Patrick Ness

Burn by Patrick Ness

burn

As I always do with a Patrick Ness, I had pre-ordered this.  I had some worries going into it because the last couple of books haven’t been my faves. I was so hoping he wouldn’t disappoint me with this one. And he hasn’t. This is a return to form. What works best for me with this author is when he doesn’t try to do too much with his stories. This one is a dual storyline but it is way more successful in this novel than in Release. You know that the stories are going to combine and you just can’t wait for that to happen.

It is set in Washington State in the USA in the 1950s there is rampant racism and homophobia and so much judgement of people it makes you quite uncomfortable. Sarah’s dad has just hired a dragon to help with the farm work. The dragon will work to clear paddocks of rocks and trees, he is not to be spoken to and while there is a truce between dragons and humans, you shouldn’t get friendly or close to him. Sarah’s dad is very clear on this. However the dragon knows Sarah’s secret and they begin to talk. At the other end of the country a young man is heading north on a mission to kill Sarah. He has been given a mission from on high and he must fulfil his duty. On the way he will meet another young man who will change his life and also change the future. There is a whole bunch more going on in this book but to reveal too much would be way too spoiler alerty.

I loved Sarah and her dragon. I loved all of the love in the story. There is a lot of love! Love for parents, for other people, for dragons and for humanity. There is also a lot of hate, for those who are different to ourselves, for those we are suspicious of and those we don’t understand. It is the balance of these that makes this story so good.

It is an exciting book to read, there is a heap of tension and a lot of action. Patrick Ness is so good at having his little guys wield enormous power and that is exactly what happens here. Grab a copy for your school, have a read and then share it with all your students. I think they’ll love it!

Monsters of men by Patrick Ness

Monsters of men is the final volume in the Chaos Walking Trilogy.  I am usually terrible at following through and reading an entire series, but this one (and the Hunger Games too) is just too good to stop halfway.

“And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await?”

At the beginning of this one I was really shocked by the violence, if you are reading the series you will know that bad bad things are about to happen at the beginning of this final book, and rest assured they do, and indeed there is ongoing violence all the way through.  There is war, there is peace, stalemate and there is an emotional rollercoaster.  Mayor Prentiss is up to all manner of evil and Mistress Coyle is determined not to be left out and plays the power games as well as the Mayor.  Todd and Viola the main characters in the story are joined by the voice of the Spackle man that Todd allowed to live at the end of the second book.  This series explores such dark areas as genocide, terrorism, power and political machinations but also love, friendship, humanity, loyalty and family.

What did I think?  I loved it, I became totally engrossed and read the second half this morning.  I think it is the equivalent of the first book in the series, The knife of never letting go and better than the second book.  I know there are others who think it is weaker, but for me the resolutions and the relationships explored in this book are really special.  I cried and cried in the sad bits, and even caught myself weeping unexpectedly in parts that weren’t particularly sad.  The book is beautifully written, I love the way Patrick Ness writes the relationship between Viola and Todd, it is full of love and kindness and feels wonderfully real.  I’ve loved this series, and I look forward to seeing what Patrick Ness will do next.