11 May 2012

The Paving on the Way to Hell

Fantasy/sci fi/YA | Patrick Ness
Warning: minor spoilers

Last month, I finally read the second and third books in the Chaos Walking trilogy, The Ask and The Answer and Monsters of Men. Considering that these books are not available in India, and I had to get someone to handcarry them for me from the USA, you can be sure the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go, must have had something going for it. The first book introduces us to Todd, the last boy in Prentisstown, a town on another planet, with very American settlers. But you are on another planet, you realise. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts here, and there are no women. The Mayor wants something from Todd. His parents (both men) want him to escape. Todd runs. Meets Viola, the sole survivor of the crash-landing of a scout spacecraft from the second wave of settlers. But the Mayor is after him. Todd and Viola run for Haven. The Mayor follows, with death in his wake. At the end of the book one, we are faced with the truth of Haven.

Book two, The Ask and The Answer, has Haven resisting the Mayor. But the Mayor has mind-control. And the only cure for the incessant leakage of men's thoughts. Yet Todd wins. Or does he? This book humanises Davy, a great achievement.

Book three, Monsters of Men, refers to 'war makes monsters of men'. What does the Mayor want? War. And he gets it. War with the aliens who live on the planet. (Aha, shades of American settlers again). And what does everyone else want? Peace. So what do we get? War. Is this book as grimly relentless as book one? Hmm, given that book two held out more hope than book one, you can safely guess: no.

A great series. Good for all young and not-so-young adults to read and enjoy. And, despite having one of the most villainous villains ever, as well as a social construct that is all too evilly possible, this book is less grim than the series by Peter V Brett.


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