The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Geared Towards: Age 14 and up
Published By: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: September 2008
About the Author:
Patrick Ness is an award-winning novelist and a literary critic for the Guardian. He has also written for England's Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and taught creative writing at Oxford Univerity. About The Knife Letting Go, he says, "Information is absolutely everywhere today- texts and e-mails and messaging- so much it feels like you can't get away from it. I began to wonder what it would be like to be in a town where you really couldn't get away. How could you keep hold of who you are? What price would you be willing to pay to save yourself?" Patrick Ness was born in Virginia and currently lives in London. This is his first book for young adults.
(Ness recently was awarded the Guardian children's fiction prize. Click here to read the article published on Guardian.co.uk.)
"Award winning author Patrick Ness creates a gritty dystopian thriller in which a boy on the brink of manhood must run from a town where all thoughts can be heard- and where the passage to adulthood embodies a horrible secret."
Wow, if ever I wanted a truly chilling book to read as a young adult, this book would have completely fit the bill. The world Ness has created is so crazy spooky, yet in many ways it's incredibly similar to our own. Don't be deceived- it's very different from our own world. The similarities there though are what make this world- this story- that much more believable.
Todd Hewitt is an average boy living in an average world. Well, the world itself is actually anything by average when likened to our own existence. But for Todd, it is average and even normal. All Todd has ever known is the world of Prentisstown where every man's, boy's and creature's throughts aren't just his own. Infected by the "Noise" germ after coming to the New World, there's no known cure for the noise sickness. There's also no one left uninfected. All the women have been killed by the virus, and Todd is the only living "child" left.
Complacent in his albeit strange but normal to him existence, Todd is terrified to find a spot of silence in the swamps. With the noise constantly going there should never be any silence so deep and so pure anywhere near the town. So what can the eerie quiet be? Spackle- the aliens responsbile for releasing the "Noise" germ? No, couldn't be them, as they were all killed off after the Great War. Yet, what could the source of the silence be? And what could it possibly mean?
When everything Todd has ever known to be true comes crashing down, he quickly discovers that the silence in the swamps is the very least of his worries. Infact, that silence may just be the key to his survival.
What Ness has done with The Knife of Never Letting Go is nothing short of amazing. A gripping story so full of terror and deceit, but it's intertwined with plenty of happy moments, hope, excitement, and even love. Readers will find themselves immediately drawn to the complex cast of characters, environment, and storyline. This intense story made me laugh, made me cry, and made me feel all the emotions in between. I loved how indepth Ness got with his world and beautifully developed cast of characters without making it overwhelming. As a fan of the horror/thriller genre, I was truly pleased to find that Ness paced himself and stuck to this genre instead of veering off. A few tweeks here and there and this would have easily fallen in to the sci-fi category; which I generally am not one for delving in to.
Over all, I think the story found in The Knife of Never Letting Go, was a great coming of age story. It goes a long way to show that you can never truly believe everything you're told. Even if you grow up in an environment that gives you no reason to be suspect. That's not to say that you should doubt everything. More so it means to simply be more aware of your surroundings, and don't base your entire existance on the ideas of others. Learn to think for yourself, study, and genuinely play an active role in your own destiny. We have parents and rules for a reason, but we shouldn't even rely solely on them because when we are eventually out on our own if we haven't had a chance to see the real world for what it is then we're going to be worse off than had we not been sheltered from the beginning.
Book one in a three book Chaos Walking series, I know I personally can hardly wait for the next installment due out this Spring/Summer of 2009. The Knife of Letting Go was an absolute page turner that even adults, like myself, will thoroughly enjoy. Just be prepared because Ness does leave you completely hanging with its cliffhanger ending.
One last side note, there is some rough language in this story, which I'm not entire certainly was necessary. I understand why the author chose to use it, but I just wonder if maybe there could have been a way for him to portray his character's emotions without being quite so brash in the language department. As an adult I have read worse by far, but considering the age bracket this book is geared to I just think it might have been better suited to have toned down the language in a few places.
**Thanks so much to Candlewick Press for giving me this opportunity to review and host for this blog tour.**
OUR RATING: 5 hearts