The Ask and the Answer- Patrick Ness.


You have been warned.

Initial Final Page Thoughts.

High Point.
THE RETURN OF TODD. Seriously, I missed him in like the two days between finished the first one and starting this one. Mayor ….President Prentiss. VIOLA! The Answer. Sympathy for the devil. Welcome to the dark side. Mmm, I love the smell of a love triangle in dystopia. The Holy Trinity- Oppression, Betrayal and Friendship. I am the Circle and the Circle is Me. CREEPY. Also.. the ending… Holy moly.

Low Point.
OK, it’s no secret how much I love this series, so I’m not even going to pretend these low points are actually serious. These books just seem to be getting better and better and I am soooo excited for the final one. So, I’m scraping at the bottom of the barrel here… STOP WITH THE CLIFF HANGER, YOU’RE KILLING ME, NESS! And yeah ok, Angharrad was kind of cute… but she’s no Manchee *sniff* so, don’t even try. See, clutching at straws here.

Hero/Heroine/Best Friend annnnnd LOVE INTEREST.
One of the things I loved the most about this book was the dual narrative because we finally got to see things from Viola’s perspective. Her chapters are articulate, educated, compassionate and they confirmed my suspicions from the first book… she really is as cute as a button.
I liked that Ness chose to show us Viola because her story and development into main character allowed her to come out of Todd’s shadow and I felt her thoughts and, most importantly, actions really added to the whole message of the book.
It’s so difficult to write about this series without spoiling it and I really don’t want to do that because if you haven’t read it before- it’s amazing reading it and being permanently on edge because you really don’t know what is coming when Ness is behind the wheel. But Viola’s perspective was really great and I’m glad she no longer had to be supporting role.
Which leads me nicely to my main man. Todd. I’m so glad that Ness kept him as he was in the first book, because it would have been so easy to turn him into this huge, unrealistic macho guy. I love that Todd is real, he’s just a kid, he’s in a world that he doesn’t understand, he’s at a loss as to what to do… but he never complains. And I’m glad Ness kept this kind of… innocence about him, but also developed him and allowed him to grow as a character.
This book added a lot of depth to Todd without being too overwhelming and I think the situations Todd is placed in (in true Nessian form… CRAZY ONES) allow Ness to blur the lines of what actually is evil, which is one of the major themes of this series. And it is this whole study of moral ambiguity that I find so fascinating about this series and that makes it stand so far apart from a lot of YA series that I have read for a while.
OK, now to the love… my suspicions from the first one are still very much there… if not more. Even though Viola and Todd spend half the book apart you can tell they are still in friends-against-all-odds mode and it’s a great place to be. Especially because they are so young… but I still think something could change.
Unless LEE gets involved. Argh. My loyalties were stretched with this one because Viola turns into such a girl when she’s with him (“I laughed, too hard.”) Awww. But hot damn, I was a fan of Lee. I JUST DON’T KNOW. I hope MoM will go back to this because… arrrgh. I’ll say no more.
Except…holy moly, unexpected friendships (one of the best parts of this books… so beautiful and nearly moved me, no-soul-Jo, to tears) and unlikely alliances!

ARGH I can’t even begin to fathom this subject. But… Ness is the master at making you question everything you’ve ever believed in. EVER. OK, maybe not. But…. The lines are blurred, man. They are blurred.

Theme Tunes.

I am loving the jaunty juxtaposition between deep lyrics and the upbeat tempo when it comes to Ness, aren’t I?
But Johnny Cash’s masterpiece really captures the tone of the book, the issues that are touched upon and THE ENDING. Creepycreepyapocalypsenow….butminusthefatmentalmarlonbrandoanddancinglawrencefishburne.

And now for something that has never been done before on Wear the Old Coat…. I have chosen another song for this book. Because I couldn’t choose between the two of them. This song doesn’t actually have anything to do with the book… except the last couple of chapters… and THE ENDING. (I feel it needs capitals, OK?!)

Angst Scale.
9/10. I kind of wanted this to be higher than The Knife of Never Letting Go, which I also gave a 9, because Ness really pumped up his game (that’s not even an expression… see what this book does to me?!) with this one and it is a lot more complex and deeper than the first book. With the perspective of Viola, the subject matter, the ambiguous baddies, the journey of Todd, the unexpected friendships (which was soo heartbreaking) and THE ENDING, this book has a higher angst factor than the first. But it never goes into whiny mode, which is strange because I think Viola and Todd are the only two characters in YA fiction I would be OK with if they just had a whole chapter that they just whinged… because, seriously, they deserve it. I don’t want to give it a 10… because I’m guessing (and secretly hoping) that Monsters of Men will steal that title and rip out my heart. Don’t let me down, Ness.

Recommended For.

People who have read the first one, obviously… it would not make ANY sense if you haven’t read the first one. This is really difficult… because I don’t want to spoil anything. So I’ll give you two: People who love it when sisters do it for themselves. People who were thinking they were being a bit quiet and were on tenterhooks because they just knew that something horrifying was about to happen. AND, BOY, DOES IT.

I’M SO EXCITED FOR THE FINAL BOOK. I really hope Ness doesn’t pull a Mockingjay and ruin my life*.

*slight exaggeration. **

**Actually no, a part of my soul did die with that book.

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