Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.

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"War makes monsters of men, you once said to me Todd. Well, so does too much knowledge. Too much knowledge of your fellow man, too much knowledge of his weakness, his pathetic greed and vanity, and how laughably easy it is to control him."

Monsters of Men

Carnegie winner: 2011
Author: Patrick Ness

Having been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal with each installment of The Chaos Walking trilogy, it was the epic finale which was to win the award in 2011.  Combining startlingly original prose and making high demands of its readers, the novel sears its place into the minds of reader and is massively rewarding and memorable.  Uncompromising and gritty, it sees three groups come together to do battle in the New World, a planet that has been inhabited by settlers but that still has its indigenous race, the Spackles.  The book is impressively ambitious in its scope and themes.

There is something on offer for all readers with its explorations of ethics in time of extremes, its politicised character motivations, its deft descriptions of the ravages and ultimate ramifications of battle and war and even a burgeoning sense of closeness of relationship and romance.

The New World is one where the internal is made external, raising profound comments around the nature of communication and expression.  One of the horrifyingly powerful ideas in the trilogy and culminating in this final book is the notion of our each and every thought being made available and communicable to others.  In itself, this embodies why stories and reading are so important - the opportuntiies they give for us to pause, to reflect, to assemble and order our emotions and responses so as to arrive at reactions that are considered and considerate. 

Science Fiction has sometimes been trivialised as having little or no real world application, but with strong world building and an urgent, daring quality to the narration, that is pushed to the limits.  If anything, in a time when politics has been influence and affected by personal agendas, its real world applications feels more apt than ever.

Perfect for readers who like to be actively involved in the narrative measuring characters and decisions against their own sense of right and wrong and enjoying the twists and turns of a swiftly changing and often unexpected plot.


adventure / battles / survival /


Why we chose this book ...

"The Hemel Hempstead School shadowers are big fans of Patrick Ness and the older readers who shadowed in 2011 are keen to introduce our newer members to Monsters of Men. "