Monday, August 20, 2012

Review of The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2)***THIS REVIEW IS OF BOOK TWO IN THE CHAOS WALKING TRILOGY AND MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR BOOK ONE.  TO READ MY REVIEW OF THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES, CLICK HERE***

Part two of the literary sci-fi thriller follows a boy and a girl who are caught in a warring town where thoughts can be heard — and secrets are never safe.

Reaching the end of their tense and desperate flight in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, aimed at overthrowing the tyrannical government. Todd, meanwhile, faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives — Todd’s gritty and volatile; Viola’s calmer but equally stubborn — the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?


(Summary from GoodReads)


Oh, Patrick Ness.  Dang.  I had not read any of your books when I met you in October of 2010, but I’ve since remedied that.  Three times now you’ve left me feeling as though my heart has been unceremoniously ripped out of my chest.  Then again, you’ve also rocked my world and left me craving more.  I may not have loved The Ask and the Answer quite as much as The Knife of Never Letting Go, but once again you had me turning pages late into the night and feeling gutted.

The Ask and the Answer picks up right where the first installment of the Chaos Walking trilogy left off, which is good, because anything less may have turned me into a screaming banshee.  Todd and Viola’s circumstances have changed dramatically, and the narration shifts a bit as well. Instead of hearing just from Todd, parts of The Ask and the Answer are told from Viola’s perspective.  While her voice didn’t engross me quite as much as Todd’s, it was still amazing.  Another thing that made this book a little bit harder?  The gaping Manchee shaped hole.  That is one literary canine I cannot think about without my heart aching.

Ness packs The Ask and the Answer with shock factor.  I gasped at the plot twists and cried about some of the atrocities I read about.  Todd and Viola also both spent a good chunk of this novel in some kind of moral dilemma, which enriched the characters themselves as well as their stories.

Another thick, whirlwind of a novel, The Ask and the Answer is an engrossing read.  Even though I had some minor issues with this one, I want more.  I want to know how this brilliant story ends.  Suffice it to say, I hope to pick up my copy of Monsters of Men sooner rather than later.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

1 comment:

  1. My heart hurts for Manchee as well. Glad to know I'm not the only person still mourning.

    Also? I agree about Todd and Viola, I like Todd's voice better.

    I've been kind of putting off Monsters And Men because I don't want the series to end. Sigh.

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