Audio Review: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

From Hicklebee’s Part two of the literary sci-fi thriller follows a boy and a girl who are caught in a warring town where thoughts can be heard — and secrets are never safe.

Reaching the end of their flight in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, while Todd faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?

I had a lot of trouble reading book one in this series, The Knife of Never Letting Go. I could see it was beautifully written, that the story was crazy imaginative, but being a Southerner I felt peeved with the blatant misspellings to make the population of Todd’s village seem backwoods. I was ready to abandon the series. Then Brilliance Audio sent me The Ask and the Answer for review on disc. Oh, how I wish I had listened to the first instead of reading it. I was able to enjoy the story without feeling Southern = Stupid.

Todd and Viola have made it to Haven, but they arrive a little bit too late. Mayor Prentiss beat them to the city and has already taken over. Todd and Viola are separated and Prentiss has a plan, a very dastardly and ingenius plan.

Read by Angela Dawe and Nick Podehl The Ask and the Answer is addicting to listen to. The narrators build a sense of urgency through-out the novel, leading to the conclusion -and oh, what a conclusion- that keeps you switching disk for disk to hear more.

The story is told in multiple PoV and each narrator does a fine job of emulating the voices of side characters when their PoV is on display. I cried tears during this book. Ness is swiftly on his way to becoming a favorite of mine and I can’t wait to listen to the conclusion of this series.

The plot is meaty and the side plots full of thick gravy, its hard for me to comprehend how Ness came up with every small nuance of this world. Masterfully written and brilliant voice acting make this book my favorite audio of the year.

You can pick the series up on the cheap or listen to a sample at

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