“Your Noise reveals you, Todd Hewitt.”
A voice –
In the darkness –
Everything is shadows and blur and it feels like the world’s spinning and my blood is too hot and my brain is clogged and I can’t think and it’s dark –
I blink again.
No, wait –
Just now, just now we were in the square –
Just now she was in my arms –
She was dying in my arms –
“Where is she?” I spit into the dark, tasting my blood, my voice croaking, my Noise rising like a sudden hurricane, high and red and furious. “WHERE IS SHE?”
This is how the second novel in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Ask and the Answer, begins. My heart was thumping as I read every single word. Every single freaking word, and it did not stop thumping until the end, some 519 pages later. Even then, I had to take a walk around the block just to calm myself down.
For those that have read the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, you’ll be well aware that readers were left dangling in the midst of one hell of a cliffhanger ending. Fortunately, this installment picks up right where that one left off, only now our two protagonists are no longer together. Todd has no idea where Viola is, or even if she’s alive. But the Mayor (actually, that’s Mr President to you now, thank you very much) promises Todd she’s alive and that he’ll get to see her soon. Todd has nothing else to go off and has to believe what he’s being told. He just has to. The thought of Viola not being alive any more is just too much to contemplate. He tried to save her; he tried with everything he had. What if it wasn’t enough?
I know what you’re thinking. If Viola isn’t with Todd, how are we supposed to know what happened to her? Fear not, special readers, as Patrick Ness is the God of all Gods right now and he definitely factored that in. Viola fans will be super pleased to hear that she has her own point of view in this installment, which means – obviously – that she’s alive. But she doesn’t know where Todd is, either, doesn’t know if Todd is even still alive. The President has her being held ‘captive’ and wont tell her a thing. The President is no fool, and he knows better than anyone that keeping Viola and Todd apart is imperative if he wants to see out his plans successfully.
Can you imagine what would happen if they were ever reunited, what they could achieve as a team? Would it be their connection be as strong as it was before? Would they still need each other so desperately? Maybe you’ll find out, but then again, maybe you wont…
Todd grows a whole freaking lot in this novel. He displays the maturity and strength of character of someone much older than just thirteen. In fact, at times, I found it hard to believe (in an astoundingly impressed way) that someone of his age would know so much, would have the emotional capacity to feel the way he does. It’s almost impossible not to fall in love with Todd – even if he is only thirteen years old.
I adored reading Viola’s point of view, as well. Readers are afforded the privilege of stepping inside her mind and witnessing first hand how she thinks – and honestly, I can see now why Todd likes her so much. She’s a fierce, strong girl with a remarkable capacity for compassion. She’s a fantastic heroine, and a great role model for young girls everywhere.
The Ask and the Answer is completely unputdownable. I read the entire 519 pages in one sitting, not even stopping to go to the loo. This is one series I know I’ll read over and over again in the years to come.