Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Title:  The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: October 2009
Book Length:  479

First lines:  The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to say.  About anything.

Synopsis
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.
Or are there?
Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.
Which is impossible.
Prentisstown has been lying to him.
And now he's going to have to
run...

My Thoughts
The Knife of Never Letting go is the first book in Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking Trilogy, and was the Winner of the 2008 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, 2008 Booktrust Teenage Fiction Prize, 2008 James Tiptree Jr. Award, Shortlisted for the 2009 Charnegie Medal and Longlisted for the 2009 Manchester Award.  Now, WOW that's alot of awards!

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown and in one month time he will become a man at the age of thirteen.  The reason he is the last boy is because when the first settlers arrived looking for a simpler life, engaged in a nasty war with The Spackle, native species of The New World.  The spackles released the Noise germ, killing all women and infecting the men of The New world.  Everyone including animals can hear eachother's thoughts, even while asleep.

Todd is out one day collecting apples with his dog Manchee when they both stop and notice a break in the noise.  This is not normal, and for the first time in his life Todd realises that all may not be as it seems in Prentisstown.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is narrated by Todd Hewitt, written in first person present tense. Todd's education is minimal and the author shows this through the writing of the book, e.g stayshun for station, tho for though etc.  It's difficult at first not to stop and say, umm.. I think they missed a few spelling mistakes.

Todd is a really likable character, although not at first for me.  In all his flaws and bad spelling I really grew to love reading from his POV.  Manchee.. well, I must love the animals the most while reading books!  Manchee, Todd's faithful companion comes across as slow and not too bright at the beginning but as the story advances, shows to be a courageous and reliable character. There are other quite memorable characters throughout this book including Wilf and Viola.

Full of adventure and danger, Todd, Manchee and Viola have really got to battle the odds that are stacked against them as they run for their lives.

Knife of Never Letting go is a must read.  Fast paced, action packed, high stakes and a boy on the run.  What more could you want.  If you enjoy the dystopian or slightly darker fiction I recommend this one to you.  Just a handy hint, if you begin reading this and really enjoy it, make sure you have The Ask and The Answer handy, Trust Me!!

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