Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Review: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

The Chaos Walking Trilogy introduces us to Todd, the only boy in a society of violent men who broadcast their every hideous thought for all to hear. When Todd finds a girl, Viola, in the swamp one day, his caretakers tell him he’s in danger, and he must flee.

If you haven’t read book 1, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, you probably shouldn’t proceed past this point of the review – because part of the excitement of KNIFE is discovering the secrets about his society as Todd does. It’s an amazing set-up and journey that ends on an incredibly painful cliffhanger. (Read my full review of KNIFE).

Ok, if you’re still with me, I am trusting that you’ve read KNIFE, because this is not a series where you can skip book 1 (because you a - you will be very, very confused, and b - you will miss out on just how much Todd's character matures, an amazing process to follow)…

THE ASK AND THE ANSWER blew me away. Whereas KNIFE followed Todd and Viola on the run to Haven, a town that should offer them protection and safety from the mayor of Prentisstown and his army, ASK shows them and us that there is no safe haven, makes them choose sides, and sets up a monster of a war to come to fruition in book 3.

Because Todd and Viola are no longer on the run, the pace is less furious this time around and we are able to get to know Todd and Viola more deeply on an emotional and psychological level. In KNIFE, they were pushed to their physical limits. In ASK they are pushed to their emotional and moral limits by two very ruthless leaders, each giving their arguments as to why they are the lesser of two evils – why they should be the ones to greet the new settlers on Viola’s ships. But after all Todd and Viola are put through, they wonder if there might be a third choice…

ASK is a long novel, and there is so much going on, so many themes to sink your teeth into: the dangers of information overload, control of information as a means to gain power, the power of love and forgiveness and much more. We do get a pseudo resolution after heartrending showdown, but the now-not-unexpected cliffhanger rears its vile head and we have to wait… for book 3, MONSTERS OF MEN (planned for May 3rd in the UK and September in the US…guess which version I am going to buy?).

Find out more about the series at the author’s website. Or come back later today when I have an interview with Patrick Ness and a giveaway!

My Rating: 5 Zombie Chickens - The Ultimate Dystopian Experience


See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

27 comments:

Elie said...

These sound really good. I have never read a dystopian, but I am going to this year. Love the covers in this trilogy. Thanks for sharing.

Lenore said...

By the way, the first two are the US covers and the third is the UK cover!

Hazra said...

A friend has this book, but there is a long list of people waiting to read it :( Hope they finish it fast!

Lisa S. said...

I just finished The Knife of Never Letting Go last night, so I was excited to see this pop up in my RSS feed this morning! I'll be picking up The Ask and the Answer at the library this evening.

Becky said...

I just love this series. It is so original. I love Todd! I cannot wait for Monsters of Men. For once the UK gets a release before the US. Ha! I'm triumphant. TATA leaves you on the most dramatic cliffhanger. Great review.

PJ Hoover said...

I've been so back and forth on whether to read this, Lenore, but it keeps sticking in my mind.
(I skipped your review).
I think I'm destined to at least give book one a go.

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Oh, the cliff-hanger endings! I hate and love them at the same time. Dying for that third book!

Lenore said...

Hazra - I hope so too.

Lisa - Enjoy!

Becky - I share your excitment :)

PJ - You totally should! Come back for my giveaway later today!

Melissa - I mostly hate them, but I at least I dealt with this one better since I expected it.

Patti said...

These books are sooooooooo good! I am dying for the third one. Dying!!!

Lenore said...

Patti - Dying here too!

Staci said...

My son read the first one and now that you've given them 5 zombie chickens I must read it!

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

I loved the first two books. Favourite books of last year in fact (beating some very stiff opposition!) and while I can't wait for book 3. I'm more worried about how it's all going to end in this series than I ever was for even Harry Potter!!!

Lenore said...

Staci - How did your son like it?

Darren - Worried too. Like Nymeth says, the horse better not die :)

Alyce said...

I didn't know that the UK version was coming out earlier - very cool! Is that something that those in the US can get from the book depository (haven't used it but have heard of it)? Or is there an easier/cheaper way I haven't heard of?

bermudaonion said...

I want to get hold of this series - I have a feeling Carl will love it.

Ladytink_534 said...

I tend to like books about dystopians and this sounds interesting. I'm glad you like it so much! Wonder how I've never heard of this before though?

Nymeth said...

I'm so glad you loved it as much as I did! I can't wait to see your interview with Ness.

She said...

This is a great series, isn't it? I loved the how the Spackle were introduced more fully and what a cliffhanger at the end! Great interview, by the way :D

Jenny said...

Aaaaa, I need it to be May immediately! I want Monsters of Men so, so much, I keep going back to the first two and reading snippets of them to hold me over.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

I feel like I'm one of the few who haven't read this one yet! But I definitely want to. Right now I'm trying to decide whether I buy the US version and wait for book 3 in September, or buy the UK so I can read it as quick as I can if I like it!

Beth F said...

I may have to jump the gun and buy from the Book Depository so I don't have to wait!

Zibilee said...

I am really interested in this series and think that the story behind them sounds very intriguing. I am so glad that you loved both of these books and I am hoping to read them soon as well. Awesome review!

Zibilee said...

I am really interested in this series and think that the story behind them sounds very intriguing. I am so glad that you loved both of these books and I am hoping to read them soon as well. Awesome review!

Zibilee said...

I am really interested in this series and think that the story behind them sounds very intriguing. I am so glad that you loved both of these books and I am hoping to read them soon as well. Awesome review!

Zibilee said...

I am really interested in this series and think that the story behind them sounds very intriguing. I am so glad that you loved both of these books and I am hoping to read them soon as well. Awesome review!

Zibilee said...

I am really interested in this series and think that the story behind them sounds very intriguing. I am so glad that you loved both of these books and I am hoping to read them soon as well. Awesome review!

Zibilee said...

I am really interested in this series and think that the story behind them sounds very intriguing. I am so glad that you loved both of these books and I am hoping to read them soon as well. Awesome review!