Monsters by Ilsa Bick – 2 stars (out of 5)

Monsters (Ashes Trilogy, #3)

*I received a copy of this book from NegGalley.*

Synopsis from Good Reads:

When her parents died, Alex thought things couldn’t get much worse-until the doctors found the monster in her head.

She headed into the wilderness as a good-bye, to leave everything behind. But then the end of the world happened, and Alex took the first step down a treacherous road of betrayal and terror and death.

Now, with no hope of rescue-on the brink of starvation in a winter that just won’t quit-she discovers a new and horrifying truth.

The Change isn’t over.
The Changed are still evolving.
And…they’ve had help.

With this final volume of The Ashes Trilogy, Ilsa J. Bick delivers a riveting, blockbuster finish, returning readers to a brutal, post-apocalyptic world where no one is safe and hope is in short supply.

A world where, from these ashes, the monsters may rise.

My Thoughts:

Oh, I really wanted to like this book. I loved the first book in the trilogy, Ashes. The second book, Shadows, I didn’t care for as much, but I eagerly anticipated this novel, hoping that it would really bring it all together. I really wanted to like this book. But, while it had its moments, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Where it did work for me was Bick’s writing. She writes great, empathetic, relatable characters. She is also a master for detail. While I personally do not usually care for so much detail, I understand that there are readers who do and they would not be disappointed with Bick’s work.

There is a section in the back of the book (and on Ilsa Bick’s website) that gives you a recap of characters and where we left off with them in Shadows. Unless you’re doing a binge-reading of the series, it’s necessary to read this because there is basically no recap within the story. I had to refer to  it several times in the beginning and I appreciated having it there.

The majority of the book was pretty action packed. But a lot of the action, especially in the beginning chapters, seemed so forced. There were detailed accounts of Alex’s fight against drowning by water or by snow. And there wasn’t a second I thought she wouldn’t make it out. You don’t kill off your main character in the first few chapters. The story didn’t really interest me at all until we got into a chapter in the fifties or sixties (that sounds like a lot, but the chapters aren’t very long. But on the other hand, this book felt about 200 pages longer than it needed to be).

Though I loved him in the first book, I haven’t really cared at all about Tom since then. The chapters from his point of view were just so uninteresting to me. I did like him a little more towards the end of the book, though. I actually liked the story a lot better once all the storylines and POVs converged.

Chris remains my favorite character. He goes through a lot in this book and he really grows up. I love him.

One of my biggest complaints in this book is that we don’t spend a lot of time with Alex. The first book was all from Alex’s POV, but the second book branched out into several POVs. Monsters continued that multiple POV style and it didn’t always work for me. I felt like most of the time we either stayed with a particular POV for too long or jumped away too quickly.

I didn’t really understand the “explanation” of what was going on with the communication system of the Changed and not-quite-but-almost-Changed. And we never really get an explanation as to why everything happens. The characters make several comments about how their life isn’t like a book and if it was a book, this or this would happen. Tom says once, “If this was a book or movie, there’d be some guy who’d explain it, give you all the answers. Tidy everything up, wrap it with a bow. We’ll never know…” It seemed like Bick was giving herself an out to not fully resolve things. But this is a book and wanted things resolved. Or at least something more than the very ambiguous ending that we got.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this book. Though the writing was good and there were a few scenes that really captivated me, it mostly just seemed like a lot of things happening for the sake of having action scenes and not really necessary to the story. Due to my compulsive need to finish a series, I’m still glad I read it and I would still recommend that anybody who has already invested in this trilogy see it through to the end and read Monsters.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Secondary Characters

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the Broke and the Bookish is about your favorite secondary characters.

1. Finnick  from the Catching Fire and Mockingjay. He starts out as just charming and funny and conceited and turns into a really complex, wonderful character.

2. Boggs from Mockingjay. He’s not in the book for long, but in the short time he was, he became one of my favorites. Mostly for this line: “Well don’t expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear.”

3. Mary Musgrove from Persuasion. She has no filter. No self-awareness. No tact. I love her.

4. Simon from The Mortal Instruments series. He’s sarcastic and wonderful.

5. “Captain” Thorne from Scarlet. He’s narcissistic, but in a totally amusing, lovable way. He provided a great counterpart to Cinder and was my favorite new character added to the series in this book.

6. Park’s dad from Eleanor and Park. Yes I am too lazy to look up his actual name right now. Though he has flaws, he’s a great husband and a great father. And he gets Eleanor and her situation.

7. Glock from the Kate Burkholder series. He’s everything a good cop should be and is always there for Kate.

8. Penryn’s mom from Angelfall. (I’m still too lazy to look up her actual name). She’s crazy, but she knows it. And she owns it.

9. Chris from Ashes. Pretty much everyone wants to use him for some purpose or another and he tries to please everybody. I think he’s really more complex than what he first appears.

10. Adrian from The Vampire Academy series. I didn’t like his character at first, but he totally grew on me. He’s charming and sarcastic and tortured and a little crazy. He’s the reason I have to read the spinoff series because he was completely shafted at the end of this series.

What are your favorite secondary characters?