Patrick Ness not only won this year's Carnegie Medal for Monsters of Men, he's also the first author to have had all three books in a trilogy shortlisted for the award. Monsters of Men is the final book in one of my all-time favorite YA series, Chaos Walking, which began with The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer. This year's win came with the following praise from the Carnegie judging panel chair, Ferelith Hordon, "Patrick Ness creates a complex other world, giving himself and the reader great scope to consider big questions about life, love and how we communicate, as well as the horrors of war, and the good and evil that mankind is capable of. It's also an enthralling read that is well nigh impossible to put down." I agree wholeheartedly--reading this book, as the others before it, was a richly rewarding experience, and I tore through each one with a fervor that belied their hefty page count.
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Book 1) takes off with a bang in the outpost of Prentisstown where all the women are dead, thoughts are audible(!), and Todd, the only remaining boy, escapes the gruesome fate that would accompany his approaching 13th birthday. As Todd tries to find a legendary town of possible safety he meets a girl--the first he'd ever seen--who is also alone and in danger, adding her voice to this remarkable story. Ness' endings are satisfying but left me anxious for more, as the secrets, suspense, and unexpected plot twists built from one book to the next. I'm glad I came to this story on the eve of Monsters of Men because it would have been torture to have to wait a year between books. In fact, just revisiting the novels here makes me want to read them all over again"”they really are that good. I had the chance to meet Patrick Ness last year, just as Monsters of Men was published, you can check out the video interview below (see more video here) and hear what he has to say now in his Carnegie acceptance speech [MP3].