A Mix of YES and WTF: Release by Patrick Ness

31194576.jpgTitle: Release
Author: Patrick Ness
First published in May 2017
Tags: Young AdultContemporary, Magical Realism, LGBT+

Source: Purchased hardcover
Rating: four half_zpszfonypqk

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.


“When I realized how things were, when I said to myself that I am not this thing that I’ve been told I have to be, that I am this other thing instead…the label didn’t feel like a prison, it felt like a whole new freaking map, and now I can take any journey I want to take and it’s possible I might even find a home there. It’s not a reduction. It’s a key.”

Okay, so, people have mixed feelings about this book. It reminds me of The Rest of Us Just Live Here in the sense that it’s somehow both contemporary, and fantasy.

The contemporary every-day aspect of Release is the biggest part of the book, but it’s interrupted by short chapters of a truly bizarre tale about a dead drug addict looking for her killer and… a faun? I don’t know, it’s weird, and I admit I didn’t pay enough attention to it in the beginning so it went over my head a little. I’m sure if I read it more carefully I’d get it, but alas. There’s some Deep and Metaphorical Meaning here, but honestly, I just care about Adam’s storyline. 

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness [REVIEW]

22910900The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
First published by in August 2015 by Walker Books
Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary
Buy: Amazon | Book DepositoryB&N

Source: Library

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What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

It’s been two months since I finished this book so it’s about time I write the review. Those of you who don’t know anything about this book might wonder why I classified it as both fantasy and contemporary, as ‘contemporary’ in the blogging world tends to refer to realistic non-fantasy books. Well, this book is set in a world where fantasy stuff goes down, but the book still reads largely like a contemporary because it focuses on regular people (mostly) and their every-day lives. It’s about those people in the background, who watch the chosen ones with weird names run around fighting vampires and zombies and blow up the school on prom night. Yeah, you know those people, we’ve all seen those shows and read those books. 

But what about the people in the background? What are they doing while all this is happening? And how do they deal with the consequences of the chosen peoples’ drama? Well, they just live there, and this time we’re pulling the background into the foreground and putting all the special kids (called “indie kids” in the book) in the backdrop. They go about their daily lives and their own personal battles. Everyone’s a hero in some way. 

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Review: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

19547856The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking #2 (Completed trilogy)
Published by Walker Books in 2009
Pages: 536
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
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Book 1: The Knife of Never Letting Go review

If you haven’t read The Knife of Never Letting Go then I don’t know what to tell you because there will be spoilers here. I don’t recommend reading this review if you have plans to read the first book but haven’t yet.

Let’s start with a brief summary. 

The novel starts off directly after the first one and we find Todd imprisoned by President Mayor Prentiss and Viola being healed by the women, led by Mistress Coyle, of New Prentisstown Haven. Todd and Viola are separated and desperate to find each other again, but they both fall victims to the manipulative forces of the two opposites sides in the civil war now breaking out on New World.

It is a novel about war and resistance, of bombings, terrorism, and genocide, and yet it is very much a psychological thriller compared to The Knife of Never Letting Go‘s action-packed cat-and-mouse adventure. I love me some psychological thrillers and dramas, but I found the first half of this book to be a bit slow at times, thus the slightly lower rating than the previous book. Don’t despair though, because shit went down in the second half and the first half did have some really interesting parts, namely Todd and Davy Prentiss’ work with the thousands of captive Spackle. I loved reading about that, it was awful and heart-wrenching but so interesting. 

One of the really interesting things about this novel is how Ness approaches the topic of war. He makes sure both sides (Mayor Prentiss’ and Mistress Coyle’s) are realistic in the sense that no side is completely good. Both sides do terrible things, both sides get a lot of innocent people killed, and Todd and Viola both have to struggle with that, wondering whether or not the other has been a part of the horrible things the other side has done. 

The novel is told from both Todd and Viola’s perspectives this time around and we are told when the POV changes so it’s no problem keeping up. Todd and Viola also have different fonts, which was a nice way to ensure you don’t forget who’s speaking since it uses first person.

The character development here is great too. Ness made the highly unlikable Davy Prentiss Jr. likable, so much so that towards the end he reminded me so much of my all-time favorite fictional character and that just punched me right in the gut. DON’T PLAY WITH MY EMOTIONS LIKE THAT. 

And of course Ness ripped my heart out in the end once again, as if Manchee wasn’t enough. Goddamn it. I’m still not okay. If you’ve read it you probably know what I’m talking about. 

Patrick Ness is so good. I don’t even know what it is exactly, but he’s so good. There’s something about this series that just comes to life in my head when I read it, I see everything. It’s like a movie and it’s beautiful. I’m usually good at visualizing what I’m reading but I don’t know, this just comes to life in a completely different way. I’m swear I can ever hear the background music when I’m reading. 

Go read this series, it’s great. I don’t dare to think about what’s going to happen in Monsters of Men, which is no doubt going to be an even bigger war with probably two more opponents. 

Have you read this book? What did you think? 

Review: More Than This by Patrick Ness

MORE THAN THIS by Patrick Ness

Published by: Candlewick Press
on September 1st 2013
Pages: 472
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, LGBTQIA
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
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“Here is the boy, drowning.”

This book starts with the main character drowning. Yep, he dies. That’s not a spoiler because that’s there in the very first sentence. Seth is a 16 year old boy and he drowns in the ocean. And then he wakes up, bruised and thirsty but seemingly alive. Where is he? And how did he get here? 

You shouldn’t go into this book knowing anything more about it than that. I knew nothing more than that and I’d have been a bit angry if I did, because the thing that makes this book so good and so exciting is not knowing what the hell is going on. Did he actually die? And if he did, why and how is he here? Is he in hell? Heaven? Or somewhere else entirely? And why was Seth in the ocean in the first place? 

This book is so. good. I was hooked from the very beginning on both the plot and the writing. It’s a survival story and I love those. It keeps you guessing. It keeps you scratching your head and asking yourself “how??” “why??” I personally love that about books, as I’ve previously said in my review of The Knife of Never Letting Go, also by Patrick Ness.

More Than This is split into 4 parts and while the first part might come across as slow to some, that first part was my favorite. I found it intense, engaging, and quite terrifying in its utter desolation. In the second part things changes, and you might have to reconsider your theories on what’s going on. You will have to do that a lot while reading this. 

The characters in this novel are great too. It alternates between present time and flashbacks to Seth’s life before, dealing with his family and friends, where we find out about a tragedy from his childhood that has shaped his entire life. Tomasz is one character that I really liked. What a cutie-patootie.

Another thing I really loved is the casual homosexuality in this book. It’s very matter-of-fact, like it should be, no big deal. 

This book has a pretty open ending and while I liked how it ended I’d kill for a sequel. You’ll find out why that is if you read this book, which you should. John Green says it best in the blurb: “Just read it.”

Have you read this one or other Patrick Ness books? Have your read anything similar to this, because if so I want it right now. 

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking #1 (completed trilogy)
Published by: Walker Books
on May 5th 2008
Pages: 497
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Love Triangle? No
Buy: Amazon | Bookdepository
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I listened to this on audiobook (11 h 55 m), narrated by Nick Podehl

Todd Hewitt is about to turn thirteen, which makes him the youngest in Prentisstown, a small town with only men. Where all the women went is a mystery Todd doesn’t know the answer to, all he knows is that the only place women exist anymore is in the imagination of men. That already sounds creepy enough, but to complicate matters further everyone can hear each other’s thoughts because of something called the Noise germ. Just before he turns thirteen and becomes a man, something terrible happens that forces Todd to flee from his town (the only one on the whole entire planet as far as he knows) with only his dog for company. Though fleeing is difficult when the people coming after you can hear your (and your dog’s!) every thought.

And then Todd meets a girl. 

The Knife of Never Letting Go is first and foremost a survival story. If you’ve read Ness’s More Than This already then you know he writes excellent survival stories. 

“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.”

The last time I listened to an audiobook it was probably in my parents’ car on one of our vacations when I was younger. So I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, but I stumbled upon this one and decided to just sit down and listened to it because I’d wanted to read the book for a while, but my book store didn’t have it and shipping from amazon is too expensive to me. So, I decided to go for it and I actually really, really enjoyed the ride.

The writing style in this trilogy is very much oral. A lot of words are written how they are pronounced (stayshun for station etc) and there is an accent even in the narration, like “yer” for “your”. This made the book very suitable for audio, because actually hearing the accent instead of trying to make it sound right in your head (it always sounds stupid when I try) was very beneficial to me. I also know that this writing style can be annoying to some. If you’ve tried to read this but got distracted or annoyed by the writing then I really recommend trying the audiobook because the story is worth it. I was very amused by the way the narrator said certain things. “Sheeeeep.” 

As for the story itself, phew, what a roller coaster, the plot is definitely something I haven’t read before. I liked being confused about what was going on and what had happened in the past, I love having to wait before I figure out what is going on. The story was fast paced, something was almost constantly happening, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Then I realized another perk with audiobooks. You know when you’re reading something really thrilling and suspenseful and then your eyes betray you and flicker to the bottom of the page or paragraph and you accidentally spoil yourself? You can’t do that with audiobooks, you’re constantly surprised. No need to block the bottom of the page with your hand to avoid ruining the scene. 

There are sad parts, happy parts, heart pounding parts, it has everything I look for in a book. The characters are believable too, especially Todd. And Manchee, the dog. Sweet sweet Manchee. 

I’m really looking forward to reading the next two books. I found physical copies at the library, so I’m going to try that now when I have the voice of the character in my head. I don’t have to imagine what the accent might sound like anymore, so I think I can read the rest of the two books without feeling distracted.  

I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you’re into dystopian fiction, survival stories, or just generally like a darker read. You have to be able to stomach a bit of gore  (not that much) and children in life-threatening situations.