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Book Club No.22

I know, I know... It's March 2020 and I'm only just posting about my last two reads of 2019 - I've been busy okay? Okay. I finished my year of reading on a high and although I didn't hit my 2019 reading challenge on Goodreads, I at least read some great books and that's what it's all about!

My last two reads of 2019 were so completely opposite of each other but were both fantastic in their own rights. Whether it's extremely immersive fiction you like or contemporary non-fiction that *everyone* should read, I've got you covered:

Monsters of Men: The Third Novel of Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
I reviewed Book One and Book Two last year of this trilogy so of course, here is the third and final instalment to finish off the most epic of stories. The Chaos Walking trilogy is easily some of the best of Ness' work and the whole series has become a firm favourite for me. I'm a huge fan of Ness due to his writing style and fantastic range of worlds, characters, and stories but, this one just knocks so much out of the park.

I was so worried about starting this because A) it's a hell of a hefty read and B) it would be the end of a series I had so thoroughly enjoyed but, I was not disappointed. Just like Book 2, Ness has Book 3 pick up right where 2 left off and kept the chaotic story rolling. It doesn't have the same pace as the previous books and isn't as shocking as Book 2 but, because the pace and shock-factor slow slightly, it helps create this build up of tension towards the world-ending war that's about to begin.

This final book sees the start of a vicious war - the humans are fighting amongst themselves: the Mayor/President fighting the Answer, the humans fighting the native Spackle, and Todd and Viola are caught up in the middle of it all; unsure of who to trust. Ness manages to write the characters in even more depth in this final book. Mistress Coyle for example could be a freedom-fighter on one page then come across as a terrorist who has become consumed by the idea of power. The Mayor is almost likeable at points and you feel yourself siding with his logic then you remember how much of an awful person he has been up until now. It can leave you as the reader feeling frustrated (in a good way), wanting to shout at characters and give them a good shake and honestly? The whole ride is just as emotionally exhausting as the two previous books.

The Spackle play a much bigger part this time around and they're added into the story really well. 1017 becomes a third narrator and at first, I found his chapters hard to delve into because they changed the tempo and pace of the book but I quickly warmed up to them and realised that change was necessary to demonstrate and drive the idea home how different the Spackle race are to the humans. There's a great development in all the characters which helps illustrate maturity for Todd and Viola and of course, their relationship blossoming adds to this (and I for one didn't hate the romance blooming - it was predictable but a glimpse of something lovely in such a miserable and grey storyline).

Yet again, Ness has managed to create a story that you can't put down. You have to know what's going to happen next. It makes you cry, get angry, feel relieved, grieve... it made me feel it all. Although I think Ness hit it out of the park again with this final instalment, I still think Book 2 is my favourite of the 3. One of the reasons for this is because Book 3 reaches a point of surprise and shock but then didn't follow through (I'm about to give away a big part of the plot so spoiler warning!).

At a scene towards the end, Todd dies. The Mayor/President kills him - Viola and and Ben see it unfold and as the reader, it honestly ripped my fucking heart out. Although it could have been predictable, Ness somehow lulls you into a false sense of security that Todd has become invincible and he couldn't possibly kill off the main character. When it happened, I remember reading it in bed and turning to my boyfriend to say "what the actual fuck. Oh my God". But, I carried on reading and it turns out Todd is clinging on, he gets help. He is on the mend towards the end of the book and Viola is a big help in this recovery. It was then that it actually felt predictable and because the ride until now has been so dark, I actually felt that the loss of Todd may have made the story better; it would keep the bleakness until the very end.

The ending also arrives so abruptly, I felt like I was on a high-speed rollercoaster from just a few pages into Book One right up until the end of Book 3 and it just suddenly stops - just like when a rollercoaster halts in speed. It gave the ride authenticity but, I guess I would have just loved for the story to continue see more unfold. If you need a new trilogy to truly get lost and invested in, this is the one that will tick every box for you. You can pick up the trilogy for around £10 here

No One is too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
A collection of the wonderful Greta Thunberg's speeches on the climate crisis, the environment, and how we all need to be holding big corporations, our government, and really - each other - more accountable for making positive changes. I'm a big fan of Greta and feel that she is a fantastically spirited young woman who speaks more sense than many individuals twice her age.

I love that her speeches are gathered in a little book like this because they're accessible for all. I hope my little boy will read them when he's older and learn more about the world through them. I feel that Greta can get a lot of flack in the mass media for her fight against the climate crisis we currently face but, she never seems to let the criticism dampen her spirit or principles. She's passionate and that passion is palpable through her words; they're just as powerful printed on paper as they are to listen to her speak them.

This is obviously a great book for anyone who is eco-conscious at all or would even make a great gift for someone who isn't - it may get them thinking about the environment more and now they can positively make changes to benefit it in their everyday life. The one downside of the book is that to read, it can be repetitive at times. This is at no fault of Greta - speeches are always going to reiterate the same points (especially when nothing is changing!) but reading it is a little different to hearing it. I still very much recommend this quick read though to all ages. Plus, it's under £2.50 to buy. Bargain. You can pick it up here

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