Chaos Walking: Book Two
by Patrick Ness
Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2009
Borrowed from the library.
I read the first book in this series, The Knife of Never Letting Go, in January but did not feel competent enough to write a review. Now I wish I had, I also wish I had read that book again before reading this one. That said I think the second book of the series is even stronger that the first.
In first book we meet Todd and Viola who are running from and fighting against the forces of Prentisstown. It is a fast and furious novel with a cliffhanger of an ending. The Ask and The Answer takes up just were the first book leaves off.
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. From the jacket flap.
I do not want to tell too much of the story, because to say anything other than the story continues with Mayor Prentiss, and that there is a force fighting against him, would give too much away. Just know that this novel touches on many timely issues. It is a study of racism and prejudice. It is a study of trust and love. But, for me, it is a mainly a study of war, from every side. Ness touches on all the rationalizations of war, all the reasoning behind terrorism and torture, in a way that is honest and extremely direct. Bad things happen, good people do bad things, and every possible behavior is explained and excused by logical sounding arguments. Except that it isn’t.
“If you ever see a war,” she says, not looking up from her clipboard, “you’ll learn that war only destroys. No one escapes from a war. No one. Not even the survivors. You accept things that would appall you at any other time because life has temporarily lost all meaning.” From page 102.
That is one of the best thoughts about war I have ever read. I highly recommend this book. I think young adults and adults should read this series. Then they should talk about it, together if possible.
Here is another thought.
War makes monsters of men.
There is more, the ending is another cliffhanger and has left me waiting excitedly for the third book in this series. Patrick Ness has a fine web site. It can be found here.