The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick NessThe Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking
Genre: Dystopia
Release Date: May 4, 2009
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars
<p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #181818;">Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss.</span><br style="color: #181818;" /><br style="color: #181818;" /><span style="color: #181818;">Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order.</span><br style="color: #181818;" /><br style="color: #181818;" /><span style="color: #181818;">But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? </span><br style="color: #181818;" /><span style="color: #181818;">And where is Viola? Is she even still alive?</span><br style="color: #181818;" /><span style="color: #181818;">And who are the mysterious Answer?</span><br style="color: #181818;" /><br style="color: #181818;" /><span style="color: #181818;">And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...</span></p>
“Your Noise reveals you, Todd Hewitt.”

Let me tell you about how I had my life ruined by aliens. The Knife of Never Letting Go was a great book. I loved it, and I’ve been recommending it like crazy. But The Ask and the Answer completely blows its predecessor out of the water. So much happens in such a (relatively) short book, it’s a wonder people’s heads don’t explode while they’re reading it. I loved it, and before writing this review I was going to just give it a 4 stars/Essential rating, but now I’ve decided to go with All Time Favourite. Because my life is ruined and I am crying.

So yes, the aliens. The Spackle absolutely broke my heart. I hate Tatum for not warning me, because she knows how I feel about these things (Spartacus has broken me). The Spackle have been oppressed since the war ended, first by the citizens of Haven who treated them as little more than slaves, and then under the rule of Mayor Prentiss, who went the whole hog and started tagging them like cattle and making them shit in a hole in the ground. These intelligent life forms were completely degraded, and it totally broke my heart. Not gonna lie, I’m crying while I write this. Their parts in The Ask and the Answer are the most prominent to me, and it’s absolutely heartbreaking and tragic. Team Spackle FTW, everyone else can leave.

“We can fight,” Davy says. “We proved that. And instead you got us babysitting animals that are already beat.”
The Mayor considers us for a moment, tho I don’t know how or when Davy turned him and me into an us. “If you think they’re already beaten, David,” he finally says, “then you know very little about the Spackle.”

Todd drove me a little crazy in this book. I love him, I really do, but his decisions in The Ask and the Answer broke me. When his hope is taken away, he completely shuts off and forgets about fighting back. He becomes a drone for Mayor Prentiss, and it’s awful to see. He does some sickening things, that would have made me hate him if I hadn’t already read about him in The Knife of Never Letting Go. I’m looking forward to seeing more development from him in Monsters of Men (if I live through that book, which I doubt I will), because I have a feeling that he’s going to rise up and become a great leader.

Viola, on the other hand, was pretty much flawless the entire way through. We get to see things from her point of view in this book, since she and Todd are separated for most of it. I spent most of the book fangirling over her, because she is so fucking strong and she faced so much, but she didn’t give up. She also held onto her beliefs, and didn’t let anyone or anything change that. Here, have some quotes.

“You haven’t even seen me fight yet,” I say, standing my ground. “I knocked down a bridge to stop an army. I put a knife through the neck of a crazy murderer. I saved the lives of others while you just ran around at night blowing them up.”

As for the romance between Viola and Todd… Well, I can’t say that I love it. It totally makes sense that they are clinging to each other and all that, but their relationship is just unhealthy. And also quite cheesy, but let’s focus on the unhealthy part. They made some awful decisions because of one another, and I was sitting there wanting to shake them because it was so frustrating. But in a great way, because it provoked emotion from me. I mean, I get that they’re very young, and they have no one else on this bloody planet, but STILL. I want them to just end up being best friends, if they both survive to the end of the series, because I think a strong platonic relationship usually works better. For me, anyway.

“Everyone here is someone’s daughter,” she says quietly. “Every soldier out there is someone’s son. The only crime, the only crime is to take a life. There is nothing else.”
“And that’s why you don’t fight,” I say.
She turns to me sharply. “To live is to fight,” she snaps. “To preserve life is to fight everything that man stands for.”

 

“I won’t tell you anything.”
“But she betrayed you.” The Mayor comes round the front again. “She tried to kill you.”
And at that, Viola lifts her head.
She looks him right in the eye.
And says, “No, she tried to kill you.”

 

He smiles. “You may have no choice.”
“There’s always a choice,” Viola says by my side.

There are themes of anti-feminism and terrorism prevalent throughout this book, and Patrick Ness handles it all so well. He’s so fucking talented. Of course, the bits that stuck out to me the most were the slavery, oppression, and genocide, but Ness packs so much into this book that it’s bursting at the seams.

The ending completely destroyed me. WHAAAAT?!?!? I was hoping that something like that would happen, but I didn’t think it actually would. As soon as I got to THE PART, I wanted to scream and cry and jump around my bedroom.

I cannot wait to read Monsters of Men, and I’m going to try desperately hard to read it this month. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, because I have so many review copies to read, but if not that I WILL be reading it in December. I adore this series, and I am almost ready to have my life ruined some more by Patrick Ness.

3 comments on “The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

  1. laurafergs November 22, 2013 7:53 am

    This is one of the best Trilogies around. Todd Hewitt & Viola <3 I think I sobbed reading all three books at one point or another. I hope you like Monsters of Men. :-)

  2. Clover November 26, 2013 10:44 am

    Oh I do love watching you discover this series! The third book DESTROYED me. Like, I thought the first two books had and then I read Monsters of Men. I actually had to book the book down because I was so worried that my heart couldn’t take any more! Good luck to you.

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