Friday, December 16, 2011

Monsters of Men - Patrick Ness (Audio)

...and on to the final installment of The Chaos Walking Trilogy.  If you dare start the series, you will have no other choice than to finish it.  With many other trilogies, the plot often fizzles out and loses steam and focus as it progresses.  This is not the case here.  In fact, the tension brews to the exploding point, almost to the extent that you can feel the damn book (or audio) vibrating in your hand.

Synopsis:  So war it is.  The situation in the New World has escalated to the point of no return, it seems.  Mayor Prentiss has proven himself a tyrant, willing to kill anyone that gets in the way of his desire to rule the world.  He does have a soft spot for Todd, though, in his yearning for a perfect son.  As in Book Two, it is in Todd's voice that we get a glimpse into Prentiss's murderous tendencies that are masked by his smooth talk and mastery of mind control.

Mistress Coyle and her revolutionaries continue to practice acts of terrorism to make her mark and prevent Prentiss from rising to power.  Viola, as well as a couple of newcomers from her homeland, are protected under her wing.  It is in Viola's voice we understand that an opposition to a tyrannical leader is not always the better option.

A third voice is introduced in this book...that of a survivor of the Spackle genocide, #1017.  The Spackle have their own grievances, including the treatment of their people and the invasion of their home.  They will not go down without a fight.

Some tough decisions need to be made, forcing Todd and Viola to grow up overnight and become leaders.  Who is the right person to follow - Prentiss or Coyle?  Is it even possible that either of them will be an advocate for peace?  Which side can really be trusted to keep their word?  Is it better to kill thousands to save the one you love? 

My thoughts:  This journey exhausted and thrilled me.  Because each book really just dangles at each conclusion, without a definitive break, it really is just one long story with never-ceasing action, maiming, murdering, double-crossing, and manipulation.  There are times when I rolled my eyes at the hyperactivity (a little worried we'd lose our YA audience if we took a breather?), but I still loved this series. 

Of all three books, this one was the heaviest in terms of moral issues and intensity.  I loved the introduction of the third narrator, and his character development.  I also enjoyed seeing both Todd and Viola mature in their leadership roles in the community.  Did I think perhaps they were a little too mature for their 13 or 14 years?  Realistically yes, but I was willing to suspend my belief because I liked them and believed in them. 

Mayor Prentiss is a guy you just love to hate.  (I can't wait to see who is cast as this character in the movie.)  He is a complete, fully-developed narcissist that wants the world to bow at his feet. For a brief moment, I felt a tiny bit of sympathy for him when he got all man-crushy on Todd, but that didn't last long.

I wouldn't be right with myself if I didn't make a comment about my emotions at the end.  First of all, I was ENRAGED (I sent Rhapsody Jill an e-mail with all kinds of bad words) at some really emotionally manipulative chain-yanking in a scene near the end.  It cheapened things for me, and I was not happy.  I was only sated by the fact that Ness did not take the easy road in his conclusion.  No happily-ever-after with white horses and rainbows, and I was OK with that.

A word about the audio production:  Brilliant.  Our voice for Todd, Nick Podehl, was back again with a performance that held onto Todd's innocence and backwoods charm but had grown stronger and more sure of himself.  Angela Dawe was the narrator for Viola, and I loved her work as well.  She has a great cadence to her voice that was youthful but assured and natural.  I've never listened to her before, but I noticed she narrated "Still Missing" by Chevy Stevens, so I'm going to try to get my hands on that.  Rounding out our narrators is MacLeod Andrews as #1017.  His voice was a bit stiff and robotic, but was a perfect depiction of a Spackle. This was most definitely a trifecta of narration.

4 out of 5 stars  
  
Series as a whole:  4.5 out of 5 stars
        

10 comments:

Nymeth said...

I'm curious to hear what scene you're talking about! I imagine it's quite spoilery but feel free to DM me on Twitter if you want :P I'm so glad you enjoyed the series overall, though!

Beth F said...

Okay, okay. I'll try to get to this series early next year.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Maybe the next time I reread this series (have already done so twice) I'll try audio! :--)

Zibilee said...

Ok, so now I am wondering if I should get to this one in print or on audio, and I can't decide!! I am so glad that you loved this series!

Trisha said...

Like Ana, I'm interested to know what scene you are talking about... email me?

The progression or rather addition of narrators is one of the things that really stands out to me about this series. It was so interesting to start with one perspective and end with three.

bermudaonion said...

You've really made this series sound like a must read. I can accept kids acting older in crisis situations because I think man people rise to the occasion.

Jenners said...

It was exhausting to have to listen/read them all back to back. It might have actually worked better to have read them as they came out. I liked how he added a narrator in each book … and that they had three narrators for the audio.

Whew. You can relax now.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I too am curious about the scene that enraged you, I finished this one a month or so ago in book form and now am racking my brain....

question(s): Did you listen to all three on audio? I heard the audio was fantastic, I read them all and fell in love with the books... the font became part of the book to me and I cant explain it - I just felt emotional about it...

Heather @ Book Addiction said...

OK I definitely want to know what made you so angry! DM or email. ;)

Still Missing is one of the best audios I've experienced, I highly recommend it. The narrator perfectly captured the creepyness of the book.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm assuming I know what made you angry because it made me angry. I was pretty pissed off by a certain scene at the end of the book and I do think it was manipulative after the emotion toil the reader had already been through. I did like the series over all, but that was rough.