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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Sunday, 2 January 2011

"Monsters of Men" by Patrick Ness

This is the third volume in the 'Chaos Walking' trilogy (which started with The Knife of Never Letting Go)  and starts immediately after the second one (The Ask and the Answer) ends.

New World is now at war. The native Spackle who communicate telepathically such that each can link their mind with every other Spackle are attacking the armies of New Prentisstown led by the Mayor and Todd. Viola and Mistress Coyle, leader of the rebellious Answer, are holed up on a hill on which the scoutship from the waiting settlers sits.

The Mayor is teaching Todd to control his Noise. This means that Todd no longer broadcasts his thoughts telepathically to the world, a fact that Viola (his girlfriend who, as a female, does not broadcast Noise) distrusts and dislikes. It also means that Todd can hide from all the awful things he is seeing and doing in the war; it deadens his feeling. It also means that a telepathic bond is growing between Todd and the Mayor; each can start to use thought to control the other and other people. This makes Todd feel powerful. At the same time he is growing closer to the Mayor.

And the Return, the only Spackle who escaped from the slave Spackle concentration camp where Todd was a guard, talks to the Spackle boss, the Sky and vows revenge on Todd.

In the middle of all this Todd, Viola and Bradley from the scout ship are trying to negotiate peace with the Spackle while the Mayor and Mistress Coyle try to take credit for victory, manoeuvring to be the one to rule.

Loads of subplots. But I think it became too complicated and too drawn out. I knew how the story ought to end and I wanted it to end considerably sooner than it did. The actual end was a bit Harry Potterish, using thoughts instead of wands. In his bid to explore every last loose end I think Patrick Ness may have added too many layers. The first book was so tight and left so many questions unanswered. I do not see why the third book could not have been the same.

January 2011; 603 pages

This review was written by

the author of Motherdarling 

and The Kids of God

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