Book Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Series: Chaos Walking #1
Author: Patrick ness
Goodreads Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Excellent book
Now this is what YA dystopia should be. An engaging story, with excellent characters and great pacing. It’s a hard one to review since spoilers abound from the very beginning of the book all the way to the end. So I’m going to post this very short synopsis from Goodreads…
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
As an introvert, the idea of my thoughts being broadcast at all times is absolutely horrifying! On top of that, you have to hear what everyone else is thinking all the time? Oh no. That sounds like torture. As a premise, the idea is golden. It’s a fascinating world full of interesting people. Todd is a great hero for this story, he is a really good kid who is caught up in an incredibly dangerous society. He has also been kept completely in the dark about everything going on around him. There’s a good reason for that! Ok I have to stop talking, see how easy it is to start spoiling things, moving on. Then there’s Manchee, oh how I love Manchee. What a good dog. All the treats for Manchee! I love books like this and Robin Hobb’s Farseer books, where you get a glimpse into the mind of animals. It takes real skill as a writer to do that without merely creating a cartoon of an animal. Manchee and the other animals have their own voices that are appropriate for their intelligence and awareness. The author did a good job with them.
One quote in particular called out to me.
“Everything on this planet talks to each other,” he says. “Everything… Informayshun, all the time, never stopping, whether you want it or not … And too much informayshun can drive a man mad. Too much informayshun becomes just Noise. And it never, never stops.”
It reminds me of the way we are over-saturated with information these days. It is constant. Television, radio, internet, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, cell phones, game consoles. We fill up every minute of the day with noise. It takes a concerted effort to slow down, and quieten. The book takes that to an extreme but it’s something to think about. Do we allow these distractions to keep us from having personal connections with others? It is a problem for Todd. Do we allow distractions to keep us from paying attention to things that really are important or just on things that seem important right now? Again, something to think about.
According to the author, the book is primarily about finding your own voice, and your own place in the word regardless of outside pressure. Mr. Ness writes, “If the Chaos Walking trilogy is about anything, it’s about identity, finding out who you are.” This makes it a YA book with an excellent theme for young people but still has enough danger and mystery to excite. In fact, I had a very hard time putting it down, in fact, I lost too much sleep over it last night. Just one more chapter! I started the book last night, and finished it this afternoon. Don’t you just love books like that?
Song for this book: Sonsick by San Fermin