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Book one of the author Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy is called The Knife of Never Letting Go, and it’s a hard-hitting, gripping, whopper of a dystopian tale. Thirteen-year-old Todd Hewitt has grown up on “new earth,” in a colony that fled the turmoil of our planet for a back-to-basics, simple way of life. But life on this new planet has a strange side effect: men can hear each other’s thoughts, and the result is world of terrifying chaos and pandemonium. In Prentisstown, Todd was taught that this strange phenomenon was a virus that killed the womenfolk. But when Todd stumbles across the last thing he ever expected—a girl who can’t hear what he thinks—everything he knows is about to change. In book one, Todd and the girl, Viola, flee to a city that they believe is a safe haven. But by the time they arrive, their supposed refuge has already been taken over by the vile, sadistic mayor of Todd’s hometown. After this cliffhanger ending, things go from bad to worse in book two, The Ask and the Answer. Todd and Viola, fearing all the while for each other’s lives, are separated. Todd is forced into the “Ask,” Mayor Prentiss’ oppressive regime, and Viola winds up in the care of the “Answer,” a rebel group hell-bent on stopping Prentiss. Both sides are determined to use whatever means necessary, and the result is always violent. There are no easy answers for Todd and Viola, who grow more desperate and disillusioned with the turn of each page. Still, these are two of the most determined kids in recent science fiction literature, and the reader is just as unlikely to give up hope as Todd as Viola. Provocative and un-put-down-able, readers will want the third volume (Monsters of Men, due spring 2010) close at hand.
posted Mar 26, 2010 at 10:28PM
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