The New World by Patrick Ness

I guess I'm off to a late start with this novella but better late than never. I am a fan of the Knife of Never Letting Go, the first book in Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Trilogy (see my review here). While I haven't gotten around acquiring the last two books and his newest release A Monster Calls (with Siobhan Dowd, illustrations by Jim McKay) I thought this little novella might stave off the hunger for the aforementioned books.

Viola and her parents were chosen to be the first party to be sent off in order to scout what supposedly will be their people's new settlement, referred to as The New World. Everyone seems excited about living in an actual planet except Viola who fears that their might be dangers unbeknownst to them in this new planet. During the course of their journey, something went terribly wrong that resulted in a crash landing of their spaceship. Will this "New World" confirm Viola's worst fears?

I've always loved Viola as a character in The Knife of Never Letting Go, she came across to me as a very smart, strong and determined girl. One whom you don't want to mess with but this novella presents a whole new side of her. In this story, she becomes like any normal girl. A girl who goes to class, has a favorite subject, has friends, has to deal with a mean girl her age, has to think about birthdays and graduation, loves her parents but most importantly she shows vulnerability by being a girl with fears and doubts, and that made me love her even more.

Aside from giving us a new side of Viola, the story also explained her origin and how she came to be in Prentisstown and eventually collide paths with Todd Hewitt but this can be treated as a separate read from The Chaos Walking Trilogy.

But what made me applaud this story is how Patrick Ness used "Hope" as the main theme. Being inhabitants of a spaceship off to make a new home in an unknown planet, hope has got to be a prerequisite for them, to have that sense of optimism about what lies ahead. It makes sense. If they let themselves be governed by fears and doubts how could they move forward? Have they lost their chance at having to live better lives because of fear of the uncertain? Which leads the story at some point to the "what-if-it-is-what-if-it isn't-argument".

Viola: "I sighed heavily. ‘No one ever seems to wonder what happens if it turns out we hate living on a planet? What if the sky’s too big? What if the air stinks? What if we go hungry?’

Father:‘And what if the air tastes of honey? What if there’s so much food we all get too fat? What if the sky is so beautiful we don’t get any work done because we’re all looking at it too much?’

(Viola)I turned and closed up the coolant tube cases. 

Viola: ‘But what if it isn’t?’

Father: ‘But what if it is?’

Viola: ‘What if it isn’t?’

Father: ‘What if it is?’

Viola: ‘Yeah, this is getting us somewhere"

I've been in this kind of conversation with numerous people and I identify myself with Viola a lot in the sense that I tend to likely be the depressed, bleak, suspicious, skeptical, glum-chum more often than I'd like to. Now, could having this kind of outlook be detrimental to Viola especially now that they have finally landed on The New World? More so, that they have "crashed" landed. You'll have to read the novella to find out and take note of the ingenious thing her mother did that could have perhaps helped in Viola's survival. A terrific short read altogether. 

A FREE pdf copy of The New World can be found here: Booktrust


  1. I'd love to read this, too! This is the first time I've heard of the novella and I'm excited to get a copy. :)

  2. @dementedchris
    Hi Chris! Oh, you should go and get a copy! It's a Patrick Ness fan essential. Haha :). There's a free pdf copy if you head on over to Booktrust. I'll add the link in my review. :)

  3. A trilogy! I love Series!!! I would make sure to read it in order (hahaha). Does it have a dystopian vibe to it?

  4. @Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks
    You know, I've read two books that are both the second installment in a series. I also have a tendency to pick and reads books not knowing that it's part of a series. Haha. Yes, it definitely has a dystopian vibe to it! I hope you get to read this series! :)


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