The Chaos Walking Trilogy introduces us to Todd, the only boy in a society of violent men who broadcast their every hideous thought for all to hear. When Todd finds a girl, Viola, in the swamp one day, his caretakers tell him he’s in danger, and he must flee.
If you haven’t read book 1, THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, you probably shouldn’t proceed past this point of the review – because part of the excitement of KNIFE is discovering the secrets about his society as Todd does. It’s an amazing set-up and journey that ends on an incredibly painful cliffhanger. (Read my full review of KNIFE).
Ok, if you’re still with me, I am trusting that you’ve read KNIFE, because this is not a series where you can skip book 1 (because you a - you will be very, very confused, and b - you will miss out on just how much Todd's character matures, an amazing process to follow)…
THE ASK AND THE ANSWER blew me away. Whereas KNIFE followed Todd and Viola on the run to Haven, a town that should offer them protection and safety from the mayor of Prentisstown and his army, ASK shows them and us that there is no safe haven, makes them choose sides, and sets up a monster of a war to come to fruition in book 3.
Because Todd and Viola are no longer on the run, the pace is less furious this time around and we are able to get to know Todd and Viola more deeply on an emotional and psychological level. In KNIFE, they were pushed to their physical limits. In ASK they are pushed to their emotional and moral limits by two very ruthless leaders, each giving their arguments as to why they are the lesser of two evils – why they should be the ones to greet the new settlers on Viola’s ships. But after all Todd and Viola are put through, they wonder if there might be a third choice…
ASK is a long novel, and there is so much going on, so many themes to sink your teeth into: the dangers of information overload, control of information as a means to gain power, the power of love and forgiveness and much more. We do get a pseudo resolution after heartrending showdown, but the now-not-unexpected cliffhanger rears its vile head and we have to wait… for book 3, MONSTERS OF MEN (planned for May 3rd in the UK and September in the US…guess which version I am going to buy?).
Find out more about the series at the author’s website. Or come back later today when I have an interview with Patrick Ness and a giveaway!
My Rating: 5 Zombie Chickens - The Ultimate Dystopian Experience
See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore