Customer Reviews


135 Reviews
5 star:
 (118)
4 star:
 (11)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling doesn't get any better than this
Story-telling doesn't get any better than this. I defy anyone to start "The Knife of Never Letting Go", the first book in the "Chaos Walking" trilogy, and not follow it through to the conclusion of "Monsters of Men", the third.

Ness' universe has been thought through in intricate detail, his imagining of his other world the best I have read since Tolkien forty...
Published on 27 Oct 2010 by A. W. Macfarlane

versus
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Final installment
The final book in this trilogy by Patrick Ness was a page-turner. As an English teacher, I like to try and keep up with the books my pupils are reading and this has certainly been a clear favourite this year with young adults.

I do like it, the characters are interesting, I like the fact they are flawed, it makes them much more believable and human. I like...
Published on 11 July 2011 by S J Keeler


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling doesn't get any better than this, 27 Oct 2010
By 
A. W. Macfarlane (Anglesey, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Story-telling doesn't get any better than this. I defy anyone to start "The Knife of Never Letting Go", the first book in the "Chaos Walking" trilogy, and not follow it through to the conclusion of "Monsters of Men", the third.

Ness' universe has been thought through in intricate detail, his imagining of his other world the best I have read since Tolkien forty years ago. The plot is complex, multi-layered and ever-shifting, but it is brought to a terrific conclusion. The storyline seduces and deceives all the time: just when you think it is going one way, another twist is in store. The intriguing use of different fonts for different narrators, and especially for the excellent device of the "noise", works very well indeed. (Looking for an insight into the mind of man's best friend? Manchee is the best talking dog in fiction.)

There are cliff-hangers a-plenty, but the author has a lot of plot up his sleeve. He does not let up, and he doesn't pull his punches. As well as love and courage and integrity in this trilogy, there are death and torture and betrayal. This is particularly true of Book Two ("The Ask and The Answer") where deception, betrayal and duplicity constantly wrong-foot the reader. Throughout, there are some stunningly well-written characters, particularly the unhinged Mayor Prentiss, some of whose deeds could have come from the more sadistic pages of Cormac McCarthy. "... the desire of most folks is to be told what to do," he says, in the all too reasonable tones of an off-world Stalin. "People say they want freedom, but what they really want is freedom from worry. If I take care of their problems, they don't mind being told what to do." (Pretensions towards dictatorship and looking for a psychopathic role model? The Mayor is your man.)

Descriptions of action in fiction can sometimes get bogged down in detail. Not so here. Whether describing the tense waterfall fight with Aaron in Book One or the war that follows, Ness' use of simple, single-line - sometimes single-word - paragraphs generates an excitement that will have you whipping breathlessly through the pages. This style is not an affectation - it is used very effectively indeed. Despite the simple language and the cliff-hangers that make it difficult to put these books aside, Ness is able to engage the reader in profound moral dilemmas. Are my enemy's enemies truly my friends and, if so, what compromises should we accept to form an alliance? To what extent should the many be saved at the expense of the few? Even...might the Mayor be right?

There is no point in just buying the first one of this trilogy. Buy the complete set right at the beginning. You'll want them, and you won't want to wait for the post.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relentless, unflinching: just like life, 2 May 2010
By 
Amazon Customer (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking) (Hardcover)
I only finished this a few minutes ago. It's 4am. Not many books keep me up this late; each book in this stunning trilogy has managed it.

The secret is the naturalistic narration. Breathless, sincere. Real. Ness knows these kids, it's almost as if he can hear their thoughts on command and he's just a channel for their voices, for the story.

There's war. There are LOTS of explosions. There's probably more death than the second book had. Definitely, in fact. There are epic confrontations and earth shaking battles aplenty. But that's not what this book - this series - is about. This is about empathy, and it has been from the start. Noise lets you know how other people feel. What damage can that do a person if they know exactly how their cruelty felt? What chance at redemption can that bring? It's a heady theme, and fortunately, it suits the tale Ness wants to tell perfectly.

So, I want to keep this short because I'm tired and still sort of recovering from the pace of the book. Would I recommend it to you? You probably read the first two if you're looking at this. In that case, hell yes. If you're here because you saw that a new book was being released and haven't read the first two, check those out and come back when Todd and Viola have slipped into your head.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspiring trilogy!, 16 May 2010
By 
Els De Clercq "EDC" (Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking) (Hardcover)
"War," says the Mayor. "At last."

This is how the final part of Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking trilogy starts. Towards the end of Monsters of Men, I can only feel awe, hope, and respect. Awe for the talent with which Patrick Ness has managed to conclude this trilogy. Hope, that he will continue to write books of this stature, and respect for the way in which he lets his main characters make decisions.

If in The Knife we mainly got to see things and read things through "the voice" of Todd, Ness had already added a layer to that in The Ask and the Answer when we get both Todd and Viola's perspective. In Monsters of Men, however, Ness now adds a third - and again a completely `different' voice: that of The Return, one of the Spackle who is - like Todd and Viola also are - caught between cultures, one who sees and speaks with the voice of the Clearing and the voice of the Land. All these `voices' are linked in a completely unique way by Ness's writing style (and obviously also by the existence of `the Noise', be it controlled or uncontrolled Noise...), a style which is quite daring for a YA-novel.

Added to the imaginative writing style are themes which are some of the most commonly used themes of YA-fiction, such as coming-of-age, love, power, etc. Ness also uses these themes, but he does it in such a clever way that the trilogy easily surpasses the level of `mere' YA-fiction. If you are just interested in reading a good adventure book, then the trilogy, will provide that thrilling ride for you. If you are interested in reading a coming-of-age story, then Todd's story will appeal to you. If you are interested in romance, then you will like how Todd's tale is intertwined with Viola's. If you like things a little bit more fantastic and sci-fi, then the trilogy will also be to your liking. However, it should be clear that you can't just pin down the trilogy to one particular genre.

Like any good piece of literature it crosses boundaries, building up layer upon layer, even treading on the path of social commentary and philosophy. It confronts you with the way in which our society is set up, forcing you to compare it with the way in which `the Land' is organized, with the way the Mayor wants to rule society; how Todd and Viola see things; and how conflicted they both are about having to make decisions that have an impact on not just themselves but an entire society.

These books can and should be read by anyone who's interested in utterly awe-inspiring and thought-provoking literature. The Chaos Walking trilogy was a joy to read... Thank you, Patrick Ness!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The End Is Nigh, 23 April 2010
By 
R. J. Logan "Robbie" (Crediton, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking) (Hardcover)
It is here... and the end is in sight...I am slowing down and the sense of doom and grief are growing and yet these exhilirating books are a joy to read...a joy to meet Todd and Viola and Manchee and Angharrad and, of course, the Spackle/Land. Full of moral dilemmas, the thin line between good and evil, love and loss, heartbreak and suffering...this the last is perhaps the most human of them all! In classic Science Fiction mode it delivers powerful ideas and insights into the human condition at the same time as creating a believable and complex alien environment.
Read these books, your life will be enriched!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You need the short story as well, 1 July 2013
By 
Pippin - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the new edition of last book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. If you want to know if you should get this series of books, then the answer is yes, and get all three at once - there are 87 reviews on the page for the previous edition of Monsters of Men alone that will tell you why! If you are deciding between this edition or the old one, then get this edition because there is no way you will not want to read the extra short story, Snowscape, when you've finished. It's my teenage daughter's favourite series of books ever, and she bought the new editions just for that reason (despite owning the others). She didn't regret it - though still hopes Patrick Ness will write more. But as an adult I think this is one of the most perfect short stories I've ever read - though it only makes sense if you've read all the trilogy, because you need the whole context of New World. It's about redemption, it had me in tears, it's awesome. The short stories with the first two books are also really good, enough to make me go back and start reading the series again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These books made my 14 year old interested in reading again!, 27 April 2011
By 
Bunty (Kent England) - See all my reviews
Thank you Patrick Ness for this great trilogy of books. My 14 year old son had gone cold on reading and nothing I tried to coax him with was working until I stumbled on these books on Amazon. By reading the other reviews I thought it worth a try and wow he really has enjoyed them and it is lovely to see him reading again. Many thanks Patrick Ness and many thanks to all the other amazon readers for their encouraging reviews, without which I probably would never have bought the books!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Conclusive book to the stunning trilogy, 5 Jan 2011
This is the final book of the stunning Chaos Walking Trilogy. I cannot recommend these books highly enough. They are superb. I bought this book some time after reading the first two and went back to re-read them before reading the final installment. I don't normally re-read books, but these books are so electrifying that I was happy to be reacquainted with Todd and Viola and their dramatic experiences.
Although marketed at teens I am a mother in my 40s and the ideas in this books spoke as much to me as I think they would to anyone. The pace is phenomenal; each chapter and each book (apart from the final book) ending in a cliff-hanger. You don't have to be a fan of science fiction even though these books are set in the future, because the setting is familiar enough to understand and the issues poignant.
These books are some of the best I have ever read, I would urge anyone to read them all.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 16 Oct 2010
This review is from: Monsters of Men (Paperback)
And the last book didn't let us down. Continued excellent plotting, the addition of 1017's voice added a fresh perspective on events and I continued to care more and more about the characters. Loved having the obvious ending ripped away from me. Deeply thought provoking, especially the way people became players in a game they didn't want to join. Patrick Ness, you are a GENIUS!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying conclusion to a great trilogy, 26 Aug 2010
This review is from: Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking) (Hardcover)
This novel continues directly on from The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking), and is a fitting finale to Patrick Ness' mind-blowing Chaos Walking trilogy. As Todd and Viola strive to bring peace to the land, the nefarious Mayor has other ideas, and with the opressed Spackle finally turning on their persecutors it seems that bloody war is inevitable.
Fast-paced, gripping, uniquely written and intelligent, the novel subtly presents themes that echo aspects running through our own society and packs a powerful emotional and social punch. Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A near perfect conclusion to a near perfect trilogy, 28 April 2010
By 
Sam J. Ruddock (Norwich, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking) (Hardcover)
"War," says Mayor Prentiss, his eyes glinting. "At last."

So begins Monsters of Men, the final volume in Patrick Ness's multi-award-winning Chaos Walking trilogy. Lines have been drawn, armies are marching; divisive and polarising leaders have got what they wanted. And Todd and Viola are caught in the middle of it, faced with ominous odds and unenviable choices. The first of these is to split up, with Todd staying behind to keep an eye on the Mayor and fight the invading Spackle army while Viola goes in search of the scout ship that has just landed. Once again, their trust in each other will be tested to its absolute limit.

Given that its title stems from the warning delivered by various characters throughout the series - "war makes monsters of men" - it is no surprise that war is the predominant theme and, for better or worse, shapes everything that takes place. Yet Monsters of Men is as complex and multifarious as war itself, an investigation into the many ways and many ends for which people are drawn into it. It is an enthralling culmination to the finest series I've read in many years. Chaos Walking combines first rate characterisation with heart-stoppingly exciting plots and engaging, direct, and often lyrical prose. I run out of superlatives when describing just how good it is.

Best of all it challenges the reader. You cannot sit back and watch passively as events unfold. At every turn you are placed in the characters' shoes, confronted with the question: what would you do? What would you do if your greatest enemy were the only person who could save you from a marauding army bent on revenge? What would you do if your "one in particular" were about to die and the only way you could save them were to fire a missile that would kill hundreds, if not thousands, of enemy soldiers and destroy all hopes of a desperately wished for peace. Faced with the choice between vengeance and forgiveness what would you do? What space is there for idealism when your very survival is driven by a need for realpolitik?

Every choice is played through to its conclusion, laying clear the full ramifications of that choice, the characters forced to live with and adapt to the world they have shaped. Reading is a dynamic experience; different fonts for the different narrators bring the text alive, Noise sometimes squeezing, sometimes ramming its way onto the page. Characters feel alive because their choices are your own and because they are each three- dimensional, capable of a whole gamut of actions and reactions, none of which are black or white. Ness seems to instinctively appreciate that it is in contradiction and hypocrisy that life is lived and experienced. Uncomfortable truths demonstrating just how difficult some choices are:

"Come!" he says to me. "See what it's like to be on the winning side."
And he rides off after the new soldiers.
I ride after him, gun up, but not shooting, just watching and feeling-
Feeling the thrill of it
Cuz that's it-
That's the nasty, nasty secret of war-
When yer winning-
When yer winning, it's ruddy thrilling-

Or how about this, a realisation that love might be the most destructive possibility of all:

"I'd have done the same, Viola," Todd says, one more time.
And I know he's saying nothing but the truth.
But as he hugs me again before I leave, I can't help but think it over and over.
If this is what Todd and I would do for each other, does that make us right?
Or does it make us dangerous?

Monsters of Men combines gripping storylines with real moral quandaries. In Todd and Viola it has heroes you root for with every ounce of your being. They are far from perfect and it is their self-abasement, their doubt, which makes them so likable. And the point that Todd and many other characters come back to time and again is that it's not how you fall, but how you get back up again that counts.

Contrarily it is the absolute certainty of Mayor Prentiss and Mistress Coyle that makes them so hideous. Their bloodthirsty eagerness for war only adds to this, as does their calm and rational defence of its transformative nature, the Nietzschean survival of the fittest test by which you walk into the fire and either emerge bigger and stronger, or fall away. War doesn't make monsters of men, Mayor Prentiss and Mistress Coyle chillingly echo each other early on. "It's war that makes us men in the first place."

Yet whereas The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and The Answer had, at their heart, a message that power is the ultimate end, Monsters of Men begins to reveal the inherent flaws in that argument. Madness is often defined as continuing to do the same thing time and time again yet expecting different results, and the longer the book goes on, the more those who seek to divide and rule appear ridiculous. Stuck using the same tactics as before, without recognising the new opportunities that exist. Underlying their military struggle is another battle - this one an ideological struggle between competing visions of how peace is won (discussion versus force, individuality versus collectivism) - and they are losing it.

What would life be like if you could hear everybody's thoughts, and everybody could hear yours? What would be the effect on individuality, free thought, privacy? These are the questions Ness posed in The Knife of Never Letting Go. In The Ask and The Answer the question evolved into competing ideas of how to run such a society. In Monsters of Men, the circle is completed and the benefits of Noise presented. What if communication were organic rather than active, a natural inter-connectedness that provided community to all and bred trust and unity rather than secrets and lies? How much more intimate might relationships be if miscommunication were no longer possible?

"I think it could be the way forward for all of us,"...If we can all learn to speak this way, then there won't be any more division... That's the secret of this planet, Todd. Communication, real and open, so we can finally understand each other.

Warmth, love, and hope abound. As the book goes on these choices begin to congeal around a coherent moral stance, a single call to arms: be the change you want in the world. No matter how hard that might be.

"I'm sorry, Bradley," I say. "I couldn't have done any other thing."
He looks up sharply. "Yes, you could have." He pulls himself to his feet and says it again, more firmly. "Yes, you could have. Choices may be unbelievably hard but they're never impossible."
"What if it'd been Simone down there instead of Todd?" I say.
And Simone is all over his Noise, his deep feelings for her, feelings I don't think are returned. "You're right," He says. "I don't know. I hope I'd make the right choice, but Viola it is a choice. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that's not how a person with integrity acts."

With a host of new characters - including an angry third narrator bent on revenge - who provide fresh impetus and perspective, Monsters of Men is a fitting conclusion full of all the qualities and insight that made its predecessors so rewarding. As you'd expect from a final volume, loose ends are tied up, though not at the expense of the narrative flow, and plenty remains unanswered. Most notably of all, Ness integrates the vast and powerful themes into the plot so seamlessly that they appear effortless. This is a rare and remarkable achievement. Monsters of Men is a near perfect conclusion to a near perfect trilogy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking)
Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking) by Patrick Ness (Hardcover - 3 May 2010)
14.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews