Regina's Reviews > The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
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Nov 29, 11

bookshelves: ya, space-travel-new-world, science-fiction, audio-also-listened-to, listened-to-audio-only, have-in-audio, favorites, favorite-authors
Recommended for: Fans of dystopia
Read from November 22 to 29, 2011

** spoiler alert ** What I loved about this book:

The amazing world that is created.
It is completely unique. Space travelers, nonhuman beings, new world order. Good intriguing stuff.

The pacing and intenseness of this book. I listened to the audio version and the manner in which the story is delivered left me breathless. I never wanted the book to end.

The strong affection and love the characters have for each other.

Their tie is almost tangible. Todd and Viola never lose sight that the survival and happiness of the other person is their goal.

The questioning of people in authority. Showing their intentions behind their action. I love this.

The questioning of whether desiring a certain right outcome justifies doing wrong things to make the right thing come about. If a righteous rebel group wants to overthrow a fascist dictator, is it okay to use brutal force on the civilians to do so? Is it okay to sacrifice innocents? Where is the line of morality if an innocent was never intended to die, but does?

The drawing of characters and situations that show how easy it is for people to be co-opted and encouraged to do hurtful evil things to other living creatures in order to save themselves or others they love. Or perhaps the motive of the co-opted is just to get a long. But isn’t this still wrong?

Beautifully writing the slippery slope of morality and submission. Tiny steps taken in following orders and swallowing discomfort lead to grander choices down the road.

The heroine. Viola is an amazing heroine. She is brave, self-sacrificing and she never loses sight of what is right. Ness wrote Viola in such a way that she is truly inspiring, I loved having her point of view in this book.

I loved the mysteries and the slow reveals. I loved not knowing who I could believe or should believe.

The violence served a purpose; it was not all just for entertainment. Instead, Ness was leading the readers down a path of questioning people’s choices and questioning those in power.


Problems with this book:

The morality represented in the book. I do not accept that feeling bad or guilty about one’s bad acts redeems the actor.

A future (moral and good) leader would never submit to immoral acts as easily as Todd did.

People who love each other are not so easily misled about each other.

The ending is frustrating. Very frustrating.

Todd still keeps making the same stupid choices.

Poor Davey. In a way Davey was this book’s Manchee. I feel bad for how, as I assume, that Davey was emotionally neglected and abused by his father. He still did some really bad stuff. Asking for forgiveness and feeling bad, again I don't think it makes it all okay.

Viola and Todd’s belief that love conquers all. It doesn’t. And I guess, the ending of this book demonstrates that. Love is great and solves a lot of problems, but it doesn’t conquer all.

(view spoiler)

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Reading Progress

11/27/2011
35.0% "Oh Todd. You disappoint me." 2 comments
11/28/2011
50.0% "Todd needs to speak up and do something." 6 comments
11/28/2011
60.0% "Lee is breaking my heart. :("
11/28/2011
62.0% "Viola: "We ARE the choices we make.""
11/28/2011
64.0% "It was clearly the soldiers and Mayor! Had to be!"
11/28/2011
73.0% "Todd is irredeemable now. I will never forgive him."
11/29/2011
91.0% "I am not sure if I agree with Ness, that even if you do something bad as long as you feel bad about it, you are redeemable. Maybe I am an unforgiving person, I just disagree." 5 comments

Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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Stacia (the 2010 club) I still need to read book 2 in this series at some point.


Regina I am liking it more than the first. Also, Viola has a POV, which is refreshing to be in her head v. being in Todd's the entire time.


message 3: by Shell (new) - added it

Shell Schroth I will be reading them all very close together, I can tell this is gonna be one of those series I can't stop till there is no more... I had to order the other 2 though, so I will have to wait at min, a week for the second...


Regina Shell you will NEED to go on to 2 when you are done. 2 is so interesting and I have no idea who to believe about anything!


message 5: by Shell (new) - added it

Shell Schroth Eeeek... I can't wait. Hope it doesn't take to long to get to me.


message 6: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH They get better and better. The third book is awesome!


Regina For your sake shell I hope so too!

AH it does get better and better. (view spoiler)

Ness is brilliant. This world is so unique. And the characters are so real.


message 8: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH I loved the third book because the author adds another POV that really builds upon the story. That's all I can say without spilling it.


message 9: by Shell (new) - added it

Shell Schroth You guys are KILLING ME... It is taking all of my self control to NOT click the spoiler link... Ugh. Lol


Regina The POV added in 2 is excellent. Shell don't click but I made it vague anyway. What part are you at?


message 11: by Shell (last edited Nov 27, 2011 04:42PM) (new) - added it

Shell Schroth (view spoiler)


message 12: by Shell (new) - added it

Shell Schroth I have no idea how to 'spoiler' something...


message 13: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH <.spoiler> type stuff <./spoiler>
Just take out the dots.


Regina Then you know my spoiler. :(

The button on the right some HTML is okay gives the codes to do it.


message 15: by Shell (new) - added it

Shell Schroth Yay, I did it.

And ya, it killed me... Im still sad.


Regina I am too. Brave move by Ness, but heartbreaking.


message 17: by Shell (new) - added it

Shell Schroth he wrote it in such a way, that I saw the whole thing play out, heard his 'Todd?' and I cried, it hurt to read, but it was amazingly done.


Regina Oh me too. And the narration was so perfect, the voice I imagine my dog to have. (view spoiler)


message 19: by Shell (new) - added it

Shell Schroth exactly... man.. it destroyed me.


message 20: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH I buddy read that first book with someone and she couldn't read on after (view spoiler).


Regina I understand. I kept expecting him to show up.


message 22: by Vivian (new) - added it

Vivian Y'all have me excited to read the next one now! Having another POV sounds good. I'm wondering about the third POV for the last book too.


message 23: by AH (new) - rated it 4 stars

AH All I'm saying is that you'll like that POV in the last book.


message 24: by Mrs. (new)

Mrs. Badass Regina you have mail here...check it LOL


Regina Oh thanks -- why don't I ever get my GR inbox notifications? I know my settings are to get them!


message 26: by Jo (last edited Nov 29, 2011 03:26PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jo Great review, Regina.
I agree with your low points (although I casually ignored them :) ) because the high points completely eclipsed them for me haha.

(view spoiler)

Viola is definitely one of my favourite heroines of all time.


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