious...Read more