BOOK REVIEW: The Ask And The Answer – by Patrick Ness

Title: The Ask And The Answer
(Chaos Walking #2)
Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: May 4th 2009
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd.
Finished reading: August 7th 2017
Pages: 536

“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.”

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Ask me why on earth it took me this long to pick up the sequel, and I don’t have an answer. Ask me why I always ended up reading other series instead of continuing with one I had already started and loved, and I don’t have an answer either. The fact is that it took me just about TWO years before I finally opened my copy of The Ask And The Answer (I checked). Like I said before, I really don’t know why because I loved the first book… And have had Patrick Ness on my list of favorite authors ever since. There is one thing I do know though: I won’t wait this long to read the final book. Because The Ask And The Answer has reminded me just how much I enjoyed reading about this dystopian world. True, the slang the men use still bothered me considerably (it’s probably the philologist in me who’s to blame), but that’s my only real complaint. The whole slang use (cuz, yer, thru, addishun, instruckshuns etc. etc) in Todd’s chapters was highly annoying, but I did appreciate the fact that this way it was very easy to distiguish Viola’s chapters, which do have ‘normal’ language. This sequel is quite easy to follow even if you don’t remember all the details of book one. How I can know this? It had been two years since I read The Knife Of Never Letting Go and I didn’t do a reread before starting with The Ask And The Answer; I was able to pick up the storyline quite easily anyhow. I quite enjoyed the sequel and learn about how things continue and see the main characters develop. The writing style is quite unique and apart from the slang I absolutely loved it. I had a great time reading this story and literally flew through the pages… You don’t feel it at all this book has actually 500+ pages. I can’t wait to read book number three now!

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book of this trilogy yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

They thought they would be safe in Haven, but what they found was something completelydifferent. Because instead of fleeing successfully the army that was trying to catch them, Todd has carried Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy. They are separated and imprisoned, forced to see the new way if they want the other to be safe… But can they be sure the other is still alive? Will they be able to escape and be together again?

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It’s been too long since I read the first book, so I can’t properly compare the two… But what I do know is that I enjoyed The Ask And The Answer just as much as the first book. I had once again the same reaction to the slang the men use in Todd’s chapters, which I found mostly highly annoying. That would be my only real complaint though and I still thoroughly enjoyed this sequel. I’m definitely going to read the third and final book soon now!


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WWW Wednesdays #149 – August 9th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’ve just started with Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, a title I’ve decided to finally pick up since I needed to read an author starting with the letter ‘I’ to complete my ABC Author challenge. I also need to read Dead To Me by Stephen Edger since the publish date is coming up soon… And I picked another classic to read: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I still can’t believe I’ve never read this book before! I must have seen the Disney movie a dozen of times when I was little.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
Initially I thought I was really going to enjoy this story and the writing style is without doubt enjoyable at first. I can’t point out the exact moment I started to enjoy Beautiful Broken Things less, but there is no doubt that the final part of this story didn’t live up to the promising start. There were certain things that started to bother me: the cliches, some of the characters and the way they act and think, the way important (darker) themes are handled… All in all not what I expected.

2. The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
Just give one look at that cover and you will get a pretty good idea of what is waiting for you inside. The illustrations of The Little Red Wolf are absolutely gorgeous and will make you happy by just looking at them. They are very detailed as well; full of little drawings inside drawings to discover the longer you look at each page. The story itself is a mix of typical fairy tale and something a bit more darker and haunting, which is why I don’t think it’s suited for the youngest readers… But age 6 and up should be ok depending on how sensitive the child is to tragic themes.

3. Hide And Seek by Richard Parker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/08
If you enjoy reading fast-paced, intense and slightly twisted thrillers, you will definitely be in a treat reading Hide And Seek. This story will have you in its claws right from the very first page and trust me, it will be very hard to stop reading before you reach the final page. Hide And Seek is a kidnapping story with a twist and a LOT of action and suspense. The only thing I wasn’t sure about involved the characters, but that was only minor compared to the rest of the story. Recommended!

4. Sister by Rosamund Lupton (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/08
Part of the problem I had with this book has probably been caused by reading it in Dutch, but I don’t think the language barrier was solely to blame for my negative reading experience with Sister. Between the superslow pace, writing style I couldn’t connect to and characters I never warmed up to, it was quite hard to actually enjoy reading this story. It was a very slow ride and it took me a whole month to reach the final page. The last part did improve considerably and the final twist was a huge surprise that will make you reconsider everything you read before. I don’t think that made up for the rest of the story though.

5. The Ask And The Answer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 14/08
It’s been too long since I read the first book, so I can’t properly compare the two… But what I do know is that I enjoyed The Ask And The Answer just as much as the first book. I had once again the same reaction to the slang the men use in Todd’s chapters, which I found mostly highly annoying. That would be my only real complaint though and I still thoroughly enjoyed this sequel. I’m definitely going to read the third and final book soon now!

6. The Other Girl by Erica Spindler (?/5 stars) REVIEW 15/08
Coming soon…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably going to pick up Monsters Of Men by Patrick Ness next because I really want to know how the story ends… The only reason I haven’t already is because I still need to finish my review of book two. I also need to read Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka urgently and Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan is also high on my list. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. I’ve been wanting to read this title for ages so I saw it as a sign it was about time I did when I opened the paper. Looking forward to be reading it soon!


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WWW Wednesdays #148 – August 2nd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently flying through Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard. The writing style makes it a very readable story even though the plot itself hasn’t blown me away yet… It’s not a bad read at all, just nothing I haven’t seen before in a YA contemporary. Suzanne’s character is quite interesting, although I could have done without the high school cliches and jealousy (even though it’s only in small doses thankfully). I also picked up The Ask And The Answer by Patrick Ness, but I haven’t gotten around rereading my review of book one to properly start it. Those who will have read The Knife Of Never Letting Go will probably understand why I wouldn’t want to relive certain scene, so I’ve decided not to do a full reread. I also managed to read another chapter in Dutch of Sister by Rosamund Lupton … One chapter is better than no progress at all right? 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Americosis Vol 4 by Haydn Wilks (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
No cover displayed since it’s basically a swearword… It might just have been I wasn’t in the right mood when I read Americosis Volume 4 and that’s why I rated it slightly lower than the previous three… But I did feel the excessive swearing and graphic scenes started to get out of control. It does read like a train and is basically an explosion of action and absurdness right in the middle of a dystopian America. The right person will probably love Americosis, but it is without doubt an acquired taste. The storyline set in the future was fascinating though!

2. The Lost Book Of The Grail by Charlie Lovett (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I really wanted to like The Lost Book Of The Grail and there were certain elements I did enjoy very much. The history of Barchester and its secrets is fascinating and I’m sure many will appreciate the bookish quotes and references. The pace is incredibly slow though and the plot feels both a bit chaotic and lacks action. I also had problems connecting to the characters and felt they lacked character development or at least originality. Such a shame!

3. The Girls In The Water by Victoria Jenkins (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/08
I wanted to read this one as soon as I saw the cover and this story definitely didn’t disappoint. Both the writing style and pace made it really easy to read this serial killer thriller and the case itself was intriguing. Lots of plot twists and potential suspects to keep you guessing and I always like that! I wasn’t completely charmed by the characters, but that would be my only complaint. Looking forward to book two!

4. Love May Fail by Matthew Quick (3/5 stars) REVIEW 04/08
I picked this up looking for something different and I definitely got what I wanted. I’m still not sure what to make of this book, as there were things I did and didn’t like… The writing style and tone are very unconventional, blunt, brutally honest but also refreshing. There was a lot of swearing involved though… I’m not sure I actually liked the characters, but I could appreciate the well incorporated themes such as mental illness, depression, suicide, midlife crisis and hoarding. I think it’s the first story I’ve read with a hoarder as one of the characters!

5. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/08
I have been wanting to read one of her books for ages and was actually going to pick up one of her other titles first, but decided to tackle The Lying Game first due to mixed reviews. I started with caution, but soon found myself hooked due to the writing style. Even though this story isn’t as fast-paced as I would have liked, it was the writing style that still made me thoroughly enjoy this story and the mystery around what happened all those years ago and what the friends are hiding. I can’t say I liked the character (actually despise Isa for how she treats her baby daughter), but the story itself was intriguing. I can’t wait to read her other books now!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up Hide And Seek by Richard Parker as soon as I finish Beautiful Broken Things, most likely later today, since I’ve been in the mood for a thriller and I liked how intense his other book was. I also want to read Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan… And A Different Blue by Amy Harmon is high on my list as well. I’ve been eying her other book The Bird And The Sword as well, but decided to read this one first since it’s a stand-alone. I also have a new TBR jar pick! Number 35 since I started using it: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. I’ve been wanting to read this title for ages so I saw it as a sign it was about time I did when I opened the paper. Looking forward to be reading it soon!


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WWW Wednesdays #147 – July 26th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m actually reading a short story called Americosis Vol. 4 by Haydn Wilks as well (although I’ll probably have finished it by now), but as the cover is basically a swearword I’ve decided not to show it on my blog (it’s bad enough it’ll show up on my Goodreads timeline xD) These volumes have been crazy rides so far and I don’t think this one will be any different. I’m also quite far into The Lost Book Of The Grail by Charlie Lovett, which is proving to be a goldmine for bookish quotes and references. The pace is superslow though and it’s taking me longer than expected to read it… I’m only a few pages into The Girls In The Water by Victoria Jenkins, but I’ll read it next since I’ve heard good things about it. And I made it to page 66 or chapter 4 of Sister by Rosamund Lupton (which I’m actually reading in Dutch). I’m not a fan of the story so far, although I’m not sure if it’s the language barrier or the book itself.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira (DNF at 32%) REVIEW 
I’m going to be honest and say I don’t think I would have picked up this story if this wouldn’t have turned up on my Netgalley shelf. I’m not a big fan of (cheesy) contemporary romance in the first place and Bookishly Ever After makes it definitely VERY easy to overdose on the high school cliches and romance tropes incorporated into the story. I’ve tried really hard to see beyond the cliches, but found myself too frustrated to be able to continue and finish the story. And I tell you, it makes me very sad to call Bookishly Ever After my second DNF this year! Part of the problem is definitely me though and I can see why fans of the genre would be able to enjoy it a lot better. Oh well, I guess we can’t like them all, can we?

2. Now You See Me by Sharon Bolton (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW COMING SOON
First of all I have to say that this book has probably suffered from the fact that I’m currently sort of in a slump and I can’t seem to love any book right now. Because there is definitely a lot to love in this first book of the Lacey Flint series. This book had me at serial killer and Jack The Ripper and I love how this old case plays such a big role in the story. It surely shows just how well the author has investigated this part! It’s a well written thriller with a lot of twists that will keep you guessing… I do have to say I never really warmed up to Lacey and the whole bantering between Joesbury and her started to get annoying. Also, the whole mystery around Lacey’s character and the twists and misinformation in the final part of the story sort of had the opposite effect on me and I mostly felt confused and frustrated instead of on the edge of my seat. I’m definitely still going to read the sequel though!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I actually started Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka before, but after trying a few pages I just couldn’t get into the writing style. I decided to put it on hold to see if it just wasn’t the right time for it… And read some other titles first. Probably next up will be The Ask And The Answer by Patrick Ness as part of the promise to myself to start reading my own books. I also want to read The Lying Game by Ruth Ware, which is actually an ARC but a title I’m really excited about. My newest TBR jar pick is still Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard, which I’m hoping to read some time soon.


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