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The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness Note: The less you know going into this series (and individual books in the series), the better. I urge you just to try it out and experience the crazy beautifulness of it yourself. We are the choices we make. This effin’ book. Just be prepared to be frustrated and stressed out of your ever loving mind. Nearly every single character will break your heart---I mean it. Even Davy freakin’ Prentiss (“When they cry, tho”--arghhh, sob!) The first 75% of this book will have you switching between shaking your Kindle in a blind rage and flailing around in an emotional wreck on the floor. Every time you think something can’t get worse you can almost hear the author snort derisively and scoff “You think this is bad? I can think of 10 more levels of messed up! Watch this!” Let’s just say that if you take blood pressure meds, make sure you have an extra supply lying around. While the first book in the series was action-packed, the sequel is a relentless grind of panic and despair. Todd and Viola find themselves on opposite sides of a rebellion, separated and powerless, with no perspective, no information and no one they can trust. Hindsight is an invaluable thing when choosing a side in war, isn’t it? But when you’re right there and it’s happening right then---how do you know? Is there even a “right” side or is there only the lesser of two evils? Nearly no one gets the luxury of seeing the full picture when making that decision. As a result there will be times of extreme frustration and sometimes even fury at the protagonists (particularly Todd, prepare yourselves). Honestly, there were several instances where I just wanted to punch Todd in the face and scream “don’t you see what you’re doing?!” But Todd is just so young and so afraid. It’s hard to remember that he is all of 14 (13? I know the planet has a different year measure than ours) and just recently learned everything he took for granted about his world and history was a complete lie. He has no information and is constantly fearing for Viola's life. And lest you forget, he can’t even try to work things through in his mind because every single person around him (most of which are enemies) can hear his every thought. Viola at least gets the benefit of a little more maturity (and lets face it, intelligence) and not being held by armed guards who can read her mind. Both Todd and Viola are constantly manipulated, seemingly always outwitted and outmatched. It seemed natural to me that their faith in each other was tested. Previously they had existed in a bubble with only one thought: survival. Now what little choices they can make are plagued by indecision and tormented by doubt. They are in an impossible situation. And then the last 25% happens...hooooooly shit. Here’s an accurate reenactment of me reading the last quarter of this book: And the ending? Forget about it. I didn't know whether to cheer or pee my pants. It blew my mind.Small notes: I absolutely adore the animals in Noise. And Viola, you continue to be a complete badass and I love you, but criminy! Maybe stop telling top-secret plans to the guy whose every thought is broadcast to everyone around him? Maybe? Oh and I mental cast Mayor Prentiss as Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare).