My book of the year – Monsters of Men

Patrick Ness' Monsters of MenI’m suffering from sleep deprivation today as I stayed up way too late last night finishing off Patrick Ness’ new book, Monsters of Men.  It’s the final book in the Chaos Walking trilogy which is absolutely brilliant and a real benchmark for Young Adult fiction.  If you haven’t read the books I’ll give you 3 reasons why you should:

  1. Each of the books is a rollercoaster ride – there’s ups and downs, twists and turns, stomach-lurching events, and the story races along at break-neck speed.
  2. The development of the characters is incredible.  The characters are affected by the events of the story so they change with it, some for better, others for worse.  Patrick Ness is great at showing the true nature of his characters, not just what’s on the surface.
  3. The setting, the characters, and their story will stick with you long after you have finished reading.

Monsters of Men brings the story of Todd, Viola, and other settlers of New World to a thrilling conclusion.

Patrick keeps you guessing right til the end; has the Mayor truly been redeemed by Todd? Will anybody get out of the war alive? Will Todd and Viola finally get to be together?  I found it incredibly difficult to put the book down and go to work. 

I also found myself struggling with the book though as I wanted to find out how their story ended, but I didn’t want to leave those amazing characters and New World behind.  I’ll just have to start from the beginning again with The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Patrick Ness and Monsters of Men

Patrick Ness’ new book, Monsters of Men is due out on May 12 here in New Zealand and I can’t wait!  Monsters of Men is the final book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, in which we will find out the fate of Todd and Viola and the world that they live in.  Here’s the blurb:

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…

I got my hands on a sample of the first chapter when I met Patrick Ness at the Somerset Writer’s Festival and you get thrown right into the action from the very first word.  It’s going to be a wild ride of a book!

If you’re also a huge fan of Patrick Ness, you can read my interview with him on the Pulse website.  While you’re there you can also enter the competition to WIN a signed copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go, a chapter sampler of Monsters of Men and two Chaos Walking badges. 

To make sure you’re one of the first to get your hands on Monsters of Men, reserve it now.

Get lost in The Maze Runner

the-maze-runnerThere is really only one word needed to describe James Dashner’s The Maze Runner – Wow!  Imagine that you wake up in a strange place knowing nothing but your name.  Your memory has been wiped and you have no idea what happened to you before you woke up in the pitch black of an elevator that opens to reveal a walled-off area and a bunch of boys staring at you.  The leader of the group tells you that you are in the middle of a maze, in a place called The Glade where these boys all live, carving out an existence.  Nobody knows why the maze is there or why they are all trapped inside with no way out that they have discovered in the past two years.  As well as trying to solve the maze they must survive the attacks of sinister blob-type creatures called Grievers.  The story follows Thomas and the other ‘Gladers’ who strive against the odds to escape the maze alive.

The story is heart-stopping and the plot races along.  It’s one of those books that you just don’t want to end and I was excited to discover that The Maze Runner is the first book in a trilogy.  Now I just have to wait patiently for James Dashner to write the sequel, Scorch Trials that comes out next year.  If you loved Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games you’re sure to love The Maze Runner.

I am Legend and other tales of dark futures

I am legendFor my first movie outing of 2008, I am planning to see I am legend starring Will Smith. The movie is based on the book I am Legend by Richard Matheson, written back in the 1950s. It also formed the basis for The Omega Man which starred Charlton Heston in the Will Smith role.

Movie makers seem to like nothing better like an apocalyptic future – zombies, mutants, monsters and freakazoid plagues are all grist to their mill.

The Carhullan ArmyThere are plenty more nasty futures to read or watch. The Carhullan Army won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize last month and it portrays a world where war is raging in South America and China, and Britain – entirely dependent on the US for food and energy – is run by an omnipresent dictatorship known simply as The Authority. Assets and weapons have been seized, every movement is monitored and women are compulsorily fitted with contraceptive devices.

Reproduction and fertility are often an important part of these future worlds. In Children of men by P D James, recently made into a movie starring Clive Owen, no children had been born for many years and the world is a grey tortuous place and one of great risk to a young woman who is pregnant. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (also made into a movie) also shows a future where fertility is rigidly controlled.

Pivotal stories of dark futures include: 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Many science fiction writers have made the dystopian future a central part of their vision. Dystopias lists more books on frightening futures and post apocalyptic worlds and there are many good lists of Dystopian movies online – think The Matrix, Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes  …