Monsters of Men

Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking #3
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

I probably could have invested a lot more into this novel and thus taken a lot more away from it if it hadn’t been so lengthy.  Moreover, the length isn’t the fundamental hurdle with the length.  It’s the tediousness and the repetitive nature of the plot.  For the vast majority of this book, we are going back and forth between the Mayor and Coyle and their band of supporters (including Todd and Viola on opposites sides of the humans).  What’s more, we also have the Spackles trying to wage war on all the humans (they aren’t picky and why should they be?  The humans certainty weren’t picky when they started slaughtering the natives.  Hmm, now I wonder what that sounds like….)  It’s one bomb/missile drop after another, followed by a counter attack from the other side, with Spackle confrontations sprinkled it.  Which I realize is probably what war is going to be like.  A series of skirmishes.  But I don’t need to sit there and read through it over and over again for six hundred pages when the results keep coming out the same.

Due to the length and repetition, I got so very tired of the Mayor and Coyle.  I got tired of the maybe trust but probably distrust between Todd and the Mayor.  I got oh so tired of the I Am the Circle and the Circle is Me and VIOLA!!!!!  being shouted in the Noise.  I’m annoyed that their really is no good esplanashun for the Noise and why the women didn’t get it but the men can’t escape it without medication.  And I got tired of 1017 and his single minded revenge against the Knife (though I do like some of the mortal questions Ness brings up around this relationship between Todd and 1017).  I also got tired of the Todd and Viola romance, which never felt honest or real to me to begin with.

Then we have the ending, which finally picks up some speed but left me with mixed feelings.  The conclusion to the mayor’s plot line was dissatisfying and didn’t make a whole lot of sense when you looked at his character, whether he was on the spiral into insanity or not.  I rather liked the end to Todd’s however, UNTIL THAT LAST CHAPTER.  It was kind of ironic but fitting, and there’s definitely some more commentary on mortality there.

I will give Ness credit.  He made me sit and ponder some of the odd and terrible traits that are inherit to human nature.  There’s definitely some good social commentary here.  Unfortunately, it’s buried under a tedious, repetitive plot.  And while I finally got used to the dialect, the short/stunted sentences that broke off mid-sentence over and over again bugged the hell out of me.  I ended up skim reading those entire sections.

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