Monday, 27 June 2011

Review: The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness

Published: September 7th 2009, Walker
Pages: 517 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, this is the second installment. Book three (Monsters of Men) is out now
Acquired: Kindly sent for review

Summary (from Goodreads): We were in the square, in the square where I'd run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her - But there weren't no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men...

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order.

But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...

"The Ask and the Answer" is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure. This is the second title in the "Chaos Walking" trilogy.

My review: Patrick Ness, you absolutely ruin me. Every. Single. Time. I actually cannot get enough of these books. I never thought The Ask and the Answer would surpass The Knife of Never Letting Go but somehow it managed it. Everything I loved about the first book in the series was magnified this time around and I just hope things continue in Monsters of Men - I'm fairly certain they will.

We see Todd and Viola mature even further in The Ask and the Answer and I love their relationship. It's built on trust and love and dependance and everything that's important in a relationship, whether it's a platonic or romantic. They are two of the best characters I've come across and they are absolutely what makes the Chaos Walking series second to none.

As with all of Ness' books, the writing is superb. He manages to make me laugh out loud, cry buckets and get physically angry, all within the space of a couple of pages. The dual viewpoints were fantastic and I loved hearing from both Viola and Todd - it added a great depth to the story.

There were numerous secondary characters from The Knife of Never Letting Go who became real stars during The Ask and the Answer - notably Davy Prentiss and Wilf. Corinne, Mistress Coyle and Angharrad also deserve a shout out for being brilliant characters. Only Patrick Ness could make me care so deeply for a horse who has a vocabulary of only ten or so words.

I don't want to give away a single detail about the plot of The Ask and the Answer as this is one you need to discover on your own, without any outside opinions. I can't wait to get started on Monsters of Men - though I'm already worried about the Chaos Walking withdrawal symptoms I already know I'll have.

First line: "Your noise reveals you, Todd Hewitt."

Read if you liked…: The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Cover: 5/5
Total: 19/20 (A)


  1. I think Viola and Todd are the best characters I've read. Beware the withdrawal symptoms lol - I couldn't do anything but think about these books for days!

  2. Davy Prentiss. That's all I have to say.

  3. I believe Patrick Ness's follow-up to "The Knife of Never Letting Go" is even more powerful than the first and am excited to see where the third and final installment of the story will go.

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