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Book Review: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Hello Readers & Friends,

I have a good book review today after the disaster that was my last read. It's rare that I read a book and give it 5 stars, then read the sequel and also give it 5 stars. But it's happened. The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness is phenomenal and I cannot WAIT to read the third book.

So you can see my review for Book 1, The Knife of Never Letting Go, here.

As before, I love the writing style. It's so unique and says so much in few words. The way Patrick Ness conveys emotion in such little words really continues to amaze me, and is so much better than wordy, fluffy descriptions.
After the first book, which saw Todd and Viola on the run, this book shows them separated, both kept apart by two fighting sides and following them as they end up getting caught up and tangled in civil war.

The character development was delicious, particularly for Davy Prentiss, who was a key antagonist of book 1. He really began to come into his own as you understood his desires and beliefs and even, by the end of the book, sympathised with him. This line, in particular, stuck with me.

“Yer the only friend I got, pigpiss... Ain't that the biggest tragedy you ever heard?”

Todd continues to be the innocent soul of the story, the light in the darkness and the good against the bad, whilst Viola is a little more grey, wanting to do what is right but unsure of what that really means. Both of the characters go through the same difficulties when being split up and coerced into getting involved in the war, but handle it in different ways. You really feel that they are two completely separate entities and personalities, which is difficult to accomplish. Whilst Violet spends a lot of her time being defiant and fighting against what she believes to be 'bad,' Todd breaks under pressure and begins to shut down emotionally, doing what is asked from him despite knowing it's wrong.

I continue to miss the presence of Manchee, but he is replaced in part by a horse, who lovingly refers to Todd as 'boy colt.'

There is a beautiful narrative and depth to this book, as the themes of colonization continue and are complemented by the additions of the hardships of war, politics and betrayal. I love the innocence of Todd and Viola's 'romance.' There's none of that gushing or making-out that you get in other YA, and is respectful of their age and the climate under which they meet. It's just love, no sex, and it's lovely.

I know this review is a bit all over the place and rambly but it's because I'm just so excited about this series and the fact it's coming out in film. After a delicious cliff-hanger I can't wait to read the third book. It's no surprise to me that Ness has won every major award for children's literature going. His writing is astounding, his plotlines gripping, his characters painfully realistic and his themes, though dark and deep, are beautifully reflected. He is a mastermind and this series is gold-dust in the YA sphere. I could not recommend it enough .

Love, C x


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