Sunday, October 10, 2010

Monsters of Men

This entry has spoilers. The book is good, the entire series is good, just take my word for it and read these books.

Monsters of Men was everything I hoped and more than I expected. A brutal, gut-wrenching finale to the series that didn't pull a single punch. Complications were introduced and resolved, but layered on top of one another. Every time you had some hope, something would go wrong, but before things were truly doomed, the heroes would pull through. That is what makes this series so great, that it's hopeful, even when hope's hard to come by. The ending, too. When I thought to myself about how I thought the series should end, my thought was that for it to end happily, with everything resolved, would be betraying the spirit of the story. Rather, it had to end with hope for the future, with the main conflict resolved but still a ways to go with fixing everything.

The relationship between Todd and Viola, always paramount, was well handled. Trust that was tested in The Ask and the Answer was strengthened even as new pressures were put upon it. The development with Todd's Noise and Viola's illness kept things believably tense between the two without sacrificing the devotion they have. The new viewpoint character was a total shocker, but it makes perfect sense. I knew that 1017 was going to show up, but I didn't expect his role to be so big. Not, perhaps, as interesting to read about as Todd and Viola, whom I'd already come to like, but still a new and wholly different perspective on this world and the conflicts. And, really, it was great to see more of how the Spackle lived and fit into the world. The Mayor stayed an interesting villain for the most part; he kept his chessmaster smarts pretty much the whole time. Near the end, when Ben came back, I was afraid of woobiefication, something coming up that would seem like the reader was supposed to think the Mayor wasn't so bad after all, he just needed love or whatever, but during the final confrontation when he revealed how the Noise was driving him crazy, I was able to buy that as motivation and think the ending was satisfactory. I also could respect the aftermath of that encounter, where we got another gut punch like this series is so good at serving up, but without losing that final hope for the future. Like I said earlier, that's what I love about this series, that despite all the bad stuff that happens, it keeps pushing the fact that you gotta have hope.

The pacing was kind of my only issue. A lot needed to happen, and because of the type of characters that Mistress Coyle and the Mayor are, there was a lot of one-upping and politics and whatnot that kind of seemed to drag on in between the more main events. But that didn't stop me from reading the entire thing in about three hours just now, so yeah. Uh, so perhaps I could have said more or been more coherent if I had put this entry off, but, well, I didn't exactly plan to read this book tonight, I should have been in bed a couple of hours ago, but I teased myself by reading the first prologue pages and then just had to finish it. Unlike Mockingjay, this was a worthy conclusion to the series, although I guess I do have to admit that I probably still like the first book in this series best, just because I absolutely love the dynamic between Todd and Viola, and the second and third books don't have them together as much. But yeah, that's all. Off to find fanfiction for this series. /o/

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