Friday, August 28, 2009

the noise

the other day, over breakfast, i finished patrick ness' the ask and the answer, sequel to the knife of never letting go (2008) which was probably the best book i read last year - YA or grown-up. (if you've not yet read TKONLG, minor spoilers ahead) TAATA did not disappoint me. gripping from the start as i rejoined todd, who i left at the end of TKONLG arrived in haven, reunited with the evil mayor prentiss and with viola lying, bleeding to death from a gunshot wound, in his arms.

v and t have been separated, neither knowing the fate of the other. but they both tell their own stories in alternating chapters - t initially from his jail cell and v from the house of healing in which she finds herself. the plot rushes breathlessly onward and we meet old enemies (many) and old friends (sadly, few) as well as a large cast of newcomers. we meet the spackle again, coralled like livestock in haven - now 'new prentisstown'. knowing who is good and who is bad, where everyone's loyalties lie, is impossible to gauge. the book remains one step ahead of you...until occasionally - sickeningly - you just know what is about to happen (and you can't stop it!).

TAATA is confronting and disturbing; examines the questions of war and of loyalty, explores love and responsibility. At times the plot seems far too familiar: when certain characters are chastised for performing atrocious acts of war they defend themselves by pronouncing they were merely carrying out orders of others. a mocking mayor sneers at them and replies: 'The refuge of scoundrels since the dawn of time.' (p. 456)

for older readers...all of them. read it.


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