Navigating the modern business of book publishing

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

The Ask and the Answer – The best sequel of the year, follwing on from the best young adult novel of 2008

The eagerly awaited second volume in the astounding and revolutionary Chaos Walking Series.

From its very first sentence, The Knife of Never Letting Go draws you into a rough frontier world distinguished by ‘The Noise’ – each man can hear every other man’s thoughts. Even animals’ thoughts are audible, though rarely worth paying attention to. One of the triumphs of the book was how cleverly and imaginatively Ness explores every implication of the Noise and integrated them into the plot.

After fleeing  from Prentisstown and being hunted at every turn, Todd and Viola find themselves delivered back into his hands of their nemesis Mayor Prentiss. The spackle town that Todd sought safety in has surrendered to the Mayor’s army and is well on its way to becoming New Prentisstown. Separated from Viola, Tom has little choice but to do the Mayor’s bidding in return for an assurance that Viola will be looked after. But separated they see different sides of this brutal new order, threatening the bond and unity of purpose that was so strong when they were together.

Expectations for this book are extremely high but Patrick Ness has succeeded in producing a thrilling yet extremely subtle dystopian novel that is, if possible, even more relentless on the reader. Where Book 1 focussed very much on the various implications and reactions to a world where men’s thoughts are not their own, The Ask & The Answer delves deeper into the gender divisions created by the fact that women are immune to the language germ. This means that women’s thoughts are private, breeding distrust and unease among the men. As all out war descends the Noise provides complicated layers of honesty and dishonesty that makes it hard to distinguish truth from propaganda. The love story between Todd and Viola is beautifully pure but heartbreakingly precarious under the extreme pressure of their situation.

Categorised as young adult, don’t let that put you off – Chaos Walking is one of the most exciting new series of the decade.

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Categorised in: All Posts, Book Reviews, Favourite Authors, Favourite Books, Fiction, SF & Fantasy

1 Response »


  1. Young Adult Book of the Month: August 2009 | Fiction et al

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About Richard

Richard Bilkey has been selling, marketing and distributing books for over ten years, managing independent bookshops, a major online retailer and, most recently, one of Australia's largest Independent Book Distributors, Brumby Books.

Contact Richard directly at
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