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Tag: Chaos Walking

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick Ness

I figured I would continue to slog through my by now substantial backlog of book I have read but not reviewed. And what better place to start then the last book in a series … (book 1 review, book two review)

I enjoyed finishing up this series via audio book. I thought Ness really wrestled with some interesting aspects in Monsters of Men. The story explores ideas like the tension between the quest for peace and the requirements of leadership and self-defense; and issues of trust and betrayal (and the related issue of whether people can truly change).

There was also a nice mix of action and character building and interaction; something that can be a challenge in a series like this.  You could see where things were headed at times but Ness also pulled off some nice unexpected twists.  I thought Mayor/President Prentiss was a particularly engaging and fascinating character right up until the end.

 [WARNING: spoilers below]

I have to say, however, that I was disappointed with the ending. I really think it would have been a powerful conclusion if the story ends on the beach with the Return pondering his actions and the repercussions. The way the book actually ends diluted the power of those events somehow in some sort of attempt to add a happy ending of the possibility of one I guess. Didn’t work for me.

All in all, however, it was a really creative and engaging series with imaginative world building and some powerful characters.  Whether in audio, Kindle or old-fashioned book version,  I recommend the series.

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness

After having listened to The Knife of Never Letting Go in the car, I reserved the The Ask and the Answer in the audio format as well. But while I was waiting for that to come in, I decided to just read it on my Kindle (I had picked up all three ebooks sometime ago but never read them).

I think I enjoyed the second book more than the first. Perhaps it was because I was not as distracted by the unique dialects while reading as I was when listening. But I think it had more to do with the larger canvas and wider angle of this story.

The first book was all about Todd and the slow revelation of what life was like on New World. It quickly becomes a cycle of run and capture, seeming victory followed by seeming defeat, right up until the end of the book. This pattern got old for me.

In the second book there is more action as Todd and Viola end up caught up in the clash of the “Ask and the Answer.”  We learn more about Mayor Prentiss, and his son Davy, and start to understand the opposing forces known as the Answer. The varied angles and the additional characters make the story seem fuller and less repetitive.

I am not a big fan of dystopian fiction, and I still found some of the writing over the top and disjointed, but I enjoyed the suspense and ambiguity more in this volume; even as Mayor/President Prentiss seems to turn even darker and more maniacal.

Looking forward to the conclusion in book three (whether ebook or audiobook).

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness [Audio]

Some time ago I downloaded the entire Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness on my Kindle. It was one of many, many discounted or free ebooks I have grabbed for my Kindle never seemingly able to resist a cheap or free book.

But, like the vast majority of said acquired books, I never got around to reading the series. But then I happened to stumble on the audio version of The Knife of Never Letting Go at the local library and picked it up for the daily commute. And thus my exploration of the series began.

Interestingly, this was one of those books where I think the audio version might have hindered my enjoyment (often it seems the opposite). I found the accent and language style of the main character quite annoying. I am not sure why, but it just grated on me. I don’t think it was the fault of the narrator and I think if I had been reading it I might have gotten past it.

That experiential note aside, there was a great deal of creativity and world building in this first book that helps explain the popularity of the series.  There is tension and action from the start. And there is the contrast between the seemingly universal human elements with the otherworldly aspects; vulnerability and emotion with violence and desperation.

I did, however, find the repetitive/cyclical nature of the story frustrating at times. Run, capture, escape, run, confrontation, escape, run, confrontation, etc. etc.

And of course, the whole story ends with a giant cliffhanger.

But I was intrigued enough to push on through and keep with the series. The hook for the series, is just creative enough to keep me going and the characters, particularly Todd, are interesting enough that I want to know more.

My reaction to the next two books, alas, will have to wait until another post …

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