author, book, book reviews, books, Chaos Walking, characters, fiction, literature, Monsters of Men, novel, Patrick Ness, plot, read, reader, review, stories, story, The Ask and the Answer, The Knife of Never Letting Go, write, writer, writing, YA, young adult
497 Pages, $5.43 on Kindle
The Ask and the Answer
528 Pages, $7.39 on Kindle
Monsters of Men
808 Pages, $7.69 on Kindle
Genre: Young Adult, Scifi
I’m not rating this series, because it wouldn’t be fair to the books. When I read the summery I expected a cute little fun book about kids who can read minds and a talking dog, but what I got was a thought provoking book, which was often sad. (I like books that make me happy, not sad.) It just wasn’t my kind of book, but I got so wrapped up in the characters and the story that I read the entire trilogy. (And the short story that takes place afterwards.)
THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO
I was greatly annoyed by the bad spelling and grammar in this novel. Yes, it was intentional because the novel is written by a 12 year old boy. (14 Earth years.)
Todd lives on New World, a colonized planet where all of the men can hear each other’s thoughts. Most of the thoughts aren’t clear, just Noise. As if that wasn’t weird enough all of the animals can talk, including Todd’s dog Manchee. The planet was colonized 20 years ago and 10 years ago a war with the native species killed all of the women in Prentisstown and destroyed all the other settlements. Or did they?
Todd was raised by Ben and Cillian and is awaiting his birthday next month when he’ll finally be a man. One day he comes back from the swamp where he heard a strange quiet in the noise. Ben is alarmed, gets an already packed bag out for Todd and tells him to run. “Everything you know is a lie…” But Todd can’t know anything because then the other villagers would hear it in his Noise. (His thoughts.) So Ben writes Todd a letter, but the problem with this plan is, Todd only had the most basic lessons in reading…
I don’t want to say anymore and spoil the story. Throughout the novel the readers are taunted with the truth of Prentisstown, and finally at 75% ish through the book we find out. It was getting a bit silly at this point with interruptions so Todd couldn’t learn the truth. (Although I pretty much had it figured out anyway.)
The voice is unique in this book and the strength is definitely the characters. Even the minor characters felt like people and I really enjoyed their relationships. Todd felt like a real little boy, imperfect, sometimes immature, and he has a temper. His commentary to the audience was amusing; My voice broke (shut up).
This isn’t really a kids’ book. It’s deep, as in thought provoking, but also violent at times. (Both of which I don’t usually mind, but there’s one incident that bothered me.)
The Knife of Never letting Go is one big chase scene across the planet of New World. (Which is always my least favorite part of action movies.) Just when things are going well, or they have a plan, you just know everything’s about to go wrong. (Think Game of Thrones)
This book ends to be continued, and not just in a cliffhanger but a season finale cliffhanger where nothing is certain. I wasn’t planning to read the next book, but well… I just had to know.
THE ASK AND THE ANSWER
The two perspectives in the sequel worked well, and I liked that half the book now has proper grammar. This book asks the question, who can you trust? And the answer is no one. There is not a ‘good guy’ and a ‘bad guy’. I’ve decided they’re all bad guys, even the main characters aren’t exactly good.
This book isn’t any more upbeat than the first and again, there is some heavy subject matter discussed. The characters also keep making mistakes, but Todd does seem more mature.
There are more new characters, one of which is a horse who calls Todd boy colt. (My favorite part of the book) We also get to know earlier characters better and some aren’t what I thought. (Sorry for the teasing, I’m trying not to spoil anything.)
Another to be continued cliff hanger ending…
MONSTERS OF MEN
The perspective changes are confusing at first, mostly because they are both exciting and too short.
Then a third perspective is added, a native of New World, a species known as the Land in their own language. This perspective is unique and had such potential, but I found it hard to like the character, because he/she? is so full of rage and hate. It’s sad because I like other characters of his/her? race.
This book also ends to be continued! Another cliff hanger ending! At the end of a trilogy!
On Patrick Ness’ website you can read three Chaos Walking short stories for free, including Snowscape which takes place after Monsters of Men. (Even though I was annoyed, I had to read it to find out what happens!) Snowscape is told by a side character, but the question we were left with at the end of the trilogy is answered. (Of course, not until the very end.)
How do you like your stories? Light and mindless or deep and thought provoking? I like mine somewhere in the middle, not total fluff, but not super serious either.
Anyone else have Goodreads? I love that site! Mine is here.