Put it this way: these books are so much better than The Hunger Games, they're in another league. Hold on to your butts. (I'm only going to post the summary to the first book to avoid spoilers, but you can find all three on Goodreads.)
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Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.First of all: the cover. Illustrations (!!!) and design that perfectly conveys the book? Good work, publishers. I approve. Now start making more like it.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
Second of all: sweet mother of god, are these books amazing. Have I conveyed that yet? Have I? Because it's really important that I do. If you like sci-fi and YA or sci-fi or YA, these books are earth-shattering. Even if you like nothing less than brave, beautiful writing that knocks your socks off, these books will change your life. Trust me on this.
The blurb is awfully light on the details, and I don't want to reveal too much more, since part of the gut-wrenching appeal of the trilogy is the constant reveal of Ness's world. (Kind of like what growing up in our world is like.) But what I will say is that this is a space colonization story and not a dystopia; that it is a story of the clash between settlers and natives like James Cameron's Avatar could have been had Avatar put more money towards its writing and less towards fantastic explosions.
In short, it's awesome, and I mean that in every possible sense of the word. (But mostly in the jaw-hanging-open-on-the-floor way.)
And then there are our characters: Todd, Viola, and as many dozens in between as you'd find in a fantasy epic, to the point where I have no idea how Ness kept them straight. They are smart. They are loyal. They are brave. Some of them are evil. All of them are flawed, and I don't mean that in the "just make 'em clumsy and forget about it because it worked for Bella" or "just shoehorn a love triangle in there somewhere because it worked for Katniss" sense. I mean it in the real, impossible dilemma sort of way like how people are flawed in real life, and sometimes they make the wrong choices and I yell out loud at the characters and then have to stare at the ceiling for awhile until my heart rate slows down and I can read again.
And I love every minute of it.
I cannot say enough good about these books. Read them. Now.
And if you'll excuse me, I have to go finish Monsters of Men (book 3) before my brain explodes.