The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness is a YA dystopia series about a planet where men’s thoughts can be heard out loud by everyone due to an alien virus. This series is amazing. The strangeness of the premise (and the obvious statement about our information-overloaded society), the break-neck pacing, and the violence made it hard for me to connect all the way with the main character, Todd, in the first book–but by the end of the third book, I loved the series even more than The Hunger Games (gasp!).
The series begins with The Knife of Never Letting Go, in which Todd is violently torn away from his family only to discover that he has been lied to his whole life about the planet he lives on. Every rule he has been taught proves to be a lie and he can’t even read the journal his mother left him explaining what’s happened. As the series progresses, we find out more and more about Todd, the story becoming more complex, fast-paced, and yes, violent as the series continues. Patrick Ness’s writing style is at times spare, but still engaging, and his characters are all compelling.
I did have a a few quibbles about the series. For example, I wasn’t completely convinced of why the main character was supposed to be so important (or how the evil antagonist knows he’s so important). I also didn’t completely buy into the peaceful “I can’t kill anyone” theme for the main character in the midst of terrible danger and warfare, but this was a central theme and obviously an important one to the author.
In any case, this is a definite must read for Hunger Games and YA dystopia fans. Just don’t expect any fun makeover scenes. :P