24 March 2016

The Ask and the Answer

Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking #2
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

I wasn't that impressed with The Knife of Never Letting Go, but it was unique enough that I decided to give the sequel a shot.  After all, we have a bit of a civil war going on in this novel, so it left the possibility of the plot to really expand away from some of the attributes that bogged down the first novel and the opportunity for the series to really take off in the middle portion.

Unfortunately, the opposite seems to happen.  While it's nice that the POV splits between Todd and Viola in this novel - which saves us from Todd's rather obnoxious voice and poor grammar fifty percent of the time - it doesn't do much else other than that.  The novel is lengthy but not never complex, apart from a few fundamental ethical questions that arise for the characters - and that the character's don't handle well at all.

Todd buckles under the pressure of the command of the Mayor/President and does little to nothing to stand up for himself, all the while still trying to be mopey about Viola (I am the Circle and the Circle is Me or whatever that nonsense is).  Davy has a father complex and just wants to be the son that his father is hoping Todd will become.  He never really stands up for himself and is pretty much a whiny weasel the vast majority of the novel.  And Viola?  Well, she doesn't seem smart enough to think for herself and to figure out whom she should really trust and why.

To some, this novel may be character building and may give deep insight in what it means to be human and the struggle of the human condition.  To me, it's a merry-go-around where we revisit the same plot points over and over again, going back and forth in the plot between the Mayor/President, Todd, Viola and then the Ask and the Answer.  There isn't a single character this time around that I'm really rooting for, because none seem to show any gumption.  They are just act like puppets pulled by different puppeteers.  The only character I actually find rather interesting in the Speck with the number that a chapter is named after.  That part is actually kind of interesting.  The rest?  The civil war, the fantasical way of using The Noise to control people?  Just not my cup of tea this time around.

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