This review has been so long in coming! I finished reading the The Walking Chaos Trilogy by Patrick Ness around Christmas time and I’m so excited to finally share the review with you!
Todd Hewitt lives in Prentisstown, a village where privacy is impossible. A disease called the Noise causes everyone’s thoughts to be broadcast and makes it futile for anyone to keep secrets. But one month before he is about to become a man, he encounters something he has never seen–or heard–before in his life: a girl.
In a snap decision, Todd rescues her from Aaron, Prentisstown’s fanatical priest, who tries to kill her because she doesn’t have Noise. Todd and the girl, Viola, must then run for their lives to a town Todd didn’t know existed called Haven, all the while closely pursued by a deadly secret somehow held for years from Todd by the Prentisstown men.
The Knife of Never Letting Go
What I liked:
The tension in this book is so, so high. I could not put the book down, I was on the edge of my seat and it doesn’t ever let up!
I loved the concept of a planet where people and animals can hear each other. It brought a whole different level to situations and character interactions. Not to mention, Todd’s dog, Manchee, is totally my favorite. His “dog thoughts” made me laugh and his loyalty to Todd made my heart swell.
I also love how earnest Todd is as a character. Even through doing what has to be done to save his and Viola’s life, what he feels he should do as a person, and what he feels pressured to do in order to “come of age,” he fights to stay true to himself. He just wants to do what is right, and he agonizes over it because he is at war with what he is being told and his conscience.
What I didn’t like:
At first, the narrative is so hard to swallow, but I wouldn’t call it “bad writing” because there is a reason for it. Everyone’s thoughts are projected, so the narrative is basically Todd’s stream of consciousness. He is barely educated and the words he says are spelled phonetically. It is a style choice that is executed intentionally and consistently, but I struggled to get used to it.
- Violence: High, graphic at times.
- Language: Medium. Todd uses a lot of replacement words, and there is 1 f-bomb.
- Sexual content: Low. Mention is made that the men miss their women and imagine them naked, but it is nothing sexualized or graphic for the reader.
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars, highly recommend
The Ask and the Answer
What I liked
Again, the tension was AMAZING. The power struggle between the Ask and the Answer groups felt complex, grey, and the way they embroiled Todd and Viola was heartbreaking.
Ness did a great job escalating the stakes in this book. The action was fast paced and I could see it really well.
What I didn’t like
Because of the deep point of view we get for each narrating character, stuff happening in the Noise gets confusing. However, it makes sense for the world because the Noise is people’s thoughts projected and you get the truth through two filters: the person who is projecting the Noise and the person who is interpreting the Noise. Again, it didn’t feel like bad writing, but I did get confused on some things because we weren’t told them outright.
- Violence: High and graphic again. Torture plays a big part in this one.
- Language: Medium. Again with the replacement words.
- Sexual content: Low. Some people are naked in the torture scenes, but nothing is described except wounds.
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars, highly recommend
Monsters of Men
What I liked:
Ness has conflict escalation down. He did an amazing job of showing it through power shift. In the entire series only one antagonist gets killed. Ness manages to show bigger and bigger threats and climaxes than the book before and I love it.
Additionally, without being spoilery, there was an event in the climax that I DID NOT see coming. It was a super bold move by Ness to include it, it totally fit, and it left me reeling.
The ending was so satisfying. All the people I disliked by the end got what they deserved and it made me so happy. Ness also added a third POV to our cast of narrating characters that I totally called, and was so excited to see.
Finally, I loved the short story included at the end of this book. I felt like it really added to the world and gave us a better picture of what happened after the conflict in the series.
What I didn’t like
In all honesty, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like. All of the small beefs I had with the previous books didn’t bother me at all by this point cause I was used to them. I will say the third POV character was a little hard to understand at first, but I was able to catch on pretty quick. I got used to that voice a lot quicker than Todd’s.
- Violence: Again, high. But instead of brutality through torture and tyranny, it was war brutality. So not much better, but definitely different.
- Language: Again, pretty mild.
- Sexual content: Low. There is a brief moment when a couple characters unintentionally start fantasizing about their love interest in their Noise in front of their love interests, but nothing is described and the characters cut it off in embarrassment.
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5, highly recommend
Overall, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 on the full series from me! I highly, HIGHLY recommend this read!