Review: The Chaos Walking Trilogy

The Chaos Walking Trilogy is a series written by Patrick Ness. It’d been on my TBR list for a while, but this past month I’ve finally got around to reading them.

Verdict: fantastic! It’s a beautiful series which explores questions around human nature and morality – secrets, truth, family, love, integrity, leadership, redemption, good and evil… It’s brilliant.

It’s not for the faint-hearted though – it has war, death and quite shocking brutality in it.

The trilogy is set in a dystopian world where all living creatures can hear each other’s thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise. All except human women, that is. The two main characters are two adolescents, Todd Hewitt and Viola Eade, who are forced to grapple with various emotional and physical conflicts as their world shifts and changes.

The first novel is narrated entirely by Todd, the second is told through the viewpoints of both Todd and Viola and the third book is narrated by Todd, Viola and a third character, The Return. Each of books 1 (The Knife of Never Letting Go) and 2 (The Ask and the Answer) end of cliffhangers. The trilogy is best seen as one story told in three parts, as the narrative runs at a cracking pace throughout. It is an emotional rollercoaster and so, so good. The way Ness develops the characters is very well done.

My only quibbles were that I found the cliffhangers kind of irritating – I think if I’d had to wait for the books to come out (instead of having borrowed all from the library at once), it would have been quite frustrating. Ending the first two books at their climax point and having their resolution be the first part of the next book is jarring. It works, but it’s not my favourite technique. Also, as the books are told via first-person narration, when Todd has the POV, be prepared to see a lot of spelling and grammar oddities. It was jarring during the first book, but by the last book I barely noticed it – it’s just what Todd knows.

See Patrick Ness’ website here for more books and a detailed description of the trilogy and go get your hands and eyes on the books! https://patrickness.com/book/

A screenshot of the banner for Patrick Ness' site, reading: 'Patrick Ness, Twice Carnegie Medal Winner' to the left, the middle has images of the three Chaos Walking books and the right side says '10 Years of Chaos Walking'

And if you’ve read them, seek out the short stories – two prequels and a coda – that follow the trilogy. Wonderful world-building. Lovely! I’ll have to update my “Fandoms” post…. tbh, it’s well overdue for an update.

One thought on “Review: The Chaos Walking Trilogy

  1. Pingback: Fandoms, Updated | myzania

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