Book Review: The New World by Patrick Ness

The New World is the prequel to The Chaos Walking Trilogy, the first book of which (The Knife of Never Letting Go) I liked so much, and it has taken so much of my self-control not to buy the next two books. I have gushed like a teenager over the awesome-ness of The Knife – a thing I haven’t done over a book for like years already – and you can just imagine my delight when I discovered that there is a prequel to this amazing series.

The New World is a quick and short read, only 23 pages, and tells about the life of Viola and her parents before they landed in New World. I have only just recently explored the dystopian-fiction genre and so the futuristic theme takes quite a while getting used to, but the simple, engaging prose makes it easier for me to adapt to the “New World scene”.

I have grown to love Viola in The Knife and reading The New World, which is told through Viola’s voice, is very refreshing. The New World begins with Viola and her parents aboard the landing ship and finally seeing the New World with their very own eyes. Viola is shown here to be stubborn, but her stubbornness is being brought about by her fear of leaving the convoy ship and venturing into the New World. Glimpses of her life before getting into the landing ship is shown in a series of flashbacks and here we get to learn more about the character of Viola. In The New World, there appears to be no sign of the strong, brave girl I have read in The Knife but after I finished reading this novella, I can clearly understand where Viola got her courage to fight for survival despite the uncertainty in the New World.

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Hope is the central theme in the story, and I love how Patrick Ness wraps it up here:

“He smiled, full of love. ‘Hope is terrifying, Viola,’ he said. ‘No one wants to admit it, but it is.’

I feel my eyes go wet again. ‘Then how can you stand it? How can you bear even thinking it? It feels so dangerous, like you’ll be punished for even thinking you deserved it.’