Sunday, June 3, 2018

Chaos Walking Trilogy - books 1 & 2

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

"Imagine you're the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit in with their plans... Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run..." - Walker Books Aus

Fans of YA fic in need of an edge-of-your-seat read will love this prize-winning novel.  I don't think I was able to put it down until I'd finished.  The premise is dark and unusual, and from page one, more than enough to keep me hooked.

Mystery is layered thick, with slow revelations throughout the story.  I love a good mystery so this ticked all the right boxes for me.  I also love a hero's journey narrative, and it was a LOT fun to read one set in an alien(ish) landscape  A cracking pace is set and maintained for the duration of the novel.  Plenty of danger lurking at every corner.  Some tragedy, some horror, all set in a world that is essentially Sci-fi (though feels much closer to Western).  Loved.  It.

With beautiful writing, and plenty of strangeness., The Knife of Never Letting Go is a definite fave for me  Can't wait to see it adapted for film!

The Ask and The Answer - Patrick Ness

"Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd and Viola once again face their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately imprisoned and separated from Viola, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode..." - Walker Books Aus

Book 2 in the Chaos Walking trilogy is a pretty different kettle of fish.  In terms of narrative structure, in terms of pace... Really, in every way different.  There is a lot that works well but overall this one hasn't hit the nail on the head for me.   A big detractor is Todd losing a lot of agency.  I really loved Todd in book 1.  I loved his journey, I loved his connections to loved ones, I loved how he showed courage and I loved his big ole sensitive heart.  I was disappointed to find him somewhat vanilla in book 2.

A big positive is one particular relationship he builds during the story.  I can't go into it without spoiling things, but it's touching.

Overall it feels like some of the momentum is lost (though still an action-packed novel).  There are some new characters to enjoy hating, and some sharp, unexpected twists that were entertaining.  A good read, but for me, not on par with The Knife of Never Letting Go. 

I'm a little of the way through Monsters of Men, the third and final instalment of the series.  I have to admit to not loving it, yet, and have dipped into other books meanwhile, but I'll get back to you with some thoughts when/if I finish.


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