Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
“War,” says the Mayor. “At last.”Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they’re so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge.
I haven't felt so shocked by a book in a long time. It's one of those books where you feel so lost once it's finished; you've lot a few friends, and yourself, along the way. This trilogy is emotionally exhausting, but so worthwhile. The main message here is how love will always triumph over war, and it's an important one, but Ness explores so much more of human nature. It's an incredibly rewarding read.
Ness is a strong writer. The plot here flows more calmly than it did with its two predecessors. Ness balances character development and action-packed plot movements well. Nothing seems to have been written in just to hold the reader's attention - we are captivated enough. Nothing is predictable - every single plot twist was such a shock to me that I felt almost wounded by them.
A new voice is introduced in this installment; a foreign, alien voice. Ness does a brilliant job of making him sound spiritually different, but believable. His voice brought a fresh viewpoint to the trilogy, and seeing the war through the eyes of those most oppressed really was valuable. This voice has such a hatred for the human race, that he cannot see past this, and cannot see the goodness that comes from many of the humans. I loved that his alien race don't communicate in voices, but in thoughts, each one culminating into one voice - the voice of the entire species, all connected as one.
Ness shows us that no one can be trusted during wartime. Everyone has an ugly face and the worst intentions. Alliances have to be forged in the deepest of uncertainties, and difficult, life or death decisions have to be made by our two protagonists. There is an obvious absence of pure righteousness here. Every character does something horrible. War makes monsters of us all.
I finished this trilogy with tears in my eyes. It was such a wonderful journey, and I cannot recommend it enough. The only thing I would suggest is reading all three back to back, with no new books in between. They have to be consumed as a whole, inhaled as one. Absolutely wonderful.