Review Blog

Sep 22 2009

The ask and the answer by Patrick Ness

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Walker Books, 2009. ISBN 9781406310269.
(Age 12+) Highly recommended. After the relentless suspense and an incredible cliff hanger ending in The knife of letting go, I wasn't sure if the sequel could live up to that Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winning book. However I was not disappointed! Ness has written another wonderful book full of action and issues that made me think long after I finished the book. Todd has taken the dying Viola into Haven but it has been made into the stronghold of his enemy Mayor Prentiss. Imprisoned, Todd is forced to fit into the new order and carries out Prentiss' awful orders. Not knowing what has happened to Viola, he follows directions, putting bands on the Spackle who are herded into a labour camp. He also bands the women. There are secrets, resistance movements and dire times for Todd and Viola, who are separated but still care for each other.
I can't reveal too much except to say that the action is nonstop, the dialogue is as fabulous as the first book and the theme of what people will do in times of war and how they act under duress will stay with me. The manipulation over people's minds by Mayor Prentiss is described so vividly that I finished the book with a clearer understanding of how a powerful personality can sway all before him.
Chaos Walking is an engrossing series and I can't wait for the next instalment, after another cliff hanger ending.
Pat Pledger

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