The Knife of Never Letting Go by

The first thing you find out when your dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to say.
–Patrick Ness - The knife of never letting go - c.2008 - pg. 3

ISBN: 9781406310252
LibraryThing ; Wikipedia[1]
Chaos Walking # 1

I wasn’t too convinced that I was going to like this book when I first started reading it. The first chapter didn’t grab me and I really wasn’t too enthralled by our narrator. To be honest, I didn’t really like him all that much. But the second book just won a Costa, and this one has plenty of awards to its name too, so I figured I’d give it another chapter or two. And once I got into the story I really was hooked.

The story is told to us by Todd Hewitt, a boy just a month away from turning 13, the birthday that will officially make him a man. He lives in Prentisstown, the last remaining settlement on the New World after the war with the original inhabitants. A town with no women, where he is the youngest. A town where you can hear everyone’s thoughts and feelings, and a world where all animals can talk. Even if they don’t have anything to say.

But then he encounters a silent spot in the “Noise” and suddenly he is on the run from everything he grew up with. And slowly realises that nothing he has been told is true.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

This book is extremely well written. The reader only slowly realises what is going on, oh you have your speculations, but you learn along with Todd. And he himself becomes so much more of a character than the moody young teenager of that opening chapter.

At first I was a little bothered by the style; it is first person and is written to convey a little of how Todd might speak. So we have tho instead of though, and cuz instead of because. But this only annoyed me for a little while. I quickly got so into the book that it merely became part of the story rather than something that leapt out at me every time I spotted it. Plus it does help establish what sort of society Todd comes from, as it makes you think of Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer.

This is a book that works on pretty much every level. And the ending will make you hope you can get your hands on the sequel as soon as possible. It isn’t happy, it isn’t resolved and you must know what happens next. I’ll have to wait til tomorrow when I can nab The Ask and the Answer.

As well as good story it also raises the topic of gender and the roles societies assign people based on whether or not they are men or women. But don’t worry, it isn’t a heavy-handed hitting you over the head look at gender. No preachiness here, thank god.

Other reviews: The Guardian[2] ; Things mean a lot ; Stephanie’s Confessions of a Book-a-holic ; Well-Read Child ; Wands and Worlds ; Save Ophelia ; YA fabulous ; More on technorati


As Patrick Ness has joint American & British citizenship I’ve tagged him as both. He was born in the US.

Linknotes:

  1. beware of spoilers here
  2. First chapter

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6 Responses

  1. lena says:

    I love love loved this. I picked up the second one yesterday – and have only been able to put it down to get, you know, obligations out of the way and such. I'm glad you gave it a shot and liked it (:

  2. She says:

    I felt the same way about it in the beginning. Most of that had to do with the language style used. You're right though, it was pretty fabulous once you got past it all. I definitely cried at one point. ;p

    To me the second book is better than the first. I can't wait to see what you think about it!

  3. Fence says:

    I have the second one in my bag. But I worry that if I start it tonight I won't get anything else done. So I'm resisting, for the moment :)

  4. Kailana says:

    I never did review this… I really liked it, though! I am looking forward to book two at some point in 2010. The third book is out later this year.

  5. Fence says:

    I've just finished book 2. Literally a few minutes ago. Didn't love it as much as this one, but still really good. Course now I gotta wait for book 3, *sigh* :D

  1. 11 January 2010

    […] so I loved and adored the first book in this series, even with its horrible cliff-hanger of an ending. Luckily enough I had this one […]