Series Review: CHAOS WALKING by Patrick Ness

Series Review: CHAOS WALKING by Patrick Ness
The Chaos Walking Trilogy
Chaos Walking

Written by: Patrick Ness
Published by: Candlewick Press
Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Pages: 1229
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: The Rest of Us Just Live Here

(Synopsis for Book 1: The Knife of Never Letting Go)

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.


I wanted to do something a little different with this “review”, because a) I’ve never written a series-review before, and b) I adored this trilogy so much, I honestly just didn’t know how to cope with writing an actual, well-reasoned review. I also read all three books back-to-back in a sort of Chaos Walking readathon, which was the best and worst decision of my life. My feels are still recovering.

So, instead of a level-headed review, I want to lay out a few hypothetical scenarios in which you shouldn’t read Chaos Walking. :O

(Spoiler: This just means I use lots of double negatives to tell you that you need to read this series. Shhhhhhhh, I’m trying to be sneaky.)

So here we go!

1) Do not read Chaos Walking if you don’t like…
original worldbuilding and unpredictable plots.

One of my first reactions to this series (okay, I was probably only 3/4ths of the way through the first book when I thought this, but still) is that it should be required reading for all fans of YA dystopian. This series perfectly balances excellent worldbuilding with fantastic character development and growth, plus a gripping plot and break-neck pacing. It’s also one of the only series I’ve read that was truly unpredictable, which is sort of a rarity for me recently. For the entire series, I would make predictions about where things were going, only to be completely blindsided by whatever turn of events actually ended up happening, and I cannot tell you how amazing that experience was. There’s usually an element of predictability with any of the books I’ve been reading lately, and Chaos Walking just… really, it reminded me what drew me to the YA dystopian/sci-fi genre in the first place. These books are the embodiment of my Goodreads shelf, “This is how it’s done, folks.” Because this is how good sci-fi/dystopian is done.

Continue reading