May 16, 2012

Review: The Ask and the Answer

By: Patrick Ness
Published: September 2009 (in America) by Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover, 519 pages
First Reviewed: March 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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Sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go

Reaching the end of their flight in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, while Todd faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?

Rating: 2.5/5

Not much changed regarding my opinions on this series from the first book to this one. With series, I like when each book gets better or when each book is so good that I can't choose a favorite, but with this one, I felt it just stayed the same in most areas and then actually fell flat in others.

For one, this time the narration was split between Todd and Viola, which worked for the story, but I don't feel as though their voices were distinct enough. Compared to the first one, the distinction between not just the narrative voices but also the dialogue weren't as strong. In the first book, I thought the narration (the "Hick" talk) was overdone at times, but I found myself wondering if Ness was still doing that type of voice for Todd in this one. Yes, at times it was there, but for the most most, it just felt normal. And the style of writing stayed nearly exactly the same between Viola and Todd and if it weren't for the story and the different font, I wouldn't have been able to tell who was who at times.

Plot-wise, I can't really decide if I liked it better than the plot in the first book. At first, I didn't, but it picked up in the end and I finally felt that "edge of my seat" feeling that I wanted more of in the first book. It still wasn't as strong as I would have liked, but it was better. And I never got bored, which is good.

Also, there were new characters, but I didn't feel as though they were all developed as much as they should have been. Some were, but there were times were I had to wonder who some of the characters were, as though Ness threw too many in there at once sometimes.

This is probably one of my shortest reviews, but I can't bring myself to add any more. It was just a decent read for me. Overall, this series is still a pretty good read, and I'm very curious to how it'll end.

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