03 May 2010

Book of the Week (59): "Monsters of Men" by Patrick Ness

It’s here: the book I have impatiently waited for since devouring The Ask and the Answer last autumn has finally arrived through my door. Once I’d finished leaping round with excitement and managed to regain an ability to focus on text I began reading and was effortlessly transported back to New Prentisstown and Todd’s dilemma. The ROAR of impending war surrounds; the spackle are on the march, The Answer are closing in and Todd has captured the mayor whose release may be the only option to ensure Viola’s safety.

Patrick Ness once again delivers a magnificent novel; the pace keeps you turning pages well beyond bedtime, you can’t help getting attached to the characters and therefore leaving yourself open to feeling the love, pain, trauma and danger they encounter, and he explores difficult social and personal dilemmas of trust, manipulation, war and personal strength. It’s complex, insightful and accessible. Quite honestly I think the guy is a genius!

I had intended to write this review immediately after finishing the book but found I needed to recover from the experience first. Few novels have me holding my breath, switching from optimism to sudden tears at the turn of a page, few books make me pause reading just to process the author's brilliance as new twists emerge, few books do I race to finish while not wanting them to end, and even fewer leave me in a stunned silence when I read those last words and close the cover. This book - in fact all three of this trilogy - had that affect on me.

Even now, a week on, I’m struggling to find the right words to do the book justice. I really can’t recommend it highly enough. Perhaps, all I need say is wow! Read it, read it now!

Recommended by Tessa Brechin

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