Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness

What it's about: On a far-off planet, there is a village of only men and one boy. Todd Hewitt is that one boy. He's never known anything but his life in Prentisstown, where men can hear each other's thoughts through a phenomenon known as Noise. Then one day Todd finds a place where there is a strange silence, an absence of Noise like he's never encountered. He goes to investigate and ends up being dragged into a world of secrets larger than he ever dreamed possible.

Minor spoilers ahead. tl;dr version: This book is awesome buy it now.

What I thought: My gosh, this book... It took me about three chapters to get into this. At first I was a bit skeptical, but over the course of the day as I read it, I became more and more engrossed, to the point where I just spent three hours late into the night reading until the gut-wrenching conclusion. Okay, so, first thing. Noise. What a concept. It's a strange but interesting one with many possible ramifications, and to my mind Ness does a satisfactory job of covering all the bases that this opens up. It certainly makes for a very interesting dynamic between Todd and Viola, and as that dynamic is one of the most important things in this book, that's a good thing. Todd's a well-drawn character. He's far from perfect, but what we get from his narration is that he's a guy with good intentions, struggling like you or I would to deal with these strange circumstances into which we've been thrown. Viola is certainly an interesting character, too, and she seems especially enigmatic because of the combination of her initial silence, the fact that she doesn't have Noise, and because she's a girl and Todd isn't good with girls, at first, anyway. Anyway, you know, this is a pretty grim story. Y'all know me, I like my light and happy tales, but I loved this book, mainly because its characters don't give up. Despite all the odds facing them down, they try their best. But, like, Todd isn't a Determinator or one of those stupid shounen heroes who believes in the you who believes in you; this is just a guy knowing that some things are hopeless but you have to try anyway, and who knows, maybe you'll just make it. And the friendship, the bond between Todd and Viola is just heartwarming. So despite the grim and even horrific things in the story, you're compelled to read onwards because of these characters. Anyway, the writing style itself is good too. Ness really gives Todd an unmistakable voice, and the prose is of good quality. So, yeah, amazing book, and I'll probably gush about its sequel next.

Overall: Stop reading this, go to Amazon, and order this book. Now. Do it. Do it. Do it. This and The Ask and the Answer are probably my two favorite books I've read all year. This includes stuff like The Hunger Games. The Chaos Walking books are just that good.

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