Monsters Of Men

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Author: Patrick Ness

Finished on: 26 March 2015

Where did I get this book: My friend’s library book

This is really hard. It reminds me of when I was made to study Wuthering Heights for A Level English. Having to analyse and pull it to pieces just made me cross. It just is. Magnificent. And writing about this book feels similar. Instead I want to broadcast a public service announcement – just read it.

This is the third of Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy that begins with The Knife Of Never Letting Go. I think they are aimed at young adults. My nine year old daughter is a bookworm, and my friend lent me the first book wondering if it might be suitable for her, with the caveat that I should read it first. (And it is absolutely not suitable for my daughter! Whilst she can technically read like an adult, she is still pretty innocent for a nine year old, and there is a lot of horrible violence, threat, peril, terror… in this story. Even more so than the Harry Potter books she loves so much).

But The Knife Of Never Letting Go blew me away – a brilliant imagination-capturing premise and characters that I completely fell for. Absolutely everyone in these stories is shades of grey, there are no out and out baddies, no good and evil, there are about 15 sides to the conflict, and certainly no easy answers.

The quality is maintained through the second book The Ask And The Answer, and Monsters Of Men is a rollercoaster of constant action bringing it all to a spectacular conclusion.

Like all the best fantasy stories, this is a book about relationships between people. I am a firm believer that, at its heart, The Lord Of The Rings is a story about friendship. And this is a story about love. An incredibly moving exploration of what it means to completely know another person, including their inevitable catalogue of flaws, and just love them.

Despite there being almost no biological families in tact, there is also a lot about the love between parents and children here, no less powerful for being surrogates.

One word of warning, it is a right old tearjerker. I howled so much finishing this I could barely read. And we’re not talking delicate lady tears here, full on red puffy face, snot everywhere… Probably not one for reading in the pub. So keep a hankie with this book at all times. Maybe use one as your bookmark. But that may get the pages soggy, so just make sure it’s easily accessible, especially when nearing the end.

So, actually I’ve managed to write about it without too much of a struggle… and I could go on. But all this is just an extension of my original three word review – just read it.

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