Cover of Monsters of Men, with a horizon in flames and a mess of words scratched over the cover

About the Book

Title: Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3)
Published: 2010
Series: Chaos Walking
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

BFF Charm: A THOUSAND TIMES YES OBVS
Talky Talk: Wild West Meets the Borg
Bonus Factors: Allegory, Cardio, Loyal Pet, Big Bad
Relationship Status: Everything I Do, I Do It For You

NOT SO FAST, FYA READER. Not so fast. Have you read the first two books in this trilogy, The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask And The Answer? If so, then by all means, please proceed scrolling down this post with the knowledge that, beyond the first 30 pages of this third book, I have avoided spoilers in my review. If you have NOT read the first two books, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM? Hello, haven’t we been telling you to read them for months now? And what exactly have you been doing instead, huh? Oh, reading other books we recommended? Well, ok. But still, GET THEE TO THE LIBRARY and pick up the first two books in the Chaos Walking trilogy! And until you’ve read them both, DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW. I’m serious. DON’T READ IT! IF YOU DO, YOU’LL HATE YOURSELF AND YOUR LIFE AND I’LL JUST HAVE TO SAY “TOLD YOU SO!” SO THEN YOU’LL HATE THIS WEBSITE TOO. It’s not worth it!

The Deal:

In the final pages of The Ask And The Answer, Todd is forced to free Mayor Prentiss in order to fight a huge incoming army of Spackle, while Viola, with TWO BROKEN ANKLES, races to be the first person to greet the newly landed spaceship. Oh yeah, and the Answer is blowing shizz up, cos that’s what they do. And all of this is happening because PATRICK NESS LOVES TO EFF WITH US. Not only does he love it, the man is a genius at it, and his evil mastermind skills are on dizzying display in this conclusion to the Chaos Walking trilogy.

The shit storm that begins on the first page NEVER STOPS as the Mayor and Mistress Coyle continue their battle for a town that may soon be decimated by Spackle seeking revenge for the genocide of their brethren. Throughout the clustercuss of violence and political machinations, Todd and Viola cling to each other, even as they must work separately for their dreams of peace. But are they strong enough to overcome the darkness, not just from war, but from within themselves?

More importantly, are YOU strong enough to handle the COMPLETELY COMPELLING UNSANITY OF THIS BOOK? Because, you guys, it is not for the faint of heart. Or even the “I don’t work out, but I do take the stairs” kind of heart. If you wanna survive this book, YOU GOTTA STAY STRONG.

BFF Charm: A THOUSAND TIMES YES OBVS

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

TODD AND VIOLA!! GODDAMN I love those kids. With each book, they get more amazing, more complex, and more fist-pump-worthy. Todd, sweet, earnest Todd, truly becomes a man in this book, and watching him struggle to balance the needs of the community with his love for Viola is gut-wrenching and absolutely inspiring. And then there’s Viola, the girl who lost her parents, killed a crazy dude, got shot, got branded with an arm band, tortured and had both of her ankles broken and yet NOTHING CAN STOP HER FIERCENESS. (And since you know Patrick Ness, it’s no spoiler to tell you that things… yeah, they get worse.) In short, she basically kicks the shizz out of Katniss Everdeen. Sorry, Katniss, but if Viola had been the Mockingjay, you best believe SHE’D BE PRESIDENT BY NOW.

Talky Talk: Wild West Meets the Borg

The he said/she said of the second book continues with an exciting new addition–the voice of the Spackle, the strange, sad aliens who make me wanna hide them in my closet and feed them with Reese’s pieces, ET-style. The unique voices of Todd, Viola, and the Spackle alternate with breakneck speed, their individual anxieties, dreams and heartache ratcheting up the tension to 11. I’ll speak more to the pacing of the book in the bonus factor section, but major pants go to Ness for crafting deeply layered narratives that pull you in and never let you go.

I also have to mention how much I ADORE the Spackle term for significant other: one in particular. How sweetly wonderful is that term? I’m totally adding it to the FYA lexicon.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Just like the rest of the trilogy, the third book doesn’t really dither around with romance, because there are more important things to talk about like, hello, WAR and DYING and GENOCIDE and REDEMPTION. However, the core of the story really is the love between Viola and Todd, and while there’s nothing steamy about it, it’s incredibly powerful.

I could go off on how Patrick Ness’ choice to refrain from romance bullshizz is one of the reasons why Chaos Walking is superior to The Hunger Games, but this is a review, not a rant! So I shall refrain. But YES I SAID IT THIS TRILOGY IS BETTER THAN THE HUNGER GAMES.

Bonus Factor: Allegory

Cover of Animal Farm by George Orwell

From the very beginning of the series, it’s clear that Ness has something to say about the sins of mankind, from war and terrorism to information overload. But instead of getting wrapped up in his own agenda, he crafted an incredible story more eye-opening than any newspaper editorial or soapbox sermon. My investment in the characters forced me to understand the many gray areas between things that previously seemed black and white, and in my discomfort, I found truth.

Particular to this third book, his examination of the annihilation of Native Americans through the lens of the Spackle is incredibly heartbreaking.

Bonus Factor: Cardio

Women running in a race on a track in a stadium

LORD HAVE MERCY SOMEONE GET ME A DEFIBRILLATOR STAT. Y’all, if you’re reading this book, I can tell you right now: skip the gym. SO MUCH HEART POUNDING! SO MUCH HEART STOPPING! SO MUCH I WANT TO KILL YOU PATRICK NESS I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE DOING THIS TO ME. Seriously, I cannot recall a single book that has more nail-biting, more holy shizz moments than this one. I had to take SEVERAL time-outs just to breathe and remind myself that I was, in fact, not the one about to get shot/killed/blown up/eaten/blinded/burned/you-name-it-it’s-in-here.

Bonus Factor: Loyal Pet

Close up of a brown horse with a black mane

DAMN YOU PATRICK NESS. You took away our Manchee, then decided to reel us back in with the same device, except this time it’s in horse form. Sure, Todd’s steed, Angharrad, isn’t quite as charismatic as my favorite pooper, but every time she says “Boy colt?” my heart melts a little.

Bonus Factor: Big Bad

Photo of Darth Vader from Star Wars

The character of Mayor Prentiss is so incredibly mind-blowing, I had to go and create a whole new FYA award for him. For he is, indeed, the best villain I HAVE EVER READ in a YA series (suck it, Voldy!). In this book especially, it’s impossible to decide whether he’s good or bad, evil or redeemable, and that makes him deliciously fascinating (and scary as hell).

Relationship Status: Everything I Do, I Do It For You

To borrow the words of The Great Bard, Bryan Adams:

Oh, you can’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ foooooor! I can’t help it, there’s nothin’ I want more! I would fight for you! I’d lie for you! Walk the wire for you! Yeah, I’d die for yoooooou!

And yes, Todd and Viola, you know it’s true. Everything I do, including this review, I do it for you. Because your story amazes me beyond belief, and I will do my best as a YAngelist to insure that the entire world knows you and comes to love you, just as I have. Cos there’s no love, like your love. And no other, could give more love. HERE’S NOWHERE! UNLESS YOU’RE THERE! ALL THE TIIIIIIME! ALL THE WAAAAAYYEEAAAYY!

P.S. Note the DNRIP and TEABS tags on this post. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. Patrick Ness does NOT mess around, y’all.

FTC Full Disclosure: I checked this book out of the library, and I received neither cocktails nor compensation in exchange for this review.

Sarah splits her time between Dallas and Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.