The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Genre: Juv/YA, sff
Setting: alien, Washington State
“Your Noise reveals you, Todd Hewitt.”
Okay, so I loved and adored the first book in this series, even with its horrible cliff-hanger of an ending. Luckily enough I had this one waiting at work, so I didn’t have long to wait before I found out about what happened next. If you haven’t read the first book you shouldn’t read this one. Just don’t. Put the book down and go look for The Knife of Never Letting Go, you really won’t have a clue what is going on if you don’t.
Just a word of warning, there are mild spoilers in this review.
Very mild. But still, spoiler warning is in effect here!
In this book Ness explores more of the New World, and we get to meet people we’ve only heard mention of, and get to know people we’ve seen in the first. As well as all loads of new people. For this book Ness gives us alternate narrators, both Viola and Todd get to tell their stories from their own point of view. A change from book one, but a change that was needed as Todd and Viola aren’t together a whole lot of the time. Which means that their relationship is put under huge pressure, neither knows what the other is up to, and both have authority figures who aren’t all that trustworthy, putting huge pressure on them.
There are of course, obvious lessons to be learned here; people can twist and turn the truth into lies and vice vearsa, sometimes we do things thinking they are for the best only to be proven wrong, doing what’s right is rarely easy, and a lot of the time we don’t know what is right. How can we?
For Todd and Viola a lot of it comes down to the question of whether or not they can trust each other? Even when their actions seem so wrong?
I really enjoyed getting to know Viola a bit more in this book, everything up to now has been from Todd’s POV, so of course that coloured our view of her. Now we get to see her way of thinking, and how she reacts to everything going on. And there is a lot going on. So much that we might even begin to question what we thought about characters in the first book. After all, so much of what Todd *knows* to be true has proven false.
I really don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, so I’ll leave it there. I said earlier that I loved the first book, this one I also loved, but slightly less. I am eagerly awaiting book three now though, it isn’t out for ages, unfortunately.
Other reviews: Tales of a capricious reader ; Things mean a lot ; Vulpes Libris(spoilers, lot of recap) ; A Book Blog. Period. ; At home with books (spoilers) ; Book addiction ; Lisa the Nerd ; Technorati links.
Nymeth linked to a Short story of Patrick Ness’. It’s set before Knifebegins, but it is slightly spoilerific if you haven’t read anything in the series.
As Patrick Ness has joint American & British citizenship I’ve tagged him as both. He was born in the US.