‘Without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.’
‘”War is like a monster,” he says, almost to himself. “War is the devil. It starts and it consumes and it grows and grows and grows.” He’s looking at me now. “And otherwise normal men become monsters, too.”‘
I feel that the Chaos Walking trilogy can only really be reviewed all together, as a whole.
Each book is so closely linked to the one before, and each time the story begins exactly where it left off.
Todd Hewitt is the last boy left in Prentisstown; a place full of ‘noise’ where the private thoughts of every man and animal are audible. He has been told that all the women were killed by a ‘germ’ released by the native species; the Spackle.
One day Todd stumbles across a patch of complete silence, but that’s impossible, isn’t it?
Soon he begins to uncover the secrets of Prentisstown, and discovers that everyone has been lying to him…
Along with his dog Manchee, he must flee the town and escape the Mayor, only then can he discover the truth about his world.
It is by far one of the best stories I have ever had the pleasure to read. Once you become engrossed in this trilogy, it will take you over. You will find yourself thinking about it day and night, worrying about the lives of the characters you feel for so strongly.
It won numerous awards including the 2009 Costa Book Award, The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and many others, and I am not the least bit surprised.
‘It’s not that you should never love something so much that it can control you.
It’s that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled.
It’s not a weakness.
It’s your best strength.’
This is by no means a light read. It is deep, heavy, engrossing, all-encompassing and beyond brilliant. I did feel a bit overwhelmed in parts, especially by the time I reached the third book, Monsters of Men. There is just so much going on, so many psychological factors, and an awful lot of war, but this just adds to the wonder of these books. They are so detailed, so well thought out, and the characters feel more real than I ever thought possible in a novel. It is an exhilarating read, and frankly, an astounding and heartbreaking three novels.
In the first book The Knife of Never Letting Go, and the second The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness occasionally shows huge amounts of ‘noise’ by big overlapping scribbled words on the page. This is such an inventive technique and so effective at making you feel as if you are right there in the middle of story. I have recommended this trilogy to everyone under the sun, and have had many pleased parents come back to tell me how both they and their teenage children have thoroughly enjoyed it.
This is definitely not just a book for children, it is for adults too. So far, I haven’t met a single person, either adult or child, who didn’t enjoy the Chaos Walking trilogy.
I actually want to cover Patrick Ness with huge hugs and kisses for bringing such a brilliant series of books into the world. You genius, you. 🙂
Suitable for age 12+
Original Book Girl
N.B. This trilogy was actually recommended to me by the wonderful Lindsey Barraclough, author of Long Lankin.