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The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Narrated by Nick Podehl, Angela Dawe and MacLeod Andrews

Published by Candlewick Press

Audiobook by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

Pages: 603

Ages: Young Adult

Publishers Summary: As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.
In the riveting conclusion to the acclaimed dystopian series, a boy and girl caught in the chaos of war face devastating choices that will decide the fate of a world.

In a world where every thought reverberates into the connected yet disconnected minds of thousands a single word can mean devastation during a time of war and turmoil. Thus is the way of life for Todd and Viola. Growing up in a matter of weeks they’ve quickly learned the nearly instant repercussions of a thought misconstrued, even between the two of them. With violence swirling around them and the hope of peace at a minimum it takes every bit of concentration to keep this new Spackle War from turning into the destruction of everything they know and love. Most of all each other.

First of all, how in the world do I review this book? It’s one of those situations where I end up sounding like a raving fangirl screaming outside the theater waiting for a rockstar to appear. In my case the door would open and Patrick Ness, Nick Podehl, Angela Dawe and MacLeod Andrews would all walk out waving there arms in the air and half the crowd would faint. Yes, it’s simply that good. And if you’ve read the print version and thought it was good, wait until you listen to the audiobooks. Wow! Unbelievable. I don’t care if you don’t normally like audiobooks, you simply must try this series! Okay, I think I’m done with my fangirl moment…now onto my thoughts on the book.

From the beginning of the Chaos Walking Trilogy the issue of “Noise” (the thoughts of all the men that everyone can hear) has been a central theme. With it being a constant stream of information, for good or bad, leading to both positive and negative outcomes. In the Monsters of Men the Noise takes on a new dimension with the added narration of the Spackle, specifically “1017.” In the case of the Spackle it’s very different and much more positive. With years of practice the Spackle have learned to use Noise or information, if you will, to the betterment of their society. In the case of war the Spackle prove to be a formidable opponent because of their collective unity through their shared Noise, which is quite the opposite of the people of the “Land” (the humans). It leads me to wonder, in our own society, would we use the technology & information we’ve accumulated for the better of the people or for the eventual annihilation of others with no regards to its cost? I’d wager to say the verdict is still out on that topic.

I’m so absolutely in love with the characters in this book. Each is so incredibly rich and full of life that it’s hard to believe they don’t exist in some other place that you could physically visit. My favorite would, without a doubt, be Todd. When I finished the series I couldn’t help but reflect back on the person he was when he started out in the series. In The Knife of Never Letting Go he was so young, so completely innocent and extremely sheltered. Over the course of the books and especially in Monsters of Men his visual innocence is stripped away in moments with death and destruction happening only feet in front of him. At times it was difficult to feel him going through all of it. His life, even after all of the war and lies he’s been told, is still pure in every way that counts. He’s so trusting and loving, human. It’s no wonder why Viola, and all those around him for that matter, love him so much. I’d only hope that despite the information overload of our society today that children will grow up with the same passion and love for those things that are worthwhile in life.

To be completely honest I could go on about this series for days, and I have no doubt that I will with friends and family. The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness is set of books I believe everyone should read, at the very least, and I’d hope everyone would listen to. It’s themes of information, hope & love and war & violence are, unfortunately, issues that face nearly every child living today on varying levels. Ness has created a believable world through a cast of characters that are so vivid it’s hard to believe they don’t exist in reality as well. Without any doubt in my mind Monsters of Men is the perfect ending to a superb trilogy that begs to be devoured by anyone who enjoys brilliant literature.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 15 and up. A perfect ending to a brilliant trilogy.
Be aware some violence is present and as such may be cause for concern if listening with small children present.

If you happened to miss it, make sure you take a look at my interview with non-other than Nick Podehl, one of the narrators for The Chaos Walking Trilogy, and recent recipient of two Odyssey Honor Awards!

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Find Monsters of Men at the following spots:
Powell’s Books
Barnes & Noble

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9 Responses to Audio Book Review: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

  1. Alita says:

    You’ve convinced me that I need to try the audio for this series. Todd’s growth from book one to the end of book three is amazing – yes he grows up incredibly fast, but it rings true to what he has witnessed and experienced.


    Oh how I love these books.

  2. Bluestocking says:

    Ooh! This sounds really good.

  3. Yep, this was one of the best series ever and I continually rave about it to anyone who will listen. I only wish I could read more about Todd and Viola, but I am happy to hear that Ness has a new book coming out A Monster Calls in September.

  4. Katie says:

    Monsters of Men (and the entire trilogy for that matter) is PURE GENIUS!!! I am so intrigued by how an audio version would handle the Noise. I already have your interview with Nick Podehl open in a new tab, hoping that it will answer my questions!! So happy you loved this series just as much as I did 🙂

  5. Gina says:

    LOL…love it when you turn all “fangirl”. ^_^ Still not convinced on the whole audiobook experience, but I say…to each their own, so long as you take the time to enjoy a good book. sounds like this series continues to impress….high praises from a seasoned reader such as yourself. thanks for sharing…and happy reading!

  6. […] The Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness – The end. Wow! From everything being finished to how it’s left. I still want more! […]

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  8. […] many of you know, one of my favorite authors happens to be Patrick Ness. His YA Chaos Walking series connected me with an all-time favorite audiobook narrator, Nick Podehl. And last year I […]

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