Review: The Ask And The Answer – Patrick Ness

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Title: The Ask And The Answer (Chaos Walking #2)

Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi

Format: Paperback

Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis: Goodreads

Buy Book: The Book People (you can buy the trilogy for only £6.99 on this site!!)

Review: *THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD!!*

I’m honestly in love with this series! ‘The Ask And The Answer’ definitely did not disappoint as a sequel. This book deals with so many huge issues such as feminism, genocide, terrorism and war ethics. Like the first book, we’re following the story of both Todd and Viola only this time it’s told from both points of view rather than  just Todd’s which I actually liked as it gave us a chance to get to know Viola and how she thinks a bit better. This book was more action-packed, violent and so much darker than the first one and there was so much tension between certain characters which I loved because it made me want to read on to find out how the relationship between characters would work out. There were a lot of surprises in this book too which made me extremely confused as to how I felt about people and events that took place.

I can’t get enough of the characters in this series although I do have huge trust issues with a few of them in this book. One of the reasons I love the characters is because they’re all so interesting and diverse which helps make this book such a good read. Some of the characters are pretty scary, especially Mayor Prentiss and Mr Hammar. Mayor Prentiss is a man who manipulates people into doing what he wants using his unique power that not many people have. Ness does a fantastic job of making you feel confused about this character and what his motive is throughout the book. Mr Hammar on the other hand is a man who prefers to use physical abuse to torture victims and when I think back to the first book there was evidence even then of how evil this character is. Although Mr Hammar is a minor character, Ness’ characterisation of him makes him stick in your head after the book is done.

Davy Prentiss, was a character I absolutely despised in ‘The Knife Of Never Letting Go‘ but you really got to know more about him and his character in this novel which is one of the things that left me really confused because I wasn’t sure if you could trust him or not. I really wanted to hate him because of his actions in the first book but we soon find out that like Todd, he’s been deceived by his father his whole life. It just shows that both him and Todd are much more similar than we were first led to believe and it slowly made me start to like his character (as much as I didn’t want to).

Although there’s not much I can fault about this book, there’s two things I’m still slightly confused about. Spackle being the first. I’m genuinely so confused as to who the Spackle are. It’s explained that they’re some sort of alien but I still don’t quite get what’s actually going on with them. Have the humans moved to a new planet (I’m guessing since it’s called New World) or have the aliens came to earth? Why is there such a problem between the species? Can they not just come to an agreement and live in harmony? With the way this book ended and from the 88 pages I’ve read of ‘Monster’s Of Men’ I’m hoping all my questions are going to be answered. Age is the other thing I’m confused about. In ‘The Knife Of Never Letting Go’ we’re told that Todd is 12 (a month away from turning 13) then when Viola appears we find out he should really be around 14 but after reading this book, both the characters seem so much older! It could be because of everything they’ve been/going through in the past and because war’s on the horizon they have a lot of grown up decisions to make but I don’t know. Maybe it’ll be another thing explained in book three!

Ness is a writer who does a brilliant job of making you feel as though you’re right there in the book, in the middle of the action with the characters watching everything going on as you read which is what I absolutely love in a book. Everything is so vivid in my head and I can see it all happening so clearly as though I’m watching a movie rather than reading a book which makes it better! He’s one of the few writers I’ve known who has the power to do this for me and he’s gradually becoming one of my favourite authors.

Like the first book, I found it to be quite slow at the beginning and so I’ve taken .5 stars off the rating but apart from that this book was incredible! If you’re looking for something that’s full of action, violence, deceit and hope then I highly recommend this book and series to you. I’ve been an emotional wreck whilst reading both books and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be the same reading book three but it’s so worth it because the plot and the characters are just phenomenal.

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