The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness
The Ask and the Answer
Walker Books
517 pages
8.8 (Best Book)

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 new order.

But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer?

And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...

This second thrilling volume in the Chaos Walking trilogy is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel about resistance under the most extreme pressure.

After leaving Todd and Viola's fate unknown in the first book, Ness continues the story exactly a few hours after the last scene in The Knife of Never Letting Go. Todd is taken by the Mayor Prentiss--whose now is silent as a deer, while it's not just until a few pages in when we finally know Viola's fate. But, this tranquility is ephemeral, as Mayor Prentiss meets his match, the one who tries to fight him, the one's who's as sinister as him. Todd & Viola must choose a side even if it means they have to go separate ways. 

Compared to The Knife of Never Letting GoThe Ask and the Answer is more intense, with more bloody scene that makes you gasp. The book is filled with more pain, as the pain that Todd & Viola must bear in the first book is nothing compared to what they must go through in the book. Nedd realistically portrays their feeling from their respective point of views, making Todd & Viola are one of the perfect duos in the world of dystopian fiction. The battle between the Ask and the Answer is not the only thing that makes the book bloodier, but one more side comes marching toward them in the end of the book: the common enemy for the Ask and the Answer, and the question is whether their hatred toward each other will blind them to fight together against the common enemy or not. The Ask and the Answer explores human's choice. Ness ostensibly argues that actually there's no bad and evil, and it's just a matter of perpsective. 

In conclusion, the successor of The Knife of Never Letting Go is more superior. In The Ask and the Answer, Ness builds much more realistic depiction of reality when the border between bad and evil is blurred, making The Ask and the Answer a microcosm of our world where such blurry border exists and what we are is which side we choose.

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