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 terrifying new order. But everything is shrouded in secrets. Where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then one day, the bombs begin to explode....
©2010 Patrick Ness (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Science fiction lovers will be looking for the next installment in this fast-paced and imaginative series." (School Library Journal)
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
While it had some weaknesses, the first book in this series, The Knife of Never Letting Go, won me over by telling an original story with some interesting themes, and keeping the level of tension high. In it, Ness imagined a planet colony of religious settlers that had come to start over with a low-tech life. But, oh, by the way, there was a war with the native aliens, all the women are dead, and everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts, all the time. The main character, Todd Hewitt, begins to realize that he wasn’t told the whole truth, and ends up fleeing the dark designs of his town's leaders, several enemies hot on his trail.
This book picks up right where the cliffhanger ending of that one left off, and adds Viola's perspective to the story, alternating between it and Todd's (I don't think it's much of a spoiler to reveal that women weren't totally gone, since we learned this fairly early in the first book). However, where the Mayor was simply a sinister bad guy before, he becomes a more complex character -- still ruthless, but with a paternal, reasonable side that keeps us guessing. Meanwhile, an uprising against the Mayor/President begins, with the opposing leader showing a few ruthless streaks of her own. And Todd and Viola end up on opposite sides, split first by circumstance, then by an unforgivable atrocity that both factions blame on the other.
What I appreciated about this book was Ness’s front-and-center focus on the issue of how decent people get sucked into monstrous things. Todd doesn't trust the Mayor, yet finds himself being maneuvered into positions of greater responsibility, until he becomes too culpable in events to be able to simply walk away. Of course, the Mayor is manipulating him, letting Todd’s desire to feel like he has some level of control over things work into the Mayor’s own plans. Meanwhile, something similar happens to Viola over in the opposing camp, as she gets pulled into a campaign of bombing attacks against civilian targets. Both feel believably conflicted, yearning to be reunited, but also uncertain and angry over the other’s perceived choices.
I also liked the way the “noise” creates a different power dynamic between men and women, one gender having a hard time hiding its thoughts and emotions, while the the other remains unreadable. Hard to imagine that some men wouldn’t take to this loss of privacy and control with great anger, while the constant bombardment of male thoughts might drive women closer together. Not that Ness digs into this issue too deeply, but it’s an interesting backdrop.
On the down side, I thought the drama could be heavy-handed and I eventually had issues with the believability of the central villains, who are a little too cartoonish in some moments, a little too smart in others. The final battle featured some elements that seemed lifted from the Star Wars movies, but with more speechifying. Another complaint is Ness’s tendency to contrive sudden events that conveniently interrupt something else that’s happening.
Still, there are some effective moments in the story, such as scenes involving Todd and a labor detail of Spackle, the native aliens, and the character development of Davy, who starts off as an overbearing bully, but becomes more human and sympathetic later. And the harrowing ending sets up a lot of possibilities for the last book.
On the audiobook experience, I liked (as before) the personality Podehl gives to Todd’s voice, though moments when he yells “nooooooo!!” remind me, unfortunately, of Adam Sandler’s “they’re all gonna laugh at you!” skit. Angela Dawe does a decent but unremarkable job as Viola.
54 years old, blue collar worker, I like imported beer, when it is not hay fever season. Favorite authors; Card, King, Hobb, Koontz, Clarke, Iggulden, Silverberg, Michener, Krakauer
This is the second book in the Chaos Walking series, if you have not read "The Knife of Never Letting Go" you must start there. It is a great book. Just imagine a world where you can hear the thoughts of every man. I have read the first two books in the Hunger series and I like this series just a little better. Females read more then men, so I believe that is why Hunger games has been more popular.
I loved the message in this book. Todd and Viola are growing up fast and they are finding out that life is not black and white. While most Sci-Fi books talk about how bad war is, PN shows us through the story. To me that is what stories are all about, otherwise it is just lecturing. I have always wondered about wars and why people fight for certain sides and how they do some of the terrible things they do. Both sides feel they are fighting for the right cause and they somehow justify torture and killing. Our main characters get caught up in opposite sides of a war. Both characters do some terrible things, you could even compare Todd to a guard at a concentration camp.
The book starts out just a little bit slow and doesn't really hit stride until chapter 16. The slow start is probably why I liked the first book just a little bit better. Towards the end there is a very long scene which goes on like William Shatner in Star Trek.
After chapter 16 I found it very hard to stop listening. The story got very intense and every time I thought everything was going to be alright, something would happen to change that. The book is filled with lots of surprises.
1017 is a new character that I hope we hear more from in Chaos Walking.
Mommy of twins
Unfortunately not the fast paced thrill ride of a read that THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO was. No, THE ASK AND THE ANSWER (Chaos Walking #2) is a much slower story that is all about mind tricks, as Viola and Todd struggle under the thumb of their old enemy Mayor Prentiss.
Now newly self appointed President Prentiss flexes his control over the pair of teens as well as the rest of New World’s remaining population. Haven has been claimed and renamed New Prentiss Town and quickly becomes that of a police state of horrors under its new ruler and his army. All the men and women are once again separated including Todd and Viola. Despicable acts of evil and violence become part of daily life. With the threat of mutiny and war again rising on New World, Todd and Viola find themselves confused, beaten and trapped on different sides.
There is no question that Patrick Ness is an awesome writer with a completely original story to tell. The Chaos Walking Trilogy is one with a strong concept that is entirely unique and intriguing. And although I didn’t love this second much slower installment as I did the firs; I’m still hooked by the idea of a world trying to function under the duress of “noise”. The Chaos Walking series is definitely worth a look, especially under the skillful narration of the ever so talented Nick Podehl and this time’s added narrator Angela Dawe, as the voice of Viola.
I would consider reading the print version for this book. I love listening to Nick Podehl - he is really entertaining. But the narrator for Viola was just so dull. Everything she says is quiet and reserved, and maybe that's part of Viola's circumstance and personality, but man was it hard to listen to. I had a hard time staying interested during her chapters. Several times I had to turn off the book and turn on music when I was driving during her chapters because I felt myself becoming distracted or tired.
Only 1/3 of the way through at this point.
HER: Quiet, reserved, timid
HIM: Funny, alive, elastic
I loved the first book - The Knife of Never Letting Go. Although I find this second book very interesting, it hasn't yet grabbed me in the same way. I think maybe it's because Manchee isn't around anymore, and also because many of the secrets have already been uncovered.
But it's still an entertaining book and much more original than some of the other YA fiction I've read.
I have to admit that I was hesitant because I had read about the amount of cursing in this book but was happy to discover that this translated into nothing more than the word "effing". I have a habit of listening to a book while doing things around the loft...with this book I found myself standing in one place for long stretches of time so I wouldn't miss a single word. What a great story. That makes it a winner for me!
Audio books are my new favorite thing, I'm catching up on so many books. If you know any good dystopia novels, please recommend them to me!
What I really enjoyed about this book is how the main characters grow in the settings in which they find themselves. And I really enjoy how the author writes, and in turn, how it is performed.
However, I did find this book dragged on a bit and because there isn't really a break from the constant 'war zone' feeling, I must say, it makes me not want to listen to the third book. It's an interesting concept but there's definitely no lightheartedness in the entire book which after 12 hours of listening, can get a bit redundant.
I'm sure I'll end up listening to the third book but, I'll definitely take a break before I go through that again!
Exciting, refreshing, and entertaining.
I like that the author has taken the time worn concept from Sci Fi of telepathy, and given it a new more realistic twist. I also love that the reader gives us the story in an adult voice, with wonderful characters, even though this is a teen book.
Let me first say I loved the first book and am loving the second. The story is great! However, I was disappointed with the narration. Nick Podehl did a good job, although I thought he sounded older than I imagined the character to be, but Angela Dawe was horrible. Her delivery was very slow and drawn out, sometimes creating large gaps in between sentences! At times I felt as if I wanted to fall asleep, even during the faster segments of the book. Plus she sounds much older than the younger Viola.
I was forced to buy the Kindle version and read it, and plan on doing that for the third book.
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