The Ask and the Answer
Chaos Walking #2
We were in the square, in the square where I’d run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her – But there weren’t no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men…
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. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode…
“The Ask and the Answer” is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure. This is the second title in the “Chaos Walking” trilogy.
Publisher: Walker Books LTD
Published: May 4th 2009
Possible Spoilers For: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Torture, Death, Bombing, Murder, War Themes, Sexism, Misogyny
“…Never love something so much it can be used to control you. “
I’m… mad? Emotionally spent? Tired? Hurt? I had to put this book down multiple times because I was getting anxious, worried and stayed in a constant state of disbelief. Yes, it was a bit slow and it did take me a while to get to it, but I love this series so far.
Told from both Todd and Viola’s POV, we get to see both sides of ‘New Prentisstown’. Viola is assigned as a healer, and Todd is under the Mayor er… President Prentiss control, both doing what needs to be done to keep the other safe.
“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.”
The plot takes a turn when it comes to themes. Yes, this still handles tough topics and definitely does not hold back, but things are amped up here. There’s a war and genocide and terrorism. There’s this sense of doom as our main characters are kicked down repeatedly every time they think they gain an inch.
This story is compiled of sacrifices and willingness to do what must be done to make sure the other is safe. And at the center is Viola and Todd and their platonic love for each other was heartbreaking yet hopeful.
“Me and Todd? Together against the Mayor?” She smiles. “He doesn’t stand a chance.”
This book makes you think. What is it that makes you a good person? What’s the limit? If it’s done with good intentions, is it still evil? How can we be sure the choices we make are right? This book is definitely darker than the previous
not saying the last book wasn’t dark .
Because Todd goes through some things. Every choice he made was for Viola and vice versa. There would be moments where they would see each other, only to be wretched away and Todd often punished. He truly goes through some massive character development. And there’s also the inclusion of Viola’s POV was interesting. Her thoughts are neat and orderly; she adds a feminist B-plot with her narrative and getting to see a more personal side endeared me to her even more than I already was. We see how much she cares for Todd, the sacrifices she made were just as tough.
“It’s not that you should never love something so much that it can control you.
It’s that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled.
It’s not a weakness.
It’s your best strength.”
But not only do we have the villainous President Prentiss, we also have Mistress Coyle. She wasn’t as scary as President, yet was at the same time. I wanted to trust her and often times did right alongside Viola, but knew in the back of my mind that she was up to something.
Now, though there is no romance here— there’s too much happening for anything romantic to take place, you begin to wonder if the love and dedication and loyalty between them could go in that direction. You can see it teetering the line but, I don’t really have an opinion because I genuinely don’t know. Would I want them together? Sure. I ship the hell out of Todd and Viola. However, I’m perfectly happy with how their relationship is now. Because this book is so much more than that. This book is beautiful and I highly recommend.