Bick, Ilsa J. Monsters. Egmont, 2013.
As Monsters begins, Alex is frantically trying to climb out of a mineshaft that is flooding due to an explosion in the mine. Peter is still stuck in one of Finn’s cages and is having hallucinations and acting like one of the Changed. Chris is unconscious, lying underneath a spiked tiger cage. Rule’s Spared are considered “Golden Children”—untouchable and entitled.
But Rule is running out of food, ammunition, and medicine. The Awakened have grown tired of the Spared—Aiden, Greg, Lucian, Sam, Tori, and others—getting extra food and special treatment. The Rule Elders are planning a mutiny against the Council and the Spared. Kincaid, who is back in town, is keeping Jess in hospice, away from everyone.
Kids hiding in Oren—Hannah, Ellie, Jayden, and Eli--have discovered Chris underneath the tiger trap. Hannah thinks he has too many injuries to save and gives him water containing a lethal poison to put him out of his misery. This upsets Ellie, who wants to help him.
Alex, who was saved from the mine by Wolf and his gang of Changed, is now buried underneath the avalanche caused by the explosion. Tom has gone out to look for her, hoping to find some indication that she is still alive. However, he ends up fighting for his life against a Changed girl who has a strange look in her eyes. While they are fighting, he notices someone watching from a distance in the trees.
Finn is still running experiments on the Changed. He is giving them mind-altering drugs so he can control them. He plans to attack and take over Rule. Others are secretly working with him because everyone has a grudge to settle. Weller and Mellie are keeping secrets from Tom and “his kids”.
Wolf finds Alex underneath the avalanche and is keeping her alive. Even though there is not much "food” to go around to his gang members, he is keeping her safe while they travel. She doesn’t know where they are going, but he has her carrying a medical pack.
All these plots weave together in an exciting climax in Monsters, the final book in the Ashes series.
Ilsa Bick has again given readers a riveting thriller of a novel! Though there are a large number of characters, readers who have followed the other two books may remember them. However, she has also put a refresher chapter at the end of the book to bring readers up to speed on characters and what was going on as Shadows ended.
The book is extremely character driven and nearly every character has a point of view in this installment. At times, I had to put the book down and walk away due to the enormous amount of characters. I needed time to absorb and mull over all the plot threads and their implications.
The novel is terrifying, gory, and dark, as are the other two volumes. It seems like the characters have to overcome obstacle after obstacle, as more and more horrifying situations are thrown at them. There is violence, and shock and awe, with twists and turns, as our three main characters—Alex, Tom, and Ellie—eventually make their way back together.
Fans of the series will not want to miss this ending! I highly recommend it for high school, public, and middle school libraries that already have Ashes and Shadows. I give it five out of five fleur de lis!