Chaos Walking Trilogy

A Review


Photo Courtesy of

By Jacqueline Ho, Writer

If you see some nerdy, short-haired girl sobbing in the hallway with tissues in one hand and a book in another, well, that would be me. For anyone who reads for pleasure, you know that feeling when the books you read are slowly killing you from inside out. Like most current YA authors, Patrick Ness is yet another sadist who finds pleasure by emotionally scarring his readers. In Ness’s brilliant trilogy Chaos Walking, laughter, pain, love, hatred, confusion, more pain, and even more agonizing pain awaits you.

    The series revolves around twelve to fourteen-year-old Todd Hewitt who lives in Prentisstown on a new planet called New World after our old world’s resources were used up. On this new planet, Todd and the other men in town live with an illness known as Noise, where all their thoughts are broadcasted to everyone around them. However, all the women including Todd’s mother die as a result of the Noise. After some unexpected events occur, Todd must flee from his hometown with only his talking dog, Manchee, where he discovers that everything he believed in was just lies piled upon lies.

    You would think a series about a twelve-year-old boy and a talking dog wouldn’t be all that special. You might think that Ness’s unique writing style is a complete turn off. Trust me, if you put down the book, you will miss out on an eye opening, emotionally traumatizing series. This is no typical YA book or “Boy saves the world” kind of series. Ness focuses on serious themes such as gender politics, racism, war, redemption, and the difference between what is considered good and evil. He is able to amaze us with nail-biting action and shocking plot twists while slowly making you fall in love (or hate) with his well-developed characters.

    This series has some of my favorite literary characters since not only are they complex, but they are some of the most imperfect perfection I have ever come across. Through all three books, Todd’s character development is outstanding as you see him transform from an ignorant, ordinary boy to a courageous young man. Of course he has his fair share of mistakes along the way, but how he overcomes them is what makes him even better. “‘I think maybe everybody falls. And I don’t think that’s the asking. I think the asking is whether we get back up again’”. Though Todd is one impressive character with his flaws, I admire how Ness still reminds us about how young he is when coming across such a difficult obstacles. Though some “villains” seem a bit unrealistic, Ness is able to manipulate the readers into seeing multiple sides of these characters. He makes you wonder if a character can be considered a freedom fighter or a terrorist or if one who seems unforgivable may become redeemable.

    With so much to love about this series, one of my favorite parts was the relationship between Todd Hewitt and Viola Eade. Yes, I know she’s a girl and I spoiled it. Oh well. Anyways, Ness doesn’t dive into any romance such as other authors who have their two protagonists already making out halfway through the first book. They just became teenagers so I wouldn’t expect them to have romantic interest in the other for a little while. The way each one cares for the other is one of the most heart-wrenching themes of the series. At some points, the two somewhat drift apart because of all the terror and suffering they endure, but at the end of the day, their pain and love is what links them together.

Though there is so much more to the series I wasn’t able to touch upon, it’s physically impossible for me to share with you how amazing these books are. I beg of you, if you are an avid reader of unique, action-packed, emotional roller coaster books, I highly recommend the Chaos Walking trilogy. If you have read it though, please find me and we can cry over everything that happened in book three together.