The Ask and the Answer (with bonus short story): Chaos Walking: Book Two (Paperback)
“Grim and beautifully written. . . . Superb. . . . This is among the best YA science fiction novels of the year.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reaching the end of their flight in The Knife of Never Letting Go, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, while Todd faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
An amalgamation of society’s most brutal facets—fascism, terrorism, torture, ethnic cleansing—with all kinds of relevance to our world… a relentless flurry of heavy-hitting issues, hinging on appeasement, complicity, and maintaining one’s morality in the face of impossible choices.
—Booklist (starred review)
Provocative questions about gender bias, racism, the meaning of war and the price of peace are thoughtfully threaded throughout a breathless, often violent plot peopled with heartbreakingly real characters.
Ness takes his characters to new, dark places…the series continues to develop a fascinating world, and its fully formed characters and conflicts draw attention to difficult issues with a rare, unblinking candor.
—The Horn Book
Packed with action and moral dilemmas, this compelling read presents two inspiring, strong characters who act bravely in the face of evil.
—School Library Journal
Science-fiction fans, especially those who appreciate dark stories, will devour the first two novels, and they will eagerly await the conclusion to this planned trilogy.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Gripping story of two young people fighting to stay true to themselves and each other under terrible circumstances…stunningly clear depiction of the moral wreckage of civil war: power-lust, shifting loyalties, betrayals and seductive competing justifications for violence.
—Wall Street Journal
Are revolutionaries the same as terrorists? That's not just a theoretical question as we watch the protagonists forced into taking sides, especially as the ship arrives from Viola's home planet. Once again, the final chapter zings.
Ness is both accessible and sophisticated, handling big subjects — terrorism, feminism, genocide, love — in prose that is simple and heart-stopping.
—Sunday Times (UK)