Thursday, January 5, 2012

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

Published: 2010
Format: eBook
Genre: YA fiction
Series: Chaos Walking book 3

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 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… (

It's been such a long time since I read the first two books in this series. When I finished The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men wasn't even released - and I'm only getting to read it now. If you're familiar with this series, you know that each book pretty much starts off where the previous one left off. It's one continuous, seamless story. If you're able to read all three consecutively this is a really cool experience! If, like me, you wait over a year to continue the adventure, some of the spark is unfortunately lost in the process.

Everything about this series is marvellous: the characters are deep and genuine, the writing is unlike anything I've come across, and the plot is, to be frank, really cool. A connection is formed with each person in the story, and the book quickly absorbs you into its world. This is what made me fall in love with the first two books, but it sadly contributed to my disappointment with Monsters of Men. I almost feel guilty criticizing the book in this way, because it's partly my fault that I waited this long to read it. I lost the connection with each amazingly complex character. I lost the connection with the frightening world that Ness created. I lost the connection with the series itself, and found myself not caring about the fate of Todd and Viola.

I must admit: once I got about half way through the book my morale improved a bit, but I don't think I appreciated the book like it deserves to be appreciated. There's a lot of fighting in Monsters of Men, and I totally wasn't following. I couldn't distinguish one fight from the next, and the end goal was totally unimportant to me. Characters died, momentous events happened, yet it didn't seem to matter to me. What a contrast compared to how I felt reading the two first books!

In the end, I like the conclusion to this epic series. It wasn't too perfect, and it wasn't too depressing. Just the right balance, just the right feeling left with you. Looking back, I won't be able to forgive myself for potentially ruining Monsters of Men! I should have re-read the previous books, but there just isn't enough time in the day. So please, do not let this review scare you away from these book - the series as a whole is absolutely fabulous. Unlike anything I've ever (or will ever) read. Ness touches upon extremely relevant topics and morals while fabrication such unique characters. Despite my disappointment with Monsters of Men, the Chaos Walking trilogy will always hold a special place in my heart.

Related links:
Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Review: The Ask and the Answer

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A new year (and a slightly new layout!)

I'll start by saying happy new year to everyone! Can you believe that it's already 2012? I can't, and I'm a bit scared by how fast time seems to be passing me by. If you've been visiting my blog lately, you would have realised that 2011 was not my brightest year in terms of blogging: I think the grand total of two blog posts (both within the last three days) speak for themselves. Shame on me! Actually, shame on school for keeping me away from books and blogging. Ah well, gotta have priorities I guess!

I'm really going to make an effort to spend more time reading. I miss always having a book on the go, so that shall be fixed in the upcoming year. Also, you might have noticed that I changed the layout slightly on my blog. A new year means a fresh start, so I think it's pretty fitting!

I hope you all have a wonderful year - make it count!

P.S. I'm just over half way through Monsters of Men, so I should have a review ready to be posted soon. It's a miracle!

Friday, December 30, 2011

That one special book

Recently I've been giving some thought into books from the past that I really, really enjoyed. One that inevitably keeps coming up is Florence & Giles by John Harding. I read and reviewed this book last year (can you tell that I adored it?) and yesterday I literally went to the book store and purchased a copy for myself. I was considering buying the eBook version, but I needed to own a physical copy! Ever get that feeling?

Anyways, I'm going to be re-reading Florence & Giles in the near future. Having read the book once already, I'm extremely excited to give it a second shot and see if my adoration has stood the test of time. It's one of those books that leaves this weird feeling inside you - a feeling that has clearly lasted.

Do you have that one special book that you keep re-reading? A nostalgic book from your childhood, or maybe something more recent? I'd love to discover what book holds a special place for you, and why it has affected you that way. Don't hesitate to leave a comment!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's been a while

Wow, how long has it been since my last post? It feels like centuries, and I hate myself for ignoring you guys & my blog for such a long time. After signing in to my blogger account (for the first time in, like, a million years), I noticed some of the extremely kind comments people left while I was gone. I'd like to thank you all for sticking around - it means so much!

I started university this fall and that leaves little time for me to stay up to date with blogging, let alone reading books! However, the good news is that I purchased two new books for my eReader (oh ya, I have one of those now!) literally minutes ago: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Super excited about starting Monsters of Men, because I read the two previous books in this series and have been dying to read the last installment! I'm hoping to have the time to review them, but I don't want to make any promises I can't keep.

Moral of the story is: I haven't forgotten you guys. Yes, I know I've been saying this in every "update" post thus far, but it's true! I wish I could blog as often as I used to, however now isn't the best time. Once the school year is done it'll be a different story. Until then, happy reading!

  P.S. I don't know if it's just me, but can anyone else see the weird "-->" on the top of this page? I'm wondering if there's something going on with my Google Chrome browser which I've recently switched to. Please let me know what you see!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Just stopping by...

Hey guys! I know, I've been a terrible blogger lately. As I said before, school is keeping me very, very occupied. I miss being able to visit you all, review books, and, believe it or not, actually have time to read! It kills me to say this, but I haven't read a single page of a non-textbook in, like, a week. That barely ever happens. And it feels so weird.

Anyways, I'm checking in right now. Partly to thank you all for sticking around while I've been gone, and partly to remind you that I haven't forgotten about the blogging world! I hope to have a review ready in the near future, but that is slightly unlikely. The Blind Assassin, which I'm reading right now, is pretty immense. Normally I wouldn't consider it to be a large book, but judging by the time I'm spending with it I'll be done in a few decades. Nevertheless, we are supposed to read a couple of nice, meaty classics in English class so I can review those when the time comes. But until next time, farewell for now! I love you all for your unconditional loyalty, and I'll be checking in again soon.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Almond Picker by Simonetta Agnello Hornby

Published: 2002
Pages: 315
Genre: Adult fiction

Who was Mennulara? As the servant of the wealthy Alfallipe family, she made many impressions on people during her life. But was she simply the servant, or did she have deeper connections? Why was the mafia leader at her funeral? Why was she so wealthy? Why did she have such a high status in the family that she served?

This is an especially hard book to review for a couple of reasons. First of all, I haven't had the chance to devote a lot of time time to reading it. The book was a bit spaced out, and I feel like my enjoyment suffered because of it. Second, the nature of the book is so strange, and I'm not used to reading material like this! Let me elaborate on that.

The Almond Picker was translated from Italian in 2005 (which leads me to wonder how it would be possible to translate an entire book and not twist the author's meaning - that has always fascinated me). The story takes place during the course of the two or so weeks following the death of Mennulara. We are thrown into the past as each character remembers their experiences with this mysterious woman, some of which are horrifying and totally unexpected. The way the book is written is really cool, because Mennulara feels like the main character even though she's not alive. There's no way we can trust the memories of the various people, and that makes it all so exciting!

This book's strength clearly lies in its characters. And were they ever abundant! Like a big, fictional Italian family. The dynamics were there, the emotions were there, and the feuds were certainly there. Mimicking real life, certain people had issues that were long buried in the past and forgotten. It's only because of the present circumstances that we get to be spectators in this scandalous, mysterious, and slightly disturbing showcase of personal demons. It was a complex web of characters, but Hornby is an expert at making it make sense.

Despite a rather dry plot, The Almond Picker is a true gem. I don't know if it's because of the Italian-ness, but the book felt like a whole new level of literature. The ending is extremely open-ended, but there's no way to figure out the truths if the person involved is dead. Isn't that cool? I love unreliability in books, and was totally entranced by this one. I suggest you try it out of you aren't dependent on a fast-paced plot. Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A bit of an update

You know, I feel like I've been neglecting my blog a bit lately. I was gone for almost three days, and I haven't posted a review in a while. Believe it or not, there is a reason! Over the weekend, I didn't get the chance to read a lot because I was doing stuff all day. Terrible, I know. Hopefully I'll be done The Almond Picker today or tomorrow, and I'll be able to review it and move on to some new books. (Speaking of which, I have absolutely no unread books at home. Isn't that amazing?)

On top of that, school is starting tomorrow. I cannot contain my enthusiasm. My first semester is very heavy, and that brings along certain implications. First of all, I'll be focusing on a whole different genre of book - textbooks, yay! Because of that, I'll probably be reading less and posting less reviews. This kills me, but blogging sadly isn't my priority right now. Oh, how I wish it was!

I make it sound like I'm leaving you all forever, but I'm not. I'll still try to visit most of you every day, read whenever I can, and blog when I get the chance. My schedule will be tight, but I'm still here!