Talk about a weird picture: me sitting in the waiting room of the hospital while my dad was having open heart surgery, reading this huge book about wars and planetary conflict, being so transported that I actually had to lift my head occasionally to remind myself why I was actually there. Admittedly, Monsters of Men is not your typical hospital reading material.
Here is quick little teaser from Goodreads:
'War', says the Mayor. 'At last'. Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they're so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge - the electrifying finale to the award-winning "Chaos Walking" trilogy, "Monsters of Men" is a heart-stopping novel about power, survival, and the devastating realities of war.
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness is the aptly named third book in the Chaos Walking series. I devoured its predecessors, The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and Answer this past summer and eagerly awaited the publication of this book. With teaser summaries like the one above who wouldn't be eager to read the book? Then I had to wait in line behind a student who was also anxious to get her hands on the third book of the trilogy before I got a crack at it. When I finally took it home I was shocked at how hard I found it to read. I could only make myself read 25 pages or so a sitting. At that pace the 600+ page tome was going to take me nearly a month to read. I'm not sure what it was about the book that I found to be such a bug-a-boo. Perhaps it was the introduction of another narrator. In the past two books there were two narrators, Todd and Viola, now Spackle 1077, or the Return, narrates a few chapters and it is very hard to understand what he means since he speaks figuratively. As the book progressed his meaning did become clearer as did all the seemingly disparate pieces of information from the series. In fact, the ending of the book is just about as perfect as can be. Another problem with my slow reading may not have had anything to do with this book but with other books that were vying for my attention. It used to be that I would have two or three books going at a time with no issues, but lately I've found that the multi-tasking approach to reading to be distracting. At any rate, I had a good 5 hours of sit time in the hospital and few hours here and there while Dad napped so I was able to devote my attention in one direction and the reward was profound.
Patrick Ness is an absolute master. His books are so imaginative, thought-provoking, original, and creative that I want all of my students who are Fantasy and Sci-Fi fans to read them. Heck, I want all of my friends to read them. If you are interested in them I recommend that you read all three in as close of proximity as possible to each other, that might have solved the momentum problem I had with the last book. And don't get me wrong, just because I read the first half of the book slowly, I was still enjoying it.
One reviewer said after completing the whole series that he was only sorry that he didn't have these books to read anew. I couldn't agree more though I know I will be savoring them for a long time to come.