27 April 2011
18. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. It begins in Prentisstown where Todd Hewitt is the last boy in town. There are no women left and when a boy turns 13 something happens to him which means he becomes a man. The other thing of note in Prentisstown is that all the inhabitants can hear each others 'Noise' i.e. their thoughts and feelings. All the time.
Everything changes when Todd discovers a gap of silence in the swamp outside Prentisstown and he begins to discover that life is not as simple as he thought. He begins a journey across a world he thought was empty to try and discover what life is all about.
The Knife of Never Letting Go encompasses thoughts about life, love, family, death, loyalty and many more big themes. It is exciting and moving and reminded me of The Hunger Games in that its massive scope, teenagers against the institution feel. It is written how Todd speaks which means it is riddled with phonetic spellings, it also uses different fonts to show different types of Noise.
Ness is an extremely accomplished author, I could not put this down as I was desperate to learn what happened. The novel ends on a massive cliffhanger which made me glad that I had the next novel ready to pick up immediately. Whilst there will be spoilers galore in my reviews of the next two novels (as it is unavoidable not to reference things that have happened in this book) I am keen not to reveal anything as I kept being surprised by where Ness took the narrative. I knew a fair amount about the basics of what happened through talking to students, and my husband, who had read the trilogy but I would loved to read it blind.
It's always great to find a young adult novel that is just as enjoyable for adults and I would highly recommend this to anyone. It goes against my natural inclinations for reading choices but I was happy to be proved wrong. It is an action adventure with a teenage boy as a protagonist and yet it is thrilling, emotive and Todd is incredibly empathetic. Read it!