Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go

After reading that review of Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go I requested an ARC from the publisher. I casually started reading it and then was unable to stop till I was done. Boy oh boy; it is one hell of a read.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is a dystopic novel involving settlers who created a New World because they wanted a simpler life (a la those Mayflower passengers of our yore).  According to Todd, the last boy of the settlement of Prentisstown, years earlier an illness resulted in all males being able to hear each others’ thoughts.  This Noise, a brilliant concept, is superbly evoked by Ness in all its hellishness.  Without really understanding quite why Todd is forced to flee Prentisstown, the only place he has ever known, with his dog Manchee.  (And, by the way, Ness’s presentation of the Noise of animals is absolutely amazing.)  Todd’s resulting journey is harrowing, moving, disturbing, and enthralling. One of Ness’s many literary feats is the way physical hardships mirror the emotional ones.  Another is the idea of knowing an individual’s thoughts without the Noise.  Another is the idea of manhood.  Another is…well, I’ll stop now. This is one heck of a coming-of-age novel, I can tell you.

A few warnings: it is violent and raw,  there are deaths (some are very upsetting), and it ends on a huge HUGE cliffhanger (as this is evidently the first book in the Chaos Walking series).



Filed under YA

7 responses to “Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go

  1. I’m glad Boyce was right about the book at least :)


  2. Pingback: Knife novel wins Guardian children’s fiction prize « educating alice

  3. Donna MacKinney

    I agree that with is an astounding book. I was so angry once in the middle (trying not to spoil) and again at the end that I had to restrain myself from screaming ‘NOOOOOOOO!”

    I noted your wondering on a listserv as to whether it might be a Newbery candidate…I can’t imagine handing this book to an elementary school student. Am I being too squeamish?


  4. I think Ness is American meaning the book would be eligible, but the violence makes me think it would be out of Newbery range (0 – through age 14).


  5. Pingback: Cargnegie Shortlist 2009 « educating alice

  6. Pingback: Patrick Ness’s The New World: A Story of Chaos Walking 1 « educating alice

  7. Vous l’avez fait, il est divertissant et passionnant, Bravo et encore�!


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