Friday, January 13, 2012

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2)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.

 I'm going to come right out and ask a question: Why on earth wasn't the first book this amazing?

Seriously.  The first book was pretty good, but I didn't love it.  But then this second book came along, and totally blew me away.  It's not often when a sequel does that.  Usually the second book of a trilogy is my least favorite anyways. 

This book was much more compelling than the first.  I was sucked right into it.  There was a lot more action, and so much more emotion.  At first I thought I wouldn't care for the split narrative all that much, but I ended up liking it.  It was never hard to tell whether Viola or Todd was the one narrating. 

While I'm talking about writing, I'd like to point something out.  Ness's writing style is so unique, and so different.  The writing itself is awesome.  But then, sometimes, the text alone isn't enough for him.  Where most authors would just write a paragraph about an explosion, Ness does this:


Now, I'm not saying that everyone should do this.  If everyone did, it would just be annoying.  But Ness does it, and it actually worked.   

There's just so much to like about this book.  Even if you don't count the 100-something-point font.  Even without that, I loved it.  So much better than the first.  I don't know how the third can top that, but I really hope it does.


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