The Ask and the Answer

The Ask and the Answer Audible Audiobook – Unabridged

4.6 out of 5 stars 1,899 ratings

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Product details

Listening Length 13 hours and 44 minutes
Author Patrick Ness
Narrator Humphrey Bower
Whispersync for Voice Ready
Audible.com.au Release Date 14 June 2011
Publisher Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Program Type Audiobook
Version Unabridged
Language English
ASIN B00NW9ZUQA
Best Sellers Rank 12,424 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals)
24 in Fiction on Friendship for Teens
26 in Young Adult Fiction on Social & Family Violence
38 in Law & Crime Thrillers for Young Adults

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from Australia

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Ask and the long-winded Answer...
Reviewed in Australia on 8 August 2021
Actual rating 2.75 stars.

Picking up where ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ left off, we jump right into the action with Todd and Viola. Their dual points of view take our intrepid teens in two different directions as they struggle to get back to each other and prevent the planet they are on from imploding political tensions.

There didn’t feel like a lot happened in this instalment… and it definitely suffered that second book syndrome.

‘The Ask and The Answer’ almost put me into a book slump; it was very boring and long, the story took forever to get anywhere, and all the interesting bits happened in the last few chapters. I think because we delve into political movements and differing factions led by flawed and self-righteous people, there is a lot less science fiction and so much more posturing and maneuvering. The character development did not seem to grow our two main protagonists Todd and Viola too much apart from making them suffer inordinate amounts of pain, treachery, and heartache to shape them into possible leaders. It didn’t feel justified to me – and certainly not over 500 pages of it. We see both Todd and Viola challenge the system, and those in power, but we did not see them learn much from it. They spend their time reacting and surviving. I would have appreciated either of them having frank discussions on how to overcome, strategize, or even some psychological insight into those in power to better equip them in the battles to come. Instead they are tossed about like pawns on a chess board always a few steps behind.

I had pretty much the same opinion of all the characters at the start of the novel as I did at the end. And there is so much senseless death and destruction. The same about the plot too. We see something major happen in the beginning chapters and the book concludes with the groups still in much the same positions, and a few small victories for our protagonists. So ‘The Ask and the Answer’ left me frustrated because there didn’t feel like the characters or the story have changed or evolved much from start to finish – and this is one of the longer novels I’ve read of late. So much time invested for little return.

Patrick Ness has a lovely writing style. The use of dialect to distinguish between the two narratives for our protagonists make it instant and easy to recognise whose voice is whose. You get an instant picture of the setting of each scene, and the use of font and format for the mental projection of thought (Noise) of the males is unique… but all this goes up against unending violence, subjugation, and long monotonous monologues. I honestly felt like the whole novel is one big manexplanation.

I really wanted to love ‘The Ask and the Answer.’ I really did. It has all the trappings of a story that completely takes me over, but it didn’t execute it well enough for me to sing it’s praises. It was a struggle to read and put a stain on my experience for the world of Todd and Viola. Plus I still have a Manchee hangover…

For YA, I don’t think this is something I’m happy to recommend. That target market have less patience than I do, and this really felt more like a social commentary on racism and colonialization than it did on science fiction.
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Reviewed in Australia on 20 September 2018

Top reviews from other countries

The Girl With the Plants and Books!
5.0 out of 5 stars A fast-paced follow on from book one
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 April 2021
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Leitir
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind over matter - but heart before mind
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 25 December 2018
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Arkham Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another strong entry
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 May 2015
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Amber
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 January 2014
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Mr S Brannigan
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the first one, but still a great sequel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 November 2019
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