I'm keeping this short so as to avoid spoilers.
Screw you, Patrick Ness. This was the last book I read before my birthday and I still don't feel as manly or as bad ass as Todd effing Hewitt. I'm still reeling over The Knife of Never Letting Go. I still can't get over Manchee. I still can't get over certain acts committed in the last half of the first book.
I'm not getting over this one any time soon either.
We join Todd and Viola exactly where we left off in the first book: in Haven with the mayor standing over them. Except it ain't Haven anymore. It's New Prentisstown and the Mayor has a plan. This time we see things from both Viola's perspective and Todd's. And they both have differing ideas as to what's going on.
This time things are different. It's more than an army marching towards world conquest. It's now an occupying force in the only city left on New World. It's now turned into... dare I use the words sectarian violence? I do. There are
There's Patrick Ness toying with our emotions every step of the way as we realize that he's in control; he doesn't mind killing characters. He keeps things real; he makes the violence and the evil believable. He doesn't split people into unrealistic factions based on personality types, he splits people up like how they already are: by ideology. He does all this and includes telepathic powers and keeps it real. That's talent.
There came a point in Ask when I realized New World wasn't a civilization anymore. It's when the former Mayor of New Prentisstown is about to be executed. I wanted him to die because he was a smug coward who surrendered; Todd wishes the same thing on him. That's when it hit me: justice on New World is getting killed for what you believe. If you don't stand up for your beliefs and die in the process then no one is going to like you very much. You're better off dead. That's a brigand. Not a civilization.
I'm half-inclined to hope that when Viola's people do arrive on the planet they wipeout everyone there. None of them are very much worth saving. But who am I to make that judgement call?
I've already got the next book lined up in my TBR pile. That's high praise from me as I never zip through trilogies this fast. I hope the next book ends with a silence and not a ka-BOOM, though. I can't take anymore "exploshuns".
Full Disclosure: I read this on my Kindle. I needed to read it right away. I could not wait a week.