Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy is my favourite series after Harry Potter, only missing out on the top spot for these reasons: a) there are fewer books and b) the fandom is smaller so there is less prolonged excitement. But still, it’s brilliant. I don’t think I’ll ever read a better science fiction series.
What this means, however, is that my relationship with his other book always goes something like ‘it’s not Chaos Walking, but it’s still Patrick Ness so I like it anyway.’ The same is true for Release. Good book. Good read. Probably won’t be obsessing over it six years after first reading it.
Release takes place over a single day. It’s a pretty crap day for seventeen-year-old Adam Thorn: one crap thing happens after another crap thing, each getting crappier each time. But it’s also an important day – one in which he finds his ‘release’ from the strings holding him back. There’s also a side plot about the ghost of a murdered girl, the Queen of some sort of alternative animal world and a guy with goat legs, none of which bears any relevance to Adam’s story until about three pages before the end (just when we thought this book was getting too realistic for Patrick).
I was lucky enough to go to first Release release (no idea why that wasn’t used in its marketing) event on my birthday.
I have enough quotations from the event to confirm in my mind that Patrick is the best, so enjoy:
YA tends to be about exploring boundaries; adult tends to be about being trapped by boundaries
You have to admit that there’s bad in both YA and adult or you sound like a cult member
Recognising yourself in a book is magic
Be afraid, but do it anyway
The Hunger Games is essentially Year 11
(That last one)
I also noticed that Patrick repeated a few of the (super intelligent, nod-worthy) things he said at an event I went to for his previous book The Rest of Us Just Live Here. It makes me think that he comes up with them in advance and deploys them strategically so people think he’s spontaneously insightful and intellectual, which sounds like a great idea so I think I’ll give it a go.
Now, onto the book itself.
I liked it X)
(I also have a very biased opinion)
Linus, Adam’s boyfriend, is adorable. Adam’s previous relationships are super realistic. Angela, Adam’s best friend, is great. Adam’s (homophobic) parents made me want to throw the book at someone (but also not, for fear of damaging the poor thing).
I even liked the (seemingly controversial) magical realism side story about the murdered girl and her faun. The main story could have held itself up without it just fine, but it added the extra supernatural touch that makes Patrick stand out. It was also quite poignant and there are little links to the main story that will probably be more appreciated upon a reread. Also, ghosts rising from a lake.
Overall: 4/5 not Chaos Walking, but I’ve learned to live
(Please can the Chaos Walking film be a thing, like now? I’ll probably be a stressed third year, dissertation-polishing student by the time I see it. Also, please can it be exactly like the book? Thank you. Yes, I know I only ask for small things.)