Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Book Series Review: Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

Out of everything I have ever read, watched, seen and listened to, there are six things that have happened in fiction and art that have made me cry. These six things are:

  1. Dobby's death in the Harry Potter series 
  2. the ending of the second Narnia movie
  3. when Klaine broke up (both times)
  4. the last chorus in Waving Through a Window from Dear Evan Hansen
  5. The Art of Racing in the Rain 
  6. the entire Chaos Walking trilogy. (I was crying throughout, ok, it's time to explain)
Out of everything that I've ever read in my entire life, the Chaos Walking trilogy has put me through more emotions than everything else combined. I've never cried, shrieked, or made more of a scene on a public transport train before reading those books. I feel like these books have altered the way I view reading, and I will be surprised if anything I ever read again will surpass the ridiculously high bar that has now been set by these books. I love them so much and I love the characters so much and I honestly don't know what to do with all the love I am experiencing right now so I am channeling it into getting more people to read this series. Yes. Please read this. 

Okay, I should probably discuss why I love this series so much, right? That is the next step. Okay. 

Disclaimer: I will never be able to give this series the full justice it deserves.

The basic idea behind the first novel is a future civilization of humans living on a planet called New World after an ugly war with an alien species. Except, all of the women on the planet are dead and because of a germ released by the alien species, everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts always. It is a place where one is perpetually surrounded by Noise. The protagonist of the first book is a boy named Todd Hewitt, just on the cusp of becoming a man. He is the last in his town to become a man, and he has a very adorable talking dog. (I'm not doing the book much justice am I) One day, while Todd is walking in the forest, he comes across a silence in the Noise, and he uncovers a dark secret hidden in the Noise, and soon has to start running for his life. 

The first novel has many twists and turns and surprises, and even though there are a few moments you do see coming, there are also many others that have you in your seat, gazing down at your book, completely shell shocked at what you just read. The threads from the first book continue and are resolved in the next two, with each book piling on more depth and a deeper understanding of the world where the book is set as well as the main concepts of the book. 

The world building in this series is phenomenal, and you are painted a beautiful portrait of a world similar yet also quite different to our own. (I don't want to spoil everything, but as you see more of New World you also see the different cultures and dialects of the beings that live on it and it's fascinating). 

The deeper messages the book conveys are so incredibly powerful and vary from how powerful love is and how powerful your love for a person can be to redemption as well as sacrifice and forgiveness and trust(I have yet to really further analyse these themes but just reading the series as a whole makes the themes obvious as you can see the different parallels and recurring ideas). 

The writing style is so unique. In the second and third books the narrator alternates between two and then three characters and each has their own way of speaking. I usually dislike when books switch between several narrators, but Patrick Ness is such a literary genius that it all flowed together perfectly and I couldn't stop turning pages. The second book contained the most romantic battle scene I've ever read and it was so powerful I cried in the middle of Chapters and then collapsed on the floor and cried some more in the aisles when I couldn't find the third book twenty minutes later and then hallucinated seeing Daniel Radcliffe working there. The books have a lot of pages but are still each easy reads because of the way it is written, simply and beautifully.

The character development of even the secondary characters is better than what I've seen in most primary characters in most of the other books I have read. The two main characters are on a whole new level of complex and incredible and are both now on my list of top 5 favourite fictional characters. I empathized with both of them and fell completely in love with both of them, understood their actions even when they were being foolish, and remained in awe the whole time at how well-written they were.

Lastly, the romance in this series. Holy. Moly. I have never been able to fall in love with a fictionaol relationship so easily before. I felt every emotion both characters felt and cried at every turn and just wished for their happiness. I felt their pain. I felt their love. Both characters were teenagers and I couldn't believe how seriously the author took teenage love, and how he put these two people together and made them fall for each other and made me fall for their falling for each other. There was such an excitement-inducing slow buildup to the two characters officially getting together, but it also was clear all along just how in love they were with each other and how they were meant to be.

I've never read or watched anything like that in my life where love between teenagers was represented as such a powerful, unbreakable thing. Patrick Ness has a remarkable understanding of teenagers, and I've never seen an author respect and understand what it is truly like to be a teenager and to feel such strong emotions. It was the least stereotypical romance I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. Both characters were flawed but they both loved each other so much nonetheless.

I think the peak in my emotions was the four minute long voice recording I sent to my friend while tears poured down my face of me explaining why I loved the series so much and in particular the two main characters and their love for one another. There are tear stains in my book.

There are tear stains in my book. 


Patrick Ness, I just want to thank you for creating this beautiful underappreciated world and these extraordinary teenage characters and for being the reading highlight of my summer.

In conclusion, I think this is one of the longest blog posts I've ever written and if you manage to make sense of all this word vomit, then good for you. The main point I'm trying to make is that Chaos Walking is beyond words astounding and I'm so thankful I came across it. Writing this post was semi therapeutic for me as no one who I've ranted to about it has cared very much. Being able to write down all my feelings on the subject was helpful.

please read this book



  1. This sounds really good, I'll have to see if my library has it.

  2. SCREAM. I WANT TO READ THIS SERIES SO BAD. it's been on my tbr since FOREVER. i'm going to check the school library tomorrow because it sounds SO. FREAKING. GOOD. lovely review !!

    ~ noor

  3. This sounds like an amazing series, although I'm not sure if I'm ready for all of the feelings hehe :))

  4. THIS SOUNDS SUPER GOOD AND I WANT TO READ IT RIGHT NOW. But unfortunately homework calls and I should probably being doing that instead of adding even more books to my tbr pile (though it's now more of a mound that than a pile...). Anyway, I love this review and will definitely picking up this series. Oh, and DEAR EVAN HANSEN IS HONESTLY AMAZING AND I LOVE THAT YOU MENTIONED IT.

    - Edie