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

BOOK REVIEW – The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick NessThe Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2)
by Patrick Ness
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

"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.

What would you choose if you had the faith of someone you love in your hands?

Would you betray your beliefs?

I must confess that the only honest answer I can give you is :

Of course I’d be so proud if I was able to say that I’d do the right thing whatever it takes, and I want to think I’d do it. Really. Of course there are situations where what to do is obvious because one of the possibilities is utterly bad. But sometimes – sometimes there’s no such thing as a right choice.

The Ask and the Answer is supposed to be a children’s book. Yes, for sure it is. I mean, that seems crystal clear, huh? The main characters are young, aren’t they?

Yes… But still. Is it enough to tell? Really?

Because this book?! It actually made me think more than most of those I’ve read for years. And I read a lot. The Ask and the Answer gives rise to ethical reflection and disturbs us.

What is it that makes you a good person? Is there a boundary line? Where is it, I’m asking, where is it? Is it what you do? What you think? What you allow others to do?

WHERE?

– Blur –

“And they seem to unnerstand. That’s the thing. They unnerstand way more than a sheep would.”

Make no mistakes, I hated Mayor Prentiss – President – Prentiss something fierce. I really did, from the beginning. Then, I never liked a lot this Mistress Coyle either. But these choices our characters must face? They’re difficult. Harsh.

*blush* Can I say it? I only wanted for Todd and Viola to be safe. To be together. To be happy. Yes, I can be idealist that way.

And maybe it makes me a coward, maybe it makes me weak, but –

There was a moment I was just thinking one damn thing : “Run!” Fuck ’em all, and run! (shut up) But of course it’d be selfish. Of course life isn’t so simple. And of course the story would be over, and way less interesting. I may be a romantic but not that dumb. I know that. But still. I’m just saying I thought about it. Fortunately for us, readers who want to be moved but oh my god that’s so harsh – Fortunately for us, Todd and Viola are amazing characters and oh so more stronger than me.

I’ll let you know something : This book is a gem, a real one, but that was painful.

“Cuz she’s out there somewhere. (please be out there somewhere) (please be okay) (please)”

I’ve said my heart ached for Todd in The Knife of Never Letting Go? Scratch that : It just broke in this one. All over again. I sure can’t say that I agreed with all the choices he made. It’d be far from the true – some of his actions are really unforgivable (view spoiler). But, you know, Patrick Ness is such a genius – yes, because I know that the talent (or the lack of) of a writer plays a large part in our feelings towards the characters – that even if I hated Todd sometimes, I couldn’t help but love him. Something fierce. Whatever it takes.

That’s the all point, huh?

(Viola?)

You could think that this sentence, “Love is stronger than anything” is a pious platitude. You’d be right. I mean, we all know how this sentence is often used in romance novels to, you know, try to hide the lack of plot?

And yet you’d be so wrong. This book is not a romance. So then? Where does it lead us?

To a wonderful book about choices. The choices we make and why we make them and how can we be sure that we’re right?

We just can’t.

Let it be known that I will forever be destroyed by this quote. FOREVER –

“And someone calls, “Murderer!” from across the square.
But of course it can’t be her –
But at least there’s someone. At least there’s someone.”

… Because what are we hoping but for someone to speak up? I want to be that person, and even if I’m not gonna lie, it scares me to death, I sure hope I would be, because what’s the point of life if we can witness atrocities and just stand there?

I am in awe of Patrick Ness. His books are brilliant, and I’m already looking forward to reading the next. Because of course there’s a cliffhanger. Again.

Edit 05/29 : I’ve started editing this review, but nothing could express my confusion and emotion more than the few words I wrote straight away. Perhaps it’s for the best that my obsessional perfectionism can’t influence everything. Perhaps sometimes, beautiful sentences and neat organization would be nothing else but a lie.

BOOK REVIEW – Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick Ness

BOOK REVIEW – Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick NessMonsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3)
by Patrick Ness
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Re-read with Jen (again) (shut up just shut up 😉 )

♥5 Stars♥

Again, I am blown away by how magnificent this series was. The world that Ness created is so complex, intricate, and altogether heartbreaking that you can’t help but fall for these flawed characters. Time and again they are faced with extreme circumstances and forced to make decisions no child should ever have to be faced with-they make mistake after mistake-and they come out stronger than before each and every time. I felt all the same emotions as the first time, even with knowing what happens…that’s what makes a book stand out, what makes it shine: It’s ability to make you feel time and time again no matter how many times you’ve read it. Heartbreaking, soul-crushing and all-consuming, I can’t imagine if I’d never read these. Unforgettable and utterly compelling, I will read these over and over….and never once get tired of this magnificent story. In all? This series is an absolute win.

Todd, the boy who won’t kill, with his all encompassing love for Viola even at the expense of his own life if it came down to it, will forever be a favorite character of mine-no matter how many books come and go…he truly is a remarkable and feeling young character…and I adore him.

*****************************************


♥4.5 stars♥

Ah, Jeez. What can I possibly say to sum up such an amazingly epic series? If someone had asked me six months ago if I would read a series centered around war and corruption, I would have looked them dead in the eye and said, “No effin way” (‘Cept I wouldn’t say ‘effin’;)). The most surprising thing, however, is that I have placed this series among my top favorites. Now, I know I’ve been slinging around the word ‘favorite’ a lot in recent history, but this ‘favorite’ is unique all on it’s own. This series has one of my, you guessed it, favorite characters of all time-Todd Hewitt.

When I finished last night, I was an emotional wreck. I was bawling my eyes out because of that unforgettable ending, that ending that will
stay with me forever
. I didn’t think I could possibly write a review that could explain the ferocity with which this series ingrained itself into my soul. I love it I love it I love it, and that doesn’t even cover the half of it.

But, and I’ve already said this, Todd is one of my all time favorite characters, and he doesn’t deserve anything less than a decent review in his honor.

Where to begin. Redemption. Lies. Doubt. Betrayal. Love. Trust. Hope. Told from three different POVs, we get an insight to every aspect of this war. A war that was completely unnecessary. A war that will ruin more than one life in the big scheme of things. A war that has Todd and Viola separated and fighting for their lives AGAIN. They see each other, but they are working on different fronts, trying to coax both sides so it will not be an all out bloodshed. But then we have a third side-a loose cannon, if you will. And with that third side comes the third POV.

I’ve thought all along that while I love dual POVs, I love Todd’s POV the most-it’s what made me fall in love with the series in the first place, so I longed to be inside his head for more than a few pages at a time. I wanted to see what he thought, what he wanted, what he was going to do. I felt somewhat bored at the beginning with all the switching of POVS-yes, the whole book was action-packed, but I just found one of the POVs to be a bit monotonous.

By far the most powerful theme in this book would have to be the question of who to trust. Some characters have claimed they work hard for redemption, while others act power hungry and will do anything to keep the upper edge-no matter what the cost. My mind was spinning the. Entire. Story. The characters become desperate under the circumstances, and with that desperation comes the need to choose a side, choose the side that will or won’t save someone who has taken a dramatic turn for the worst-is this person telling the truth? Will the medicine work?…or will it inevitably kill the one person Todd loves most in the world?

Todd was just a young boy, barely a man in TKONLG, and we saw that through his inner noise-his voice. Here we are, three books later, looking at how he has grown in such little time. Making decisions that even some grown men will never have to make, he has matured beyond his years. Even in the face of corruption and death, though, is his inner strength and beauty-that willingness to see the good in even the most evil of people, that yearn for all animals, that need to redeem himself of his past misdoings, and to ultimately create peace in a new world where everyone can live not in fear, but together as one united people.

This series has touched me so deeply on a level that I didn’t even know I possessed. Maybe the fact that Todd would do literally anything for Viola, anything for his horse, resonated within me so deeply I will never forget. And as I slept on this ‘you have to be a glass half-full type of person’ ending, I decided as I woke that I’m okay with it. Every time I think of that damn end I feel a pull on my heart strings and a drop in my stomach, but overall, I’m ecstatic. I loved it. The whole thing. Even the end of it all. I respect it, and it will never leave my mind. I will never, ever, ever forget…and I guess the easiest way for me to sum up is to say the things that I’ll never forget-an homage, if you will:

+Todd-the boy who can’t and won’t kill
+Todd’s loyalty, dedication, and love for Viola
+Viola-the rip in the noise that set all these books in motion
+Manchee-the talking dog-his ruddy good dog who would do anything to save him
+The love between Ben and Todd, that father/son connection that tore me up
+The cliffhangers at the end of Every. Single. Damn. Book.
+The struggle with which Todd fought mind control
+Even, yes, I’ll say it, Davy Prentiss Jr.-the boy Todd saved from himself

I might think of more to say later on, but at the moment, this feels like a natural point to stop-a natural way to say goodbye to my beloved fictional world I’ve come to both fear and love. So with a heavy heart, I say goodbye to them all, and hope for nothing but the best. Isn’t that how the whole story began….hope? And that’s how it all ends-
Hope
and a heap of ruddy fucking tears.

*******************************

*bawling* I don’t know what I’ll rate this one. I don’t know what to think or say or write. This series has touched me on a whole different level….one of my all time favorites. But…:I don’t know if I can ever write an adequate review for this one. Guess I’ll see how I feel in the morning.

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

BOOK REVIEW – The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2) by Patrick NessThe Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking #2)
by Patrick Ness
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Re-read with my lovely Jen!!! ♥ ♥ ♥

5 LARGE, AMAZING STARS!!!

Worth every star in the world. (It was SO MUCH MORE FAST PACED THAN I REMEMBER!)

The world that Ness creates is beyond any stretch of imagination I could ever dream of coming up with-I’m seeing that in spades the second time around. So many things I overlooked the first time made the story that much better the second time around. He is an amazing writer and I will forever re-read these books with a huge, masochistic smile on my face…I only hope that maybe someday he will write another set of characters that move me like Todd Hewitt and Viola Eade do-Their story mesmerizes me each and every time I pick up this series…I know it will continue to for the rest of my life. These books aren’t forgettable. They are, in fact, extraordinary, and I feel bad for anyone who has never gotten to immerse themselves into this vivid and candid story. So glad I took the time to re-read the second and third book, because the first time I was so focused on how much I loved book one that I didn’t see how interesting and detailed and merciless these scenes were and how they quite literally took my breath away. I cannot wait to see how I react to book three the second time around-the first time I was a blubbering, incoherent mess-I can only imagine how much worse it will be since I’m even more attached to Todd and Viola after a year of never forgetting them.

*************************

*4.5 Stars*

…Never love something so much it can be used to control you.

After a completely awesome cliffhanger in book one, I was anxious to start book 2 immediately. And while I didn’t have as strong of an affection for TAATA like I did for TKONLG, I still enjoyed it immensely.

Many times the second book in a series is labeled a ‘bridge’ book. After a totally action packed first installment, the second is normally used to throw some wrenches in the plan and make things even more complicated for the H/H-making for a mind-blowing, unputdownable, and unforgettable final book.

I have to say this is the case with TAATA. Viola and Todd are separated. Which already made me sad, but even more than that, there is a war brewing. Everyone is in the clutches of the evil mayor, but no one knows whether to believe if he is really evil or not. He plays God, keeping the women from the men, issuing curfews for both genders, assigning jobs to those who are not soldiers, and has everyone placed in living quarters right where he wants them. It sounds bleak, doesn’t it? It is.

Told from both Todd and Viola’s POV, we get to see what’s going on in every angle of ‘New Prentisstown’. Viola is assigned as a healer, and Todd is under the Mayor..er..President’s nose, doing all his personal bidding and manual labor. Each of them pining for one another, both willing to do anything to get to one another and give the other a chance for safety and survival, this story made for an emotionally charged compilation of longing and willingness to do what must be done to ultimately get to their counterpart. I loved seeing how strongly they cared for one another, and getting an insight to their inner monologue really put things into perspective:

+They only have each other
+They fought against the world together
+They have saved each other numerous times
+They have made sacrifices
+Even when torn apart from different sides, they still choose each other
+They would literally do anything for one another

Really makes you see how much they care, doesn’t it, when put into perspective?

I agree with what one of my GR friends said about the tone of this installment-while I still loved the story and could not put the book down, there was a lack of humor that I missed from the first book. There were horrible occurrences in book one, some that I still haven’t gotten over, but there was just a different tone that really drew you in and made you fall in love with Todd and his journey to become a man under the worst possible circumstances. There was a darkness in TAATA that hung over your head with each passing page, building into something real and palpable. There was torture, there was desperation, we built new friendships, again their inner strength was tested and contorted into something that could control and consume them…it was as heartbreaking as it was gripping.

Reading half of this at work, I became a madwomen who couldn’t seem to pull away from the story even for a moment. The desperation that was pulled from each character fueled the story to epic proportions, building up to a high-stakes showdown. Like I said, there were parts that I longed for things to be different, but then we wouldn’t have yet another awesome cliffhanger to build off of. We wouldn’t have an all out crazy mess to fix in book three. Most importantly, we wouldn’t have had the last 150 pages built up into such an angsty mess that I couldn’t even concentrate on normal, everyday life until I got to the end. And now I can’t wait for the much anticipated (by me) finale.

It’s not that you should never love something so much it can control you.
It’s that you NEED to love something that much so you can NEVER BE CONTROLLED.

Purchase on Amazon or iBooks

BOOK REVIEW – The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Trilogy #1) by Patrick Ness

BOOK REVIEW – The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Trilogy #1) by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1)
by Patrick Ness
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

*Re-read with all of (well, most of them) my wonderful GR friends: Kris (KC), Jen, Harriet, Sarah, Troy, and Maythavee. I literally forgot how wonderful this story is and how much I loved it the first time around. I’ll always adore Todd Hewitt and his lovable companion, Manchee. I found my emotions were all over the board this time because I knew what happened-The fact that I knew every twist and turn in no way made me feel less. In fact, it made me feel more. I felt sadness to my core in anticipation of certain unforgettable events, and I even laughed twice as much and appreciated their humor more this time around. A solid five stars (shut up ;)) for a story I will never forget-this will always be in my top three favorite series of all time. Thanks for reading it again with me, guys!!! And good luck….

******

But a knife ain’t just a thing, is it? It’s a choice, it’s something you DO. A knife says yes or no, cut or not, die or don’t. A knife takes a decision out of your hand and puts it in the world and it never goes back again.

Sometimes….sometimes a book comes along that you totally aren’t expecting. You think there is no way that it can be any good or that it can keep your attention. But then something happens. Something clicks-clicks right into place and gets your mind reeling and speculating and desperate for more.

You have to put the book down…and it nearly kills you. Ya know, because we have the real world to tend to. We can’t just be sitting around reading all day. We have jobs and repsonsibilities and-and all the while you can’t get this book out of your mind. For me, that was this book. This damn book.

If the world wants you, it’s gonna keep on coming till it gets you. And who am I that can fix it? Who am I that can change this if the world wants it so badly? Who am I to stop the end of the world if it keeps on coming?

I’m not going to say this was some groundbreaking story that absolutely everyone will love. I’m not even sure why I loved it. Maybe it was Todd, the main character. Maybe it was Manchee, the lovable talking dog who is always, ALWAYS there for Todd. Maybe it’s even that damn rip in the ‘noise’. Take your pick, I loved each of these characters so, so much. Also, though, is the struggle to remain a boy, to remain inherently good, to stay above all the evil that has corrupted this new society. Todd faces many obstacles that will ultimately test his overall humanity-whether he will be separated from the innocent boy he used to be and join the legion of people who can’t even be classified as men, but cowards who will never be good, who will never do what’s right, or stay true to who he is. The boy who will become a man by sticking up for what’s right and remaining honorable even in the face of certain death. I think this is what made this a story that is completely unforgettable. But as I was saying-this book is not for everyone. It is angsty. It is grammatically incorrect (who in the hell wouldn’t speak in run-on sentences if you were running from someone? Who has time to punctuate?). It has devastating cirumstances and things happen that will tear you apart. It is
barbaric
…And I LOVED it.

As long as I hold it as long as I use it, the knife lives, lives in order to take life, but it has to be commanded, it has to have me to tell it to kill, and it wants to, it wants to plunge and thrust and cut and stab and gouge, but I have to want it to as well, my will has to join with its will.

I’m the one who allows it and I’m the one responsible

Todd is the youngest in a town of men who can all hear each other’s ‘noise’. Noise is basically everyone’s thoughts…you can literally hear everyone’s thoughts. The reason it becomes ‘noise’, though, is because everyone’s thoughts conform and cause a massive ball of confusion and…well…noise. Or that’s at least how I understood it. Then a day comes when he must run for his life and he doesn’t know why, but knowledge is the last thing he needs on the subject. How do you run from people when they can hear literally everything you think/breathe/do? So the running begins.

The noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.

Overall, this story is very hard to explain and portray correctly. I keep wanting to say the writing was special or beautiful-default words, right? But they just don’t fit here. This book is different. The writing is downright raw. There are mispellings that express Todd’s level of education, and whereas this bothers me in literally every other book, it didn’t bother me in this story. It just didn’t. I knew what the author was trying to do, and it only added to the already intricately layered story. That’s the other thing-this story had layer, after layer, after layer. You think you have things figured out, but I can assure you-nothing is all that predictable. Yes, there’s a certain inevitabilty with every story, sure. In this one, no matter how much I DID KNOW, there was still a missing piece that I didn’t realize I was missing. Ness got me to wonder and wonder and wonder-I absolutely had to know what was going to happen next and why everything was the way it was.

Life ain’t fair.
It ain’t.
Not never.
It’s pointless and stupid and there’s only suffering and pain and people who want to hurt you. You can’t love nothing or no one cuz it’ll all be taken away or ruined and you’ll be left alone and constantly having to fight, constantly having to run just to stay alive.

Then the ending. That ending was most definitely a rough cliffy. Now, I ALSO knew what happened at the end-or so I thought. Yes, I had it partly correct, but to what extent of this inevitable end, I had no idea. Ultimately, this book drew emotions out of me that have long been buried since a certain book in March. I cried so fiercely that it bordered on embarrassing. I even put the story down and tried to come back to it after this certain *ahem* event, and I broke down again. Don’t judge me.

The only place you belong is the place you can never go back. And so yer always alone, forever and always.

The point I think I’ve been trying to make through this whole review is that TKONLG was a great, totally unexpected, and exciting read. It got my blood pumping, it consumed my thoughts, and I devoured it. Would I suggest it to any of my friends? Not likely. We all love romance, and there was a little smidgen mixed in-and that’s enough for me to be happy. My friends, though? I think they’d like less knife action and a little more romance. So, the answer is no. Will I read this again someday? Yes. Am I starting the second in the series immediately after I get home from work? Most definitely. Am I finally done rambling about the same points over and over again? Yep-over and out.

BOOK REVIEW – More Than This by Patrick Ness

BOOK REVIEW – More Than This by Patrick NessMore Than This by Patrick Ness
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads


Here is the boy, drowning.

A story built around false truths and a misinterpretation of life, we start this story not knowing where our main character is or where he will end up. We don’t know if he’s truly dead or truly alive, inbetween life and death or in Hell. But we saw him die….didn’t we?

“I wanted so badly for there to be more. I ached for there to be more than my crappy little life.”

I’m no beginner to Ness’s dark style of writing, so I was fully prepared when I started this one. Not quite sure what to expect, I went in with an open mind and a hopeful attitude that I would fall in love with another of his stories.

While I didn’t add another to my favorites shelf like his Chaos Walking trilogy, I did get to experience another expertly written novel that had me on my toes the entire time.

He really is alone in whatever hell this is.
Completely and utterly alone.

Solitude. Solitude shapes the entire story. I can’t even begin to explain the depression our main character feels because of this common thread, and I won’t try. Why? There is literally no way to give anyone a synopsis without either giving something away or confusing them more. But I CAN focus on themes and other areas, so I will attempt to talk about those areas instead.

But then he thinks, No. Because you can die before you’re dead, too.

As Seth starts trying to figure things out and move forward with whatever he is supposed to be doing, we start to see his demeanor slowly become unhinged. Seeing flashbacks everytime he falls asleep (or is he really in the moment, reliving it because of it’s vital importance?) we start to see how he was in that freezing ocean in the first place.

The loneliness. In his accumulating exhaustion, the terrible loneliness of this place swamps him, just like the waves he drowned in.
No one here. No one at all besides him. No one.
Forever.

Getting darker as the story progresses, we wonder how anything good can possibly come from anything that can possibly happen. But, even within the darkest of the dark moments, Ness has a heart-you can see it in everything he writes, see it in every ink-stained page he has produced-his characters always have such big hearts and always burst with so much passion, and even though he’s the reason for many harsh events within his novels, you can’t help but see how strong the characters become because of these events and why Ness chose to do these things in the first place. We see the effects of carrying a burden and how it influences our most important life decisions, making this another story where we learn a lesson while we’re being entertained.

Billions and billions of stars. Billions and billions of worlds. All of them, all those seemingly endless possibilities, not fictional, but real, out there, existing, right now. There is so much more out there than just the world he knows, so much more than his tiny Washington town, so much more than even London. Or England. Or Hell for that matter.

I undoubtedly loved the story and all the mystery surrounding every page. I was pulled in and fell hard once again for the obvious breaks and abrupt cuts at the end of sentences that purposely leave us in the dark and wondering what the character was going to say, adding more to the mystery. It’s like one of those movies that keeps adding layers that confuse you and keep you asking, ‘where does he come up with this shit?!’. It’s amazing and unbelievable at the same time, but he never makes you feel like you can’t or won’t ever understand-he never makes you feel unintelligent. We are all just a part of the game.

A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while.

Overall I really enjoyed this story. I do feel it was a little over the top at times, making it hard to guess what was behind the next cornerat every turn. It eventually started making since, but was a little too much before we got to that point. I still laughed, teared up, felt deeply, and enjoyed characters who I won’t name immensely, even if things were stagnant at times. The action gradually escalated, making for a fantastic finale that had me on the edge of my seat and begging for more. I will continue to watch for new work from Ness, and I will always be wowed by the intricately layered worlds and characters he creates. If you haven’t read a novel by him, I encourage you to do so-you’re missing out.

“Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there.”
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