Genre: YA fiction
Series: Chaos Walking book 2
In the second book of the Chaos Walking trilogy, Todd and Viola find themselves separated. Todd is forced to join sides with the Mayor, now turned President. Meanwhile, Viola is cared for by a healer, who soon turns out to be the leader of a rebellious society called The Answer. When these two sides collide, Todd and Viola fight to save each other and, ultimately, the world they live in.Having read The Knife of Never Letting Go a few weeks ago, I was all too eager to get started on the sequel. I really wish I read it sooner. For more than one reason, though! The first being that I forgot some of the details of what happened in the first book, and was a little lost for a few pages. The second being that an endless amount of important events happen in The Ask and the Answer, all of which are critical to the entire series! Why wait to read it?
After I read the first couple of chapters, I was a little disappointed. Not too much was happening yet, and it didn't feel normal to have Todd and Viola separated. That feeling remained for most of the book, actually. I was wishing and wishing for them to get together and go on an exciting adventure like the one in The Knife of Never Letting Go - that's what made me fall in love with this series in the first place! But, you know, after I got into the book a little more, the adventure appeared. Todd and Viola were still apart, but they each had their issues and were not sure what side they belonged on. The excitement factor in the book escalated rapidly, and it was living up to my expectations - yay!
We get to see a lot more of Viola in this book, and I did like how it alternated between hers and Todd's perspective. Also, their characters are built upon a lot, especially Todd's. It was frightening how he was slowly losing everything he fought to keep and was submitting to the Mayor, and it was scary how he was even doubting Viola's intentions. I'll stop there, because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone, but I want you to know that there are constant battles in this book - not only physical, but mental.
I've said it before but I'll say it again: Ness' writing style is so unique. There are run-on sentences galore, but he chose to write like this for a reason. It truly mimics what it going on inside the minds of Todd and Viola, and it does this with impact! The font changes, the sentence structure... I love it. This combined with the imaginative and addictive story is pure delight.
Taking it all into account, The Ask and the Answer is a strong sequel that sets up the third book perfectly. As is the tradition so far, the book ends in a cliffhanger that is almost cruel on Ness' part - I need to know what happens next! Need to need to need to! But that's another thing I adore about this trilogy: the books seem to fit together seamlessly and feel like one long, continuous story. The "pointless writing", as I call it, is very minimal. The Ask and the Answer picked up exactly where the first one left off, and I expect Monster of Men to do the same.
Recommendation: Obviously, those who have started this series won't want to miss The Ask and the Answer! But if you haven't, at least give the first book a try. It truly is an amazing trilogy.