The Ask and the Answer
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking, #2
Page Count: 576
Publisher: Walker Books
Original Publication Date: 2009
Genre(s): Young adult, Dystopia, Science fiction
Todd wakes to find his worst nightmare: Viola is gone, and he himself is at the mercy of Mayor (It’s President, now, Todd) Prentiss. Mayor Prentiss has learned exactly how to control Todd: he uses Viola against him, and Todd has no choice but to let him. As Todd begins to succumb to the Mayor’s new way of life, Viola is learning her own place in the new world just as unhappily as Todd. Tensions are rising, and soon everyone must choose a side: the Ask, or the Answer.
After the cliffhanger at the end of book 1, I was dying to see how book 2 would play out. The Ask and the Answer picks up right where we left off, with Todd and Viola arriving in Haven only to be outwitted by Mayor Prentiss. Their escape was fruitless. And now things are worse than ever.
In typical sequel fashion, The Ask and the Answer takes everything you loved about book 1 and makes it slightly less enjoyable. That’s just the nature of sequels—it’ll never be as good as its predecessor. But I did like this book, because it also kept some of the good aspects, too: familiar faces, high energy, tense moments. It also took a brutal turn, easily becoming one of the most violent YA books I’ve ever read.
The story is very much similar to the first: where in book 1 Todd and Viola were running and being caught then running again and being caught, in book 2 the duo is separated then meet up then are separated then meet up again, etc. Again, very much your classic adventure story.
This time, because Todd and Viola are apart for much of the book, we get both of their first-person perspectives. At first, I wasn’t excited about that. Though I wasn’t a huge fan of Todd in the first book, I also wasn’t ready for another alternating-chapter story. But I found I really like Viola. And even though Todd becomes worse of a person in this book (for understandable reasons, let’s be honest), I grew to like him more throughout the book. He finally grew up and started understanding things a little better, which helped me to understand him more.
I’m excited to see where Todd and Viola wind up in the final book. I’m also interested in where the story is going. Though I’m really over the whole war thing, and the Mayor is literally the absolute worst character ever… But, as far as sequels go, I had a good time reading this one. Tons of action, lots of suspense, and yet another cliffhanger……..