Tracey's Reviews > The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
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Jan 09, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, libraryread-idm, needs-review, owned-etext
Read from December 12 to 21, 2011

[writing this after having finished the series - trying VERY hard not to spoil either book]

After the nearly non-stop action in The Knife of Never Letting Go - which ended on a HUGE cliffhanger; the first few chapters of this novel seem a bit of a letdown. Todd and Viola have been separated; in fact, neither knows for sure whether the other is even alive. Todd is under the control of Mayor Prentiss; and Viola recovers from her wounds under the care of a healer - Mistress Coyle. However, the drama slowly builds as we continue to explore the past, present and future of New World.

This installment of the Chaos Walking series is a bridge book, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Character development and world building is what this novel is about. Not only do we spend more time with Mayor and Davy Prentiss and are introduced to Mistress Coyle (who I kept seeing as Kate Mulgrew, due to the narrator's vocal choice, I think), but Viola also comes very much into her own, and may indeed be the stronger protagonist in this part of the larger story. We learn more about the past of New World, as well as how its future may develop, depending on who emerges victorious.

Unlike some other reviewers, I enjoyed having the story told alternately between Todd and Viola. Nick Podehl returns to play Todd and Angela Daw takes on Viola's role - both are *excellent* narrators, providing unique voices for each character. Their performances kept me riveted throughout; again, I'm glad I chose the audiobook version for my first exposure to this series.

Be warned, this novel ends on a cliffhanger as well - have the next book handy! A few (IMHO) shocking developments plant the seeds for some very important elements of Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3). I admire Ness for not going with the Black and White morality usually seen in YA novels - the "bad guys" do good things and vice versa. We see redemption, and betrayal; love and loss. I was wary of the introduction of a love triangle (:: rolleyes::) but I kept in mind the intended audience & found it more palatable than that of the Hunger Games with Katniss/Peeta/Gayle.

Recommended for fans of YA speculative fiction action-adventure; I'll be seeking out my own copy of this series for future visits to New World.
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