Chaos Walking: No ‘Monsters of Men’ Predictions

Well, here is a busted play.

I was all pumped for discussion and predictions of the first two books in the Chaos Walking trilogy before the finale is published tomorrow — but there was no hold on the release of the third book, Monsters of Men, and it has been thoroughly reviewed with most plot points that would have been subject to speculation now part of the public record. And why not? The book has been available in hardcover and paperback in the UK since 3 May of this year.

Which status quo calls for a HogwartsProfessor Book Club change of plans! Here are the changes:

(1) There won’t be a “morning after midnight book release” flood of discussion points here as there was for both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Mockingjay. That will come on 1 October, a three day delay, so serious readers have have time to buy the book at their local book store (or for it to arrive in post from Amazon), read it, and think a bit.

(2) I need to do more than just read the current books and those not yet published that I choose for the Book Club. Really, learning that Monsters has been in print since May is pretty embarrassing.

(3) That’s it for changes. The October-November schedule is still 15 October for Jane Eyre and All Hallow’s Eve for The Jane Eyre Affair.

Here are the book descriptions and blurb reviews for Monsters on the book’s US Amazon page:

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up–The first word of this conclusion to the trilogy is “war,” and war between various factions takes up much of this book. The action begins immediately and is told from two and then three viewpoints with no backstory that might bring readers new to the series up to speed. Todd and Viola attempt to persuade Mayor Prentiss and Mistress Coyle, respectively, that peace is the better path to the future, peace with one another and with the vast army of Spackles that looms above the valley. Unfortunately, the Mayor and Mistress only want peace that comes with victory for their faction. A scout ship arrives from the approaching convoy of colonists, changing the balance of power. The Mayor uses his “Noise,” the ability that male humans and all of the Spackle have to communicate mentally, to control his army and to influence Todd. Mistress Coyle and the other mistresses shelter under the protection of the scout ship and work to cure the infection of the bands that threaten the lives of many of the women, including Viola. Ness distinguishes his various narrators by the use of different fonts, further distinguishing Todd with a select few words misspelled. This is a complex and engrossing work that series fans will devour but which may be impenetrable to those who haven’t read the earlier volumes.Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI

© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The glorious finale of the Chaos Walking series… Pushes the themes to the edge–loyalty, redemption, power, innocence and love–and it’s the power of love that proves most potent. — The, The Examiner online, August 21, 2010

As in his preceding books, Ness offers incisive appraisals of violence, power, and human nature, and with the series complete, it’s clear that he has crafted one of the most important works of young adult science fiction in recent years. — Publishers Weekly, starred review, August 2, 2010

[Ness’s] rapid-fire litany of impossible choices makes for captivating thought fodder, and what has already been a potent display of the power of voice to drive, amplify, and transform a story gets a third, unexpected soloist. And in so doing he shows just how deep and complex, as well as how versatile, a symbolic and narrative device the concept of Noise can be. . . .This is science fiction at its best, and is a singular fusion of brutality and idealism that is, at last, perfectly human. — Booklist, starred review, July 1, 2010

This series isn’t just about what happens when everyone around you can hear what’s running through your mind. It’s also about deception, and how deep the roots of deception can go. It’s about devotion, and how love can be powerful enough to fight back hatred and greed. And it’s about redemption, asking the question of how far you can go before you are irredeemable. — Guys Lit Wire, blogpost, August 7, 2010

Product Description
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.

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.


  1. Are we really not going to get any predictions? I enjoyed that so much with Mockingjay and was looking forward to reading these posts when I eventually pick up this series. I guess it doesn’t really matter to me that the final book has been out for a while. I’m more interested in hearing the thought process for the predictions than whether or not they end up being right. I just assumed people knew the third book was out since the other two books for the book club have been out for a bit, too.

    What can we expect for the discussion on the next books? I just got my copy of Jane Eyre today and am probably one of a handful of people who has never read it.

  2. Forgive me, Kathy, but I cannot find it in me to go out on a limb and make a tremendous effort to get into a book series finale before it comes out without a possible “wow! I got it!” thrill when I actually read the book. No matter what I predict, no one will believe that I had this in mind before seeing the book because the book is already out.

    One example of this: I had a good sized post on the meaning of ‘Panem et Circenses’ from Juvenal as the heart of what Ms. Colins was after in naming her world ‘Panem’ — and decided to hold on it the night before ‘Mockingjay’ was released because the board already had a bunch of posts up and I didn’t want to undermine responses to anything by having a surfeit of things to read. Plenty of time to make the Juvenal point.

    And, of course, Collins has characters make the Juvenal point inside ‘Mockingjay,’ so I don’t get to make that post with my “discovery” and Juvenal based interpretation… The thrill was gone!

    Anyway, with Jane Eyre and the Jane Eyre Affair, we’ll post a bunch of discussion threads on the day of “release” without run-up speculation. And then we’ll go after the book! Trust me, you already have read ‘Jane eyre;’ it’s almost every book I’ve read in the last four years, from ‘Anne of Green Gables’ to ‘Twilight’ to ‘Deathly Hallows’ to ‘Hunger Games,’ there’s always at least one Bronte sister, usually two, and always a hint of Jane Eyre.

    I look forward to reading what you think of it and ‘The Jane Eyre Affair’ — and of ‘Monsters of Men’!

  3. There is a prequel by the author of Monsters of Men out for free on kindle. I’m excited that Kindle will soon have the whole series since I am oversees at the moment and that’s the only way to get the books.

  4. Having not yet started the Chaos Walking trilogy, I’m wondering if I should read The New World (the short story prequel) before or after I read the trilogy. Any opinions from the HogPro community?

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