The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Well. I said I would be reviewing this entire series, didn’t I?
We pick up Todd and Viola’s story in the town of Haven, which is now named New Prentisstown, over the ‘evil’ Mayor Prentiss. The pair are separated – Viola is sent to an all female run clinic headed by Mistress Coyle, and Todd to a prison cell.
What did I love about this book? Well, basically, this is the best example of a middle book in a trilogy, without forcing a series to seem like a duology plus one extra. The plot thickens, we learn new secrets, and Todd and Viola grow ever closer. I didn’t read this series in order, when I initially read it, for the first time, and this book can be read standalone, but to get many of the plot points I would suggest reading the first book before this one.
Todd and Viola are a brilliant example of a budding YA romance. I have not met a Chaos Walking fan who doesn’t ship them as a couple. Although in this book, nothing massively overtly romantic occurs, they learn more about each other, and in doing so, become what is characteristic of many YA romances in more recent offerings to the genre.
I love Maddie as a newly introduced character, having so few female characters in The Knife of Never Letting Go and now a plethora is such a brilliant jump. Between Mistress Coyle and Maddie, I am satisfied. It’s such a subversively feminist series – if Patrick Ness intended it to be so, I don’t know.
I could write an entire essay on this book and never get old. The concept of the Spackle is… Heart-wrenching, but so human. You can see how Ness gets his concepts, from our behaviour itself.
Before I launch into a fully fledged analysis, I will tell you all that I gave this book a 5 star rating, and I simply adored it. It is better than the first novel, if you held a gun to my head, but reluctantly.