My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have literally just finished reading Monsters of Men and I am short of breath. That’s the kind of book this is – it takes your breath away. Of the three in the trilogy, this is by far my favourite. Todd and Viola are a romantically linked couple of EPIC proportions and this novel is a testament to the transformative power of love in someone’s life.
In this installment of the Chaos Walking series, The Ask and The Answer are at war with each other, but also with The Spackle (or as they call themselves, The Land). The allegorical connection with displaced indigenous populations is at its most evident in this novel, particularly with the arrival of a scout ship from Viola’s people being thrown into the mix. Bradley and Simone, from Viola’s home world, show the best and the worst of humans and it is often through the lens of their actions that we see how extreme the other protagonists have become.
Ben told Todd long ago that “war makes monsters of men” and this novel leaves us in no doubt that men and women are both capable of turning into monsters in war.
Hearing the voice of The Land reminded me very much of things I have read by, and about, Native Americans and also Australia’s indigenous population’s link to the land. This is definitely a novel rich in content and philosophical points to ponder. The nature of revenge, the healing power of love, the pain of taking the life of another – all are explored here.
I cannot possibly say much more without spoilers , except to say that this series will be something I will carry with me the rest of my life. Sounds like a big call, I know, but I have rarely been as affected by a story as I have been by Chaos Walking and I urge you to read it and never let it go.
Thank you Patrick Ness, for this powerful journey.