Hope in the New World

The New World by Patrick Ness
Chaos Walking # 0
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Number of pages: 24
My copy: ebook

In this dramatic prequel to the award-winning Chaos Walking Trilogy, author Patrick Ness gives us the story of Viola’s journey to the New World. Whether you’re new to Chaos Walking or an established fan, this prequel serves as a fascinating introduction to the series that Publishers Weekly called “one of the most important works of young adult science fiction in recent years.”

* * *

When Aaron tweeted about this book novella, I squealed inside the office. No joke. I immediately called my friend Jana from her workstation, who squealed too, and once again with me, when we found out it was free. This book was one of the reasons we disrupted the peace and quiet at the office that Friday afternoon.

It’s no secret that I loved Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go, and I was really looking forward to reading the next two books in the trilogy, especially since Monsters of Men came out in paperback last week. Although I haven’t read the second and third books yet, my friends have told me so much about it that I know I would probably like it as well. When you like a book/series this much and you haven’t even read it all yet, any companion novel is bound to make you excited. At least, that’s how I see it.

The New World is a 23-page novella that tells us how Viola landed in the New World (aka Todd’s world) and glimpses of her life before she reached the planet. Here, we meet her parents, as well as some of her friends and we get to know about her, most especially her survival skills. The prose is sharp and the action flows smoothly through flashbacks and the present time. It’s not as raw or awkward as Todd’s point of view was, but I think Viola’s voice was very accurate to how I knew her from the first book.

This was a very quick read, and I was kind of hoping to read a bit of a crossover with the story in Knife in Viola’s POV, but there was none. However, I agree that this novella can be read even if you have read the three books already or if you are new to the trilogy — it really doesn’t matter. It may seem to be a bit spoilery for some events in Knife, but it’s not really a big deal, IMHO. If you’re kind of daunted by the title or the thickness or the story in the first book of the Chaos Walking series, then The New World is definitely a good place to start in this awesome series. :)

Rating:

Cover & Blurb: Goodreads

In My Mailbox (7)

Another week has gone by and it’s time for another In My Mailbox post! In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store.

Contrary to last week’s major stash, this week is pretty…small. :) I was a good girl this week, and my wallet is no longer that mad at me. *beams*

Bought:

  1. Grace by Elizabeth Scott (Fully Booked). I am not really the biggest fan of Elizabeth Scott, but after reading Stealing Heaven, I’ve decided to give her a chance. I WoW-ed this book after Adele’s rave review, and when I saw it at Fully Booked, I had it reserved immediately. This one will be for my YA-D2 reading challenge. :)
  2. The New World by Patrick Ness (Amazon Kindle Store – free). Much thanks to Aaron for the heads up for this novella. I don’t have to explain about why I want to get this book, too, right? :) I finished reading it last night and it did not disappoint. Review to follow soon. Review is up! :D If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the PDF here.
  3. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (Fully Booked). I don’t have to explain why I am very excited about this book, right? I’m so glad it went out in paperback this week, and I am so glad I can read all books straight after the other. :)

For review:

  • To Kill a Warlock and Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory (via Smashwords). The author sent me an email asking if I wanted to review her books, and…well, right now I don’t say no to free books. I don’t know when I’ll be able to read this, but these books seem to be right up my alley. Let’s see if my view of paranormal romance change with these. :)

Other stuff:

I also received the One Lovely Blog Award from Grace of Fiction Spark. Thank you so much! :)

That’s pretty much it. See, I told you I was nice to my wallet this week. What’s in your mailbox this week?

When one falls, everybody falls

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Chaos Walking # 1
Publisher: Walker Books
Number of pages: 479
My copy: US paperback, bought from Fully Booked

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

Which is impossible.

Prentisstown has been lying to him.

And now he’s going to have to run…

* * *

I’ve heard a lot of good reviews for this book from various book blogs and book friends, but I never picked it up because I wasn’t into dystopia back then. In fact, I saw a copy of this book a couple of times in Fully Booked but I always ignored it. No time to read it, I always think.

After some really strong recommendations, I finally got a sample from Amazon and read the first few pages, thinking that if I really want it, I can always get the Kindle edition. But as I read on, I knew only one thing: I MUST HAVE THIS BOOK. Not the ebook, but the actual print book, because there are parts of the book that just looks better in print. Unfortunately, on the day I decided I wanted the book, the only copy in the Fully Booked branch nearest my office was gone. :( My friend Jana, who also wanted the book, got to the last copy first, so I would have to wait. *grumble* Thanks to the wonderful people of Fully Booked, though, for transferring a copy to Eastwood a week after I inquired to them about it. Of course, I wasn’t able to read this immediately, and it wasn’t until about a month from when I got this that I got to read it.

You can never go wrong with a book that starts with a talking dog, especially one that says, “Poo, poo.” The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness starts this way:

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything.

“Need a poo, Todd.”

I must do a Russell from Up impression here: “BUT IT’S A TALKING DOG!” :) From that moment on, I knew that even if I didn’t like the book in the end, I’d still be fond of the talking dog.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect as I read this book because I stayed away from as many spoilers as possible, so I plunged into the book knowing only the basic stuff: Todd is the last boy in Prentisstown, where only men live and everyone can hear the other person’s thoughts. Then he discovers a “hole” in the noise, complete silence that is impossible in the world he grew up in. Todd is then made to run far, far away from Prentisstown for reasons he couldn’t understand, which leads to a chase to a world outside he thought never existed.

It took me a while to really get into the book, despite the talking dog, because of the way Todd talks. The Knife of Never Letting Go is written in Todd’s point of view, and growing up in the New World has given Todd a different way of talking, which may be because of the deterioration of education in Prentisstown since the boys don’t go to school nor read. Most of narration becomes Todd’s actual thoughts, most of which spill over each other and sometimes goes on and on without periods that I ran out of breath while reading it even if I was doing so silently. The language is reminiscent of The Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski, but more rough and raw as I wasn’t just seeing things happen, but feeling them since I had access to Todd’s thoughts (and whoever’s Noise he can hear).  It took me a while to get the hang of it, but when I did, the book gripped me and refused to let go.

Patrick Ness is one heck of a writer, and I admire him for never being afraid of hurting his characters. As a (wannabe) novelist, I always have problems with hurting my characters because they’ve grown close to my heart as I write them, and hurting them feels like I’m hurting myself. If you’re that type of reader who grows attached to characters they read and hate it when they get hurt…well, be prepared because Ness can be pretty ruthless. I always get a sense of dread whenever Todd would end up content and somewhat happy in one place because I know the author is just preparing to bring out another big gun that would send Todd and his companions running. It’s not bad, of course, but rather very effective because it kept me reading, rooting for Todd and wanting him to win it in the very end. The action scenes were satisfying, the running and the panic felt very real, and Ness kept the mystery of Todd’s history kept very well up until the revelation point, and he didn’t reveal everything so much that all questions were answered.

It’s not just senseless action or violence, either. Every action and everything that Todd does has a bearing in the end, one that helped him grow as needed at the climax of the novel. Todd’s realizations is not only applicable in his world, but also in our world and in how we strive to get something we want or to be someone we want to be. I find this quote from the book very true (emphasis mine, and don’t worry, no spoilers):

“Here’s what I think,” I say and my voice is stronger and thoughts are coming, thoughts that trickle into my noise like whispers of truth.

I think maybe everybody falls,” I say. “I think maybe we all do. And I don’t think that’s the asking…I think the asking is whether we get back up again.

The Knife of Never Letting Go truly lives up to its hype. I’m lucky that I read this now because I don’t think I could have waited so long to read the next book because the ending is just…well, I’d leave it to you to find out. And I must warn you as well: there may be a part when you’d want to stop reading the book and mull over what happened a bit, and maybe even shed a few tears. I did that. :P

I can’t wait to start reading the next book, The Ask and the Answer, which I am reserving for the YA-D2 reading challenge. The Knife of Never Letting Go is a dark, fast-paced and action-packed dystopian novel that will surely have you at the edge of your seat. If you see this in the bookstore, don’t think twice: just get it and read. I promise you won’t regret it.

Rating:

All Things Dystopian (YA-D2 Challenge)

Lately I realized that I have been avoiding the shelves I frequent in the bookstore when I started reading more. By these shelves, I mean the shelves that contain paranormal romance, and even plain contemporary young adult romance. I don’t really know when or why it started, but I find myself not getting interested in any of the new stuff under those sub-genre. More often than not, I feel relieved when I decide not to pick up the book especially after I find some of the reviewers I follow say that they didn’t like the book or it’s a Twilight derivative. I mean, who wants that, right? (No offense to anyone, of course)

After some time, I realized again that I seemed to have found a new pattern to the books I have been reading lately, and I can only blame some of the guys I got to know recently for this new sub-genre fascination.

Friends, I think I fell in love with dystopia.

Aaron posted about this last week, and he managed to convince me to try out this challenge on top of the other challenges I’m doing. I figure, what the heck, right? It’s not like it’s going to be a hard challenge, anyway, what with all the dystopia books waiting on my TBR shelf.

So, yeah, here’s another one for my challenges for this year. I’m joining Bart’s Bookshelf‘s YA-D2: The YA Dystopian Reading Challenge. You want something crazier? I’m going for the die-hard’s choice:

Welcome to Level 3.

Oooh, how ominous. According to the challenge:

Level 3: Is for the dystopian die-hards! Minimum requirement for this level is five young adult dystopian novels, between the 1st October and 19th December. There is, however no maximum cap, you can keep reading for as many books as you like!

Just five, huh. I could do that. I mean, I set to read 20 fantasy books this year, and I lost count at how many I read this year. So, unless the world ends or the zombie apocalypse comes, I don’t think there would be a reason why I won’t be able to finish this challenge. :)

And now the books I will read for this challenge. Much thanks to Aaron for pointing them out of my shelf. :D

  1. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
  2. Gone by Michael Grant
  3. Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
  4. The Dead of the Night by John Marsden
  5. Z by Michael Thomas Ford

Wait, just five? I think I still have some I can add to this list! Some reserves/alternates, in case I don’t get to read the others for some reason, or in case I feel like going on and on and on and on until the challenge ends.

And that should be enough. I guess I’ll take today up until the end of September to read the other “normal” books I have before I plunge into all the end-of-the-world/post-apocalyptic dystopia goodness. :)

In My Mailbox (3)

And…it’s another week is with good stash! Strangely enough, my wallet isn’t screaming bloody murder at me for buying so many books this week — maybe it’s because I got some extra funds from my freelance work. It’s not enough to get myself custom laptops, but it’s enough to get new books! :) That, and I got myself a Fully Booked discount card, so yay!

In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store. Here’s what I got this week:

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor’s new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode…”The Ask and the Answer” is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure.

I wasn’t planning to buy any book this week, but Fully Booked sent me a message and told me my book is there…so I couldn’t just not get it. I also got my discount card that day, so I got another 5% off from the book. Awesomeness.

Audrey, Wait! by Robin BenwayAudrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed.But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets.

The one who saved me…and the one who cursed me.

So begins the journal of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?

The day after I got my freelance pay, I had this weird urge to go to the bookstore. Okay, it’s not weird, but there’s the urge. I really just intended to browse, but then I saw Audrey, Wait! and I know there were good reviews for that, then I saw The Monstrumologist and remembered it was posted on the Fully Booked newsletter. Looked promising. I had to debate between that and The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, but the cheaper book won.

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London, where he belongs. Then Andi’s biggest wish comes true and she’s minutes away from becoming someone’s little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he’ll turn out to be tall and just as mad as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he’s tall all right. But he’s not just tall …he’s a GIANT. In a novel packed with humour and quirkiness, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

I found out about this one from Chachic and Tarie, and I was interested but I planned on waiting for it, but my editor asked me to review it. I got a copy of the book in Powerbooks Trinoma, after the Goodreads Filipino group meetup (will post about that later! :) ). I finished this one today and…well, expect a review, soon. :D

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

And my last purchase for the week. Highly recommended by…well, everyone, actually, so I thought it’s about time I got myself a copy. Plus I liked the sample, and the idea that the book is narrated by Death. I also have a feeling I’m going to cry in this novel — maybe it’s because of the WWII references? This is my second WWII novel (first one being The Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene Chai, but I’m not sure if that counts).

And that’s it for this week. I think I’m going to curb my book buying after this…okay, maybe after I finally get that copy of  The Demon’s Lexicon in Fully Booked Eastwood. After that, I promise to stop! :)