Saturday, June 26, 2010

Supernatural Saturday: Review of The Ask and the Answer

"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.
[from Goodreads]
Rating:   4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Light sci-fi and fantasy fans
High point:  Viola, the mistresses, Todd, the Mayor...
Low point:  The ex-mayor
Reader maturity:  13+

I wasn't very impressed with The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first in this series, but Patrick Ness remedied everything that lost my interest in the first one and added in a very literal BANG. I don't believe I've ever gone from feeling so "meh" about a first novel to waiting in agony to get my hands on the third. Bravo!

In the first novel, there were a lot of teasers that I found frustrating and the exposition was slow. The pacing of The Ask and the Answer is similar, in that Todd and Viola really don't move that far from where they started, but the growth they show and the mistakes they make are extremely interesting reading, holding my attention the whole time. Another digression from the first book is that this part of the saga is told from the alternating points of view of Todd and Viola. While I enjoyed Todd as the narrator, something about the inclusion of Viola strengthened their relationship and the whole fabric of the tale. She was occasionally hard to sympathize with in the first book, but seeing her side of the story, her internal conflicts and motivations, gave the novel new depth.

The Ask and the Answer has lies and deceit, diversions and cover-ups, love and heartbreak, questions and answers. I was captivated, soaring through page after page, and looking up at the last minute to find my lunch break already over. If you enjoyed The Knife of Never Letting Go, you have to pick up The Ask and the Answer. If you didn't enjoy the first in the Chaos Walking series, The Ask and the Answer is worth a second chance.

Title:  The Ask and the Answer
Author:  Patrick Ness
Genre:   Teen Fiction - Science Fiction
Year:   2009
Book Source:  Won from Presenting Lenore


  1. I LOVE this series :) i can't wiat for book 3 either!

  2. Thanks for participating in The Saturday Network!

    I actually still have to read The Knife of Never Letting Ago, but the series sounds intense! Thanks for the awesome review. :D

  3. I really enjoyed both books and I eagerly await Monsters of Men.

  4. YES! I'm so glad for this. I wasn't sure I was going to read the second book (because I just reviewed The Knife of Never Letting Go) but now after reading your review and finding out that it alternates POVs, then I'm definitely going to be reading it. Thank you so much! :D

  5. It's funny that you blogged about this today, because I just picked up The Ask and the Answer from the library ! I really liked the first book and I'm glad that this is a good sequel. Great review!

  6. Hey I'm stopping by from the Saturday Network!

    The Ask and The Answer is pretty high up on my TBR because I actually really loved KoNLG except for one part which completely ripped my heart out.

    I am waiting for this to come out in pb in August, cuz I like my books to match.

    It's so awesome how much you enjoyed this, everyone I talk to seems to have liked this one more!

  7. The first book was a huge disappoint to me. What book doesn't have potential in the beginning? That's why I carried on. It was just too slow, no questions were answered such as why certain characters continued being alive when they should've been dead...the ending was a huge anticlimax as well. I had high hopes for it, oh well.