Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chaos Walking, Patrick Ness

Sunrise was at 6:00, sunset will be at 8:28. It's clear, sunny, going to be in the 70's today.

I'm reading the third book in the Chaos Walking series, Monsters of Men, written by Patrick Ness, and it is so good. He is coming to Seattle on October 6 and we are taking him to middle and high schools. Email me at work ( if you are interested in hosting him! We are also having a meet 'n' greet with him on October 7, at the store, at 4 pm.

This series starts with The Knife of Never Letting Go and I have to thank Mary Jane Beaufrand for turning me on to him. I don't know if I would have picked it up without her recommendation. Since I am not the children's book buyer, I don't often get the backstory of a new kid's book or even a little something extra to hang a good reason to pick this one up over that one. So, I thank you, MJ. I'll see you later and we'll share some books.

Anyway, this series is pretty amazing. It feels like a "dystopian" society book but can a dystopian society book take place on a different planet? I guess it can.

Todd is the last boy in Prentisstown and in one month he becomes a man. Years ago, a group of people from earth settled on a new planet. After a war with the indigenous people, the Spackle, a virus was released that killed all the human women and allowed the human men's thoughts to be broadcast to the world at large, even animals can project their thoughts, no one can escape the Noise. It is the defining object in their world, a club of words, thoughts, ideas, hitting and hitting, there is no getting away, there are no secrets. Until Todd, walking by the swamp with his dog Manchee, finds a quiet spot.

Realizing that this is something he needs to keep (quiet) from the town elders, he runs away. His leaving sparks violence in the town and he is followed by people who want to make sure he doesn't tell what he knows.

I can't tell you much more because it will give too much away. It's good to come to these books without a lot of knowledge- you can learn what you learn along with Todd, and he doesn't know a lot. There are secrets withing secrets, even with all the Noise.

There are aliens, hmm- I guess the humans would be the aliens, too, bad humans, good humans, talking animals (I am really worried about one of the horses), and great adventure. It's one of those series that you can't put down and, if you haven't started it, yet, you are lucky: the last book is on its way and you will be able to sit and read straight through.

I love the way Patrick Ness writes, he won the James Tiptree Award for The Knife of Never Letting Go, and he uses different fonts for different characters in the story. It would be a good series for discussions in book groups and at school as there are many different issues brought up in the book: What happens in a single sex society; the treatment of the women; violence; empire building; treatment of the native people. All in all it is one of those really well-done, well thought-out series that adults will enjoy as well as teens.

This series of books is extremely fast-paced, great for boys and girls ages 12 and up, and is filled with humor and violence. We are starting a teen book group and it will be the first book we discuss. I have another hour before I need to go to work and I am going to spend it in the pages of Monsters of Men.

1 comment:

  1. I read the first book before I knew it was a 'young readers' book but I couldn't help myself and I read all three books. The only thing to make it better if it had the 3 books instead of only the first two. This is great if you like to read and discuss with your child. I read Jack Higgins and this reminded me of 'Flight of Eagles' about 2 brothers that ended up on different sides during WW2.

    Health Insurance Indiana