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).