For those of you who have NO IDEA who this man is. Well. He wrote the Chaos Walking trilogy, considering of The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer & Monsters of Men, which are all pretty big over here in the UK. He also recently penned A Monster Calls which was based on a plot summary by the late YA author, Siobhan Dowd, who died of cancer a few years ago. This book is winning a lot of awards at the moment. Haven't read it yet, but it's supposed to be good.
Anyway, this book is the prequel to the Chaos Walking trilogy which features Todd and Viola looking to help the future of Prentisstown and find out the truth. They are an amazing set of books and I would recommend anyone to read them, they're long but they are worth every word.
Synopsis: In this short story prequel to the Chaos Walking trilogy, this story details Viola's past life, of which readers know little about. It shows her journey to the New World and what events occurred just before she meets Todd in The Knife of Never Letting Go.
Review: My reason for getting this book was largely because...it was free. It is a free e-book available at all good online bookshops, such as Amazon and Waterstone's. Firstly, I would say you don't have to read the Chaos Walking series to understand it, it just means some of the events that happen are a surprise for you, as these events are mentioned in the trilogy. So, no spoilers really for the book series.
The story is told from Viola's point of view, about their descent to the New World with flashbacks over their long journey from the ship, her past life and how they were picked to go. The book is set before anything in the Chaos Walking series happened so it is a clean slate, for those (like me) who can't remember everything that happened in that series.
Being a prequel, having read the series before, you know what happens ultimately because we know from reading the series. But there are still surprises and a side to Viola I had never seen before or learnt of in the books. It is worth reading if you have read the series, it does show this other side to her relying on her parents and wanting desperately to get away from them.
This book is written in the style of typical Patrick Ness which I love. Those short sentences followed by a beautiful description where you just read and read and then. WHOA. Big shock that you're not expecting. As the ship is descending, I was so focused. I read this on an 11 hour flight from San Francisco to London so I was tired and supposed to be asleep but I woke up so much when reading the last 10 or so pages. I felt the fear, the excitement, the anticipation of Viola as the events happened with a sadness as I has knowledge of what happens when they do reach ground. Through this sequel, I could see the future Viola that Todd and I love mixed in with this unusual side to her.
My only problem was I would have liked it to be a big longer. Okay, so I'm bias as I have a love for Patrick Ness' books but I would have liked just a couple more pages. Just until she meets Todd perhaps, even end it on that. With all that excitement, sadness and anticipation, I, and Viola, felt throughout, the way it ending just kind of 'happened'. I pressed a button on my Kindle and it was the end. I think that was the point as I was left there, thinking of what happens afterwards. And it is sad but knowing the end of Viola's story, it is also happy and I appreciated her as a character more.
This book can be read by anyone but enjoyed differently. I think for non-Chaos-Walking-readers it will be surprising and perhaps these readers will enjoy and anticipate it more. For readers such as me, this is still enjoyable and you get incredibly involved in Viola and her situation and enjoy reading of her past life, but I think these readers will be expecting more than they get - if that makes sense. Patrick Ness has once again produced a short story that is so exciting and hides every secret until the last possible minute. Oh. I love Todd and Viola...I loved this insight into her life, while knowing her future. Very original.
Verdict: May be a disappointing ending for some, but it's worth every word you read.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5
The New World is available only in e-book form from all online book sellers. I got mine from Amazon.
Author's Website: http://www.patrickness.com/