AH's Reviews > The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jan 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: chubby-chunkster, dystopian, science-fiction, young-adult, zzread-may2011
Read from May 11 to 14, 2011

Wow. That was intense.

The Ask and the Answer starts right where The Knife of Never Letting Go left off. It is a dark book, a book that takes the reader way out of their comfort zone. A lot of horrible, terrible things happen in this book, and people allow these horrible, terrible things to happen.

Set on another planet very similar to ours, The Ask and the Answer is the story of human settlers that arrive to farm on the planet. They discover that more ships full of settlers are scheduled to arrive shortly. The “prize” is to be in power when the new settlers land. Two factions – The Ask led by Mayor Prentiss, and The Answer – led by Mistress Coyle vie for power. The road to this power is strewn with religious zeal, slavery, and death.

Each chapter alternates between Todd’s and Viola’s points of view. In the first book the reader only knows what little information Todd is privy to. In this book the reader gets to see both sides, or rather what the adults want to tell our two young heroes. Misinformation and deception is everywhere. Both Todd and Viola are treated as pawns in the big picture, yet despite all the horrors they persevere.

A lot of things surprised me in this book. I was surprised that no one stood up to the Mayor. They allowed him to overtake the town. They allowed him to instill his rules and regulations, segregating the spackles first, then the women. I was horrified when the Mayor demanded that the spackles be banded with an identity band normally used for livestock. I was further horrified that he demanded that the women be banded as well. Throughout all of these edicts, NO ONE stood up to the mayor. NO ONE opposed him. They all followed orders without exception. I was thoroughly disgusted.

There was a ray of hope in the form of the Mayor’s son. Davy was an awful bully in the first book. In this book, he shines. Davy is the sole voice of reason and I loved his character.

Throughout the book, the situation seems hopeless. How much angst and pain could our heroes endure? I must admit that I really did not like Todd in this book until the very end. I’m hoping his character redeems himself in the next book.

This is a powerful series masquerading as a young adult book. It can be read on many levels, but it would probably be disturbing to the younger readers. It has some great discussion points and I am looking forward to reading the third book Monsters of Men
7 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Ask and the Answer.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

05/12/2011 page 56
11.0% ""...David will learn what real courage looks like." Davy's smirk vanishes. "He will learn what it's like to act like a real man. What it's like to act like you, Todd Hewitt." --Whoa, that was unexpected. Mayor Prentiss thinks that highly of Todd."
05/12/2011 page 82
16.0% ""Smart in your first sentence, courageous in your second. We may be friends yet." --Mayor Prentiss to Viola."
05/12/2011 page 135
26.0% "The boys are given the task of tagging all of the spackles. ::shudder:: -- shades of Nazi Germany there."
05/12/2011 page 152
29.0% ""He's the President of Lies, my girl. He will lie so well you'll believe it's the truth.""
05/13/2011 page 238
46.0% "What is that thing that the Mayor keeps doing with his mind?"
05/13/2011 page 257
50.0% ""...we can't afford to have you captured. You're the most valuable prize of all.""
05/14/2011 page 337
65.0% "Why doesn't anyone stand up to Mayor Prentiss? How can people stand for all the things he is doing? It's absolutely horrifying." 5 comments
05/14/2011 page 359
69.0% ""I've said it before," the Mayor sighs. "Every woman is part of the Answer, if only because she is a woman and therefore sympathetic to other women.""
05/14/2011 page 367
71.0% "I am surprised by Davy's character. Surely, growing up with Mayor Prentiss as a father would be detrimental to anyone's character, yet there seems to be some good in Davy."
05/14/2011 page 451
87.0% ""I was only following orders," the Mayor mocks. "The refuge of scoundrels since the dawn of time.""

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Milly I'm so glad you liked this one. I can't wait for you to read Monsters of Men! I loved, loved that book!

message 2: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH I am looking forward to the next one. I hope it's at the library today! Can't wait to see what happens...

back to top