The Ask and the Answer, by Patrick Ness. It’s an odd – but very good – title, until you read the book and see why and how. It’s a cliffhanger book. After reading The Knife of Never Letting Go last year, I wanted the sequel immediately. Then after a while I wasn’t sure I wanted it at all. I could foresee more agony and waiting. The Ask and the Answer is extra cliffhangery on account of being piggy in the middle. It hangs both before and after.
But, you can bear it, if I can. I read a bad review of the book in the spring, which put me off, until I changed my mind again. Sorry, Patrick. Wishy-washy witches are not a pretty sight.
It’s not what you think it will be, and as far as I’m concerned that’s good. If it had been as expected, I would have liked it less. Some bad people may not be all bad. Some are, though. Not all good people are all good. This is a story that has you thinking new thoughts all the way.
This book is about war. It’s about manipulating people. Torture. Genocide. It’s really very interesting.
In the end, I think it shows that we are all pretty good and pretty bad, and you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, or if you do, it’s not the only solution. But more than anything; people can change. They really can.
And for Meg Rosoff; there is at least a horse which is quite nice. Doesn’t make up for the dog, but it is a nice horse.