Todd and Fiona have arrived in Haven only to discover that it’s not a haven at all. It’s New Prentisstown and Mayor Prentiss has now declared himself the president of the entire planet. Fiona is seriously wounded and whisked from Todd’s view to heal, used as a threat to get Todd to cooperate. Todd himself is locked up with the old mayor of Haven, forced to spend time with Mayor Prentiss’s son Davy and commit ever more horrible acts against the Spackle during the day. When rebellion begins, Todd and Fiona begin to wonder who the Answer are and what is going to happen to New Prentisstown.
This is going to be a short review because I read this and Monsters of Men right after each other. I have quite a lot to say about the third book, but this one has somewhat blended in with it, so my observations are less clearcut. Still, I thought they each deserved their own post.
While I wasn’t so crazy about The Knife of Never Letting Go, I thought it was worth reading the rest of the series to see what happened with Todd and Fiona. This book was the perfect follow up for me because it took a step back, slowed everything down, and really fleshed out the world and the story. I’m not a huge fan of breakneck, breathless books, and so this was a breath of fresh air as Todd and Fiona stay in one place for the most part. They learn more about what happened in the past and they start to take strides towards changing the future. Their bond still remains very strong even though they’re apart for most of the book.
I can easily say the high point of this book for me was Todd’s relationship with Mayor and Davy Prentiss. I loved how the relationships gradually changed and were fleshed out as well as how genuinely true to life they were. Davy strives for his father’s approval but has never had Mayor Prentiss’s extreme, if cruel, strength of character, so he’s always going to be a failure. Todd does have that strength, and as a result Davy is almost naturally drawn towards him even if they’re enemies at first. It’s a fascinating dynamic and all of their emotions rang beautifully true for me.
By the time I finished The Ask and the Answer, I’d become a loyal fan of the series and could not wait to start Monsters of Men. I’m surprised by how much the book turned my feelings around, but I’m very glad, because Patrick Ness is a masterful writer and plotter.
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