Sunday, January 2, 2011

Monsters of Men

Patrick Ness
Monsters of Men

Walker Books, 2010

The final part of the trilogy by Patrick Ness is beginning with the war. Almost killed the president Prentiss, Todd Hewitt, already matured and discovered a huge opportunity in himself, forces to release Prentiss: the war with the Spackle is coming, and only Prentiss is capable to lead an army of people. The Spackle, a race of intelligent beings living on this planet before the people chose it for colonization, takes revenge for their genocide: the soldiers of the President slaughtered part of the Spackle population. The only survivor is The Return, as the Spackle name him. Ness, in the previous novels changing in narrative point of view between Todd and Viola, in this introduces a third narrator – the Return. So we learn how the Spackle think and what they want.

In the meantime, a reconnaissance ship arrives and the people on it, Simon and Bradley, are in favor of peace between humans and the Spackle. However, war is war, and they have to use rockets to rescue Todd upon the occurrence of the Spackle. The two camps of people, one led by the president, the other – by Mistress Coyle, understand that to join forces is the only way to win the war. Todd and Viola see the only solution in the situation of the numerical superiority of the Spackle: peace. But on the way to the peace war will make monsters of people and people of the monsters.

In the first third of the novel Ness, in the previous books perfectly plotting a story, yet manages to introduce an unexpected turn in each chapter, as if once lost his skills, making the action too slow, and the heroes are full of superficial passions, and read it all is insufferably boring. But in the second third the author seems to be illuminated that he has struck up with the preamble, and he starts on the remaining 400 pages to get out rabbit, snake, pigeon, of the hat, he gives the reader the entire set of plot gimmicks that the head is spinning. There will be unexpected return, the double final and fatal mistakes.

The previous two books were about honor, revenge, difficulties of choice, trust, this is about the transformation (we change others, but others change us, although we do not notice) and, last but not least, love and memory. Not perfectly, but, nevertheless, the author manages yet another daunting task - to show the smart alien race completely different from the people. The Spackle have the same motivations as humans, but Ness finds interesting way - gives human characteristics of the Spackle and to the Spackle human’s.

«Monsters of Men» of the entire trilogy is the most imperfect novel, but also the most daunting, most alive. Highly recommended.

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