The Ask & the Answer by Patrick Ness
Warning: If you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy The Knife of Never Letting Go, (reviewed here) – don’t read this, rush out and get a copy Book One, then read the second.
Book two starts immediately where the first left off; teenagers Todd and Viola are pitched into a living hell that doesn’t let up for 519 thrilling and chilling pages and it is not for the faint-hearted – there are graphic scenes of torture, both physical and mental.
Haven turns out to be the exact opposite of what they’d hoped, as the Prentisstown army led by the evil Mayor got there first, and eventually the women led by Mistress Coyne revolt – The battle between them reminds me strangely of the relationship between Sarastro and the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute. This leads to countless double-crosses and betrayals, yet through it all shines the beacon of Todd and Viola’s need for each other. The other key element is the treatment of the native alien, the Spackle. They are literally treated like animals in a concentration camp by the charismatic Fuhrer Prentiss. That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, to avoid spoiling it for you… Yet, the overall feel for me is still that of the Wild West frontier, with the Spackle as the native American Indians. It’s Fort Apache meets Gunfight at the OK Corral in a nouveau-Puritan version of Deadwood.
This is a book you’ll devour – but it will leave you gnawing with hunger for the third and final installment. I checked out Ness’s website, but there are no clues as yet to the title. It’ll be out next year – (bites knuckles) I can’t wait! (10/10)