The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
Release Date: 2009 | 2010 | 2011
Pages: 479 | 519 | 603
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought? – Goodreads
Finishing Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking books has been a long time coming. I first read The Knife of Never Letting Go in October of 2010 and I loved it. But I was also crushed by certain events, so I was terrified of what was to come in the following installments. I had The Ask and the Answer sitting in my bookshelf since then and I kept saying, “I’ll read it soon, I’ll read it soon,” but I never quite got the courage to actually pick it up. Aylee’s reviews (here and here) were definitely a motivation, but it wasn’t until my friend Linda sped through the series, and then began nagging me to get a move on, that I finally decided to go for it. I’m so glad! It was a draining roller coaster to read the series, but it’s easily become one of my absolute favorites. Here are some thoughts on each of the three books:
The Knife of Never Letting Go – Like I said, it’s been well over a year since I read it so here’s my initial review from goodreads: This one kept my heart pounding! With a first person, present tense narration, complete with Todd’s own dialect, it was very easy to get pulled in. With Todd being so young I wasn’t sure how much I would relate to his character, but I found myself valuing his growth as he learned the real meaning of becoming a man.The book went to some very dark, dark places, leaving me absolutely drained; I’m still mourning over a certain character’s death. I felt enough questions were answered along the way, but of course I’m anxious to get a start on the sequel. Fantastic read!
The Ask and the Answer – Can I just immediately say how seamlessly Patrick Ness is able to alternate between POVs? His character’s voices are so distinct, so different from the other, and he easily kept me fully immersed in both. Todd and Viola endured through SO much and their character arcs are some of my favorites in recent memory. Similarly, this book confirmed the complexity of the world and characters that Patrick Ness created. Though his book is set in another world, the themes he presented are so easily applicable to ours. Certain side characters? Wow…I had no idea that they could be redeemed and that I could grow to care for them so much. And, yes, I sobbed.
Monsters of Men – TODD AND VIOLA. THESE KIDS. I wanted to hold them close and keep them safe, but I was also so proud of their maturity, strength, and how they’re such genuinely good people. Thinking back to the first book it’s so easy to recall their innocence; it makes me so sad that they had to experience so much loss and so many struggles throughout the course of the series. Their relationship was subtle, beautifully depicted, and I loved how they drew strength from each other in the most bleak of situations. Patrick Ness continued to make a mess of my emotions with his characters. There was no clear good and evil in this series because the characters were so layered with flaws and complexities that captured the very essence of human nature.
Patrick Ness easily has one of my favorite endings for a book series in Monsters of Men. I know there are readers that are clamoring for more, but there was enough and there was hope — the perfect way to end it, in my opinion.
After having read this series and A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness easily earns a spot in my favorite authors list and a guarantee that I will read anything he writes. He is brilliant and captures so much emotion in his writing. Oh, and he makes me ugly cry every single time. I can’t wait to see what he writes next and I urge you to give Chaos Walking a read.
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