**Warning! If you haven’t read The Knife of Never Letting Go which is the first book in The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, there will be spoilers ahead. You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness is the second book in the Chaos Walking trilogy and it is a doozy. The story picks up right where it left off in The Knife of Never Letting Go with Todd and Viola arriving in Haven. The characters undergo some serious development in this installment and Patrick Ness blurs the lines between villains and heroes. Seriously, this book will make you question everything and there will be so many feelings. It’s taken me a while to even get into the mental headspace to write this review because of all of the mind games Ness has played with everyone in this book so I hope I can articulate everything as best as possible!
One of the aspects I enjoyed the most by far in this book is the dual narratives between Todd and Viola. In The Knife of Never Letting Go, Viola is a supporting character and we do not get to experience her inner thoughts and motivations firsthand. All of this changed in the second book and the result added so much more to the story. When Todd and Viola arrive in Haven, the Mayor is already in control and he has named himself President. He separates the males from the females so our two main characters have unique experiences on their own which provides a major contribution to the shaping of their characters. It also leaves the characters with nothing but their faith in each other while they’r ebeing manipulated by major players in the civil war they’ve found themselves involved in. Throughout the entire story I found myself really missing Manchee. Angharrad was pretty okay but that horse did not fill the void.
I am still amazed at how many issues Patrick Ness was able to cover in what for me was such a quick read. The Ask and the Answer touches upon war, terrorism, genocide, racism and feminism. The most intriguing topic which is what hooks the reader is the ongoing war because it leaves you with so many conflicting feelings and so many questions. Whenever there is a war it involves at least two sides who each believe that what they’re fighting for and the casualties they sustain during their pursuit is in the name of what’s right. But how can characters determine what’s right when both sides have done wrong? In this case, we have Todd working for the Mayor turned self-declared President and Viola aligning herself with the resistance, all the while attempting to maintain their loyalty to each other. There are so many life altering events that occur in this second installment that I’m eager to pick up the last book.
Final Thoughts: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness is a very emotionally heavy read. While the story is fast paced and the characters are compelling, the mind games that come along with war can be tiring, but I assure you it’s worth it. This second installment is high intensity and it tackles many important issues. Each of the main characters shine as they relay their experience on the opposing sides of the war. Lines will be blurred and feelings will be felt!
We were in the square, in the square where I’d run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her – But there weren’t no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men…
Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor’s new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode…
“The Ask and the Answer” is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure. This is the second title in the “Chaos Walking” trilogy. (via Goodreads)
This weeks Top 5 Wednesday topic is the Top 5 Authors I Discovered This Year. So they’re not necessarily new authors, but they’re new to me! I had so much fun going through my list and seeing which authors I just started reading this year. What are your favorite new to you authors?
After meeting Patrick Ness at BEA and discovering what an awesome human he is, I felt like the time was upon me to finally read one of his books. I started with The Knife of Never Letting Go which is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy and now that I’ve finished it, I feel like I get ~the hype~. The beginning had a definite slow start for me but once I got to the end I was definitely interested in continuing on to the second book. I think because it’s the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, really lays down the groundwork for the excitement of the next two installments. This dystopian begins in a place called Prentisstown where there are no women and everyone is able to hear the thoughts of everyone else which they refer to as Noise. The protagonist Todd and his dog Manchee are forced to flee Prentisstown when they discover a secret the Mayor has been hiding.
One of the aspects I loved most about The Knife of Never Letting Go is the unique narration style Ness employs. The novel is told from Todd’s point of view and it has a very ‘stream of consciousness’ feel to it. There’s Prentisstown slang and a visually unique printing style to emphasize certain lines. I’ve always been drawn to stories that play with language and this book really hooked me. I also loved that you were able to hear Manchee’s thoughts. While I’ve never had a pet myself, it’s obvious how attached to them people grow and it’s interesting to see their relationship represented without any type of communication barrier.
The less I reveal about the plot of the book, the better for the potential reader’s sake so I’m keeping my lips sealed and letting you go in as blind as possible. That being said, you’re immediately thrown into this world that Ness created without any transitory period so get ready for some mysterious occurrences in a place where a year is measured in 13 months. The only character I really couldn’t stand is Aaron but again, I’ll let you find out why for yourself should you chose to read the book.
Final Thoughts: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness lays a strong foundation for the rest of the trilogy. Our main character Todd narrates and because everyone’s thoughts or Noise can be heard by everyone in Prentisstown there is a lot of stream of consciousness. I dare you not to fall in love with Todd’s dog Manchee who’s thoughts can also be heard. While the beginning has a slow start, there are enough mysteries in this dystopian world to keep you reading until the excitement ensues.
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought? (via Goodreads)
One of the biggest benefits of getting into a series after it’s already been published in its entirety is binge reading! I love not having to wait for the next book to be published when I’m really invested in a series. I decided to make a video of my top 5 series that I have made it a goal to read (probably binge read) in 2015! What series are you hoping to start (and possibly finish) this year?
Last week I returned to Book Expo America (BEA) at the Javits Center for my second time attending the show since 2012. For the most part, I knew what to expect from the event and I spent a ton of time beforehand making a list of all of the signings and giveaways that I knew I wanted to grab which was really helpful. The most important thing about BEA is being organized and prioritizing what you cannot miss. It’s the one convention where wandering around aimlessly will not work to your benefit. On the first day of BEA, Kristina and I spent some time getting the lay of the land. One the second day, we were much better about getting in specific lines and finding out what time ARCs were being dropped and by the third day we were PROS. We were first or almost first in line for every single book we wanted that day (and we got them all!). At BEA, all of the books you’re waiting in lines for are free so the waiting isn’t so bad. From the last time I attended I had learned to be picky about the books I accept especially since I then become the one who’s responsible for carrying them for the rest of the day. There were only about 3 books I ended up with this time that I hadn’t already planned on taking but I ended up leaving them because I couldn’t justify why I had accepted them. Sometimes you just feel bad when someone is really trying to hand you their book and it’s easier to say okay and put it down somewhere else later. All of the authors that I met, chatted with, and took photos with were at BEA (I’m much less interested in waiting in line for celebrity “authors” than I am in people like Patrick Ness and R.L. Stine). We also had a beautiful sit down dinner with Quirk Books, and a really fun Epic Reads party to attend after BEA whereas I hadn’t heard of many events going on after BookCon.
Since I was unable to attend last year due to various weddings and such, I missed the initial madness that is BookCon. I have been hearing horror stories about it ever since and while they certainly made me cautious about what I was getting myself into, I was not going to miss the opportunity to see it with my own eyes. For those who don’t know, BEA is an industry only event which is full of publishers, authors, press and literary agents while BookCon is open to the public. While you can still win some free ARCs at BookCon, those in attendance are purchasing the majority of the books they take home. Before BookCon started, half of the convention floor was dismantled and a temporary wall in the Javits Center sectioned off a small portion of what we had been walking around for the past three days. It seemed strange to me to have a bigger event in a smaller amount of space. I think BookCon could have utilized the other portion of the floor if they had added in vendors that the public would be likely to benefit from. For instance, I think there is a HUGE missed opportunity for an Artist Alley (similar to comic conventions) to highlight artists who create bookish artwork, fan art and prints. It would also be AWESOME to see Etsy vendors selling bookmarks and book inspired jewelry. Plus, COSPLAY. I think an event where readers cosplay as their favorite characters would be the coolest. I could definitely see myself dressing as Celaena Sardothien, Luna Lovegood, or several other characters if that were to become a thing at BookCon. The one thing I did love was the platform at the Epic Reads booth where we were able to stand behind a cutout and take photos as if we were on the cover of Kiera Cass’s new spinoff book in the Selection series, The Heir. I didn’t spend much of my time at BookCon because I felt as though I had gotten my fill during BEA. I’m almost tempted to try to start my own book convention using my suggestions!
I have a bad habit of continuing to buy books… LOTS of books when I haven’t read a lot of the ones already sitting on my bookshelf. I’ve made resolution after resolution to stop doing this but when I walk into a bookstore and see a shiny new book sitting there all lonely, I can’t help but want to pick it up and give it a good home. It just seems like the right thing to do. Granted, sometimes I receive books from publishers in an exchange for an honest review so that will dictate what I read, but I still want to get better about reading what I own. Here are 5 books that I’ve already purchased that are sitting in my TBR pile.
Alienated by Melissa Landers
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven