Monday, January 4, 2010

Some Final 2009 Book Reviews: The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness


A Book Review, you ask?? Well, duh. This IS a book blog!! Yeah, I know. It's been awhile. It's the beginning of a new year, and where are all my wrap-up posts? I'll probably be finishing all my wrap-up posts soon. I finished 2009 without reviewing at least 5 books. I've always said, I will review (or at least discuss) all the books I've read, so I still need to do that. And while some will have to wait, I could hardly finish up any 2009 wrap-ups without reviewing one of the books that will undoubtedly make my Top 5 Reads!! So, I give you The Ask and The Answer - Chaos Walking Book 2 by Patrick Ness (528 pgs, Candlewick, 2009). Read for the YAC 2009, the YA Dystopian Challenge, and basically because after reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, there was NO WAY I could NOT read this book!!

"Your noise reveals you Todd Hewitt." A voice -- In the darkness. I blink open my eyes. Everything is shadows and blur and it feels like the world's spinning and my blood is too hot and my brain is clogged and I can't think and it's dark -- I blink again. Wait. No, WAIT -- Just now, just NOW we were in the square -- Just now SHE was in my arms.

As with Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, it will difficult to review this book without giving anything away. First, I don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't read The Knife of Never Letting Go. Because really....you NEED to read that book. And secondly, I don't wait to spoil anything from THIS book. So, basically this is going to be a non-review of a book that I LOVED.

What can I say then about The Ask and The Answer? The book begins almost immediately from the point that The Knife of Never Letting Go ended. Todd awakens to find that they have indeed made it to Haven, although it seems that the Army has made it there before him and Viola. Haven, now called New Prentisstown, is under the control of Mayor Prentiss. And Todd has no idea where Viola is or what happened to her.

In this book enemies become friends and friends become enemies. Although the pace of this book is not quite as neck-breaking as the first, it is equally gut-wrenching. Todd is forced to do things he would never have done before. And he loses himself because of it. The once-innocent Todd learns the ways of the "New" world. And shatters himself in the process. Things are not always black and white now. And the shades of gray can be very dangerous. But one thing we know about Todd....he's strong. And good. And nothing can possibly change that. Or can it??

I don't know if it's possible, but I would have to say this book is better than the first. I wasn't quite as dizzy reading it. But my heart-strings were pulled and manipulated just as much. I have a new character I love: "boycolt, boycolt". (that is just for you Nymeth and Maree!) Once again, we are sucked completely into the lives of Todd and Viola. We see a glimpse into the psyche that is Mayor Prentiss and we see lots of darkness. We see what it is like for his son, Davy, growing up with such a man as a father. And we find a new enemy out there. So many questions as well. Is the Answer enemy or friend?? And what will happen when the settlers reach the New World?

I, for one, am having a hard time waiting for all the answers to come. Book 3, Monster of Men will not be available in the US until May. I'm already chomping at the bit to get it! (pun, definitely intended!) As far as I'm concerned, this is a Must Read Series for anyone that wants to be completely and totally drawn into a dystopian world. It almost physically HURTS to read it, the intensity is so high. But again, isn't that the sign of a fantastic book?? Most definitely given a 5 Star review!!

9 comments:

Becky said...

I love, love, loved this book.

Nymeth said...

It DOES hurt, but oh, it's so brilliant. And I've just heard it won the Costa award! :D

Susan said...

I have got to read this series!!! *sigh* Wonderful review, although I didn't read all of it since I don't want to know more about the plot than I already do from other blogs! Must read this soon....thanks, and Happy New Year, Stephanie!

Debi said...

Okay, so I totally can't read this post, because I don't want to pick up any little thing. But I still had to stop and wish the best 2010 you can imagine!!! The very best.

samantha.1020 said...

I sure to need to pick up The Knife of Letting Go. I must read these books as they sound SOOOO good. Glad to hear your thoughts on this one!

Michelle said...

Welcome back! ;-) I think you single-handedly have increased my TBR pile by at least twenty or thirty books. And I've read most of them much sooner than I have others on that list. I will be adding yet another one to the list now (and yes, The Knife of Never Letting Go is already on there). ;-)

Eva said...

I feel like such a freak in the blogosphere...I read The Knife of Never Letting Go and have no interest in reading the other two. But I love seeing how excited everyone else gets! :)

Lawral the Librarian said...

I, too, LOVED this book. I can't believe we have to wait until May for the next one!

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