The Knife of Never Letting Go
AUTHOR: Patrick Ness
PUBLISHED: 22nd October 2008 by Walker
GENRE: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopia
SERIES: Chaos Walking #1
EDITION I OWN: UK Paperback
MY RATING: 5/5 Stars
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
Hello bookworms and welcome back to Josie’s Book Corner! Today I am presenting to you a review of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness! After reading this book, as the second Patrick Ness book I have ever read, I am thoroughly convinced that he is one of my favourite authors. . . EVER.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is a beautifully crafted, gritty, mystery-filled sci-fi/dystopian novel following a 12-year-old boy named Todd who, through his journey, we are addressed to themes such as coming-of-age, friendship, innocence, the nature of men.
Bookworms, of course you saw this coming. I’m going to talk about the characters in this book to start us off and it is a very suitable place to start it off, because Patrick Ness created the most wonderful characters that grow and experience so much over the course of 500+ pages!
Todd Hewitt is our main character, a 12-year-old boy who lives in a secluded town known as Prentisstown. He is going to become a man in less than a month, and the town is waiting. Todd is the last boy in a town full of men, and he wants to become a man. However, before he can reach the age of becoming a man, he discovers something that sends him fleeing from the only town he knew, out into a world he knows nothing about and soon, everything he was taught to believe, suddenly becomes not so right.
Todd develops a lot through the entirety of this book. When he first sets out, he is lost and confused and he doesn’t know what to think. He’s stuck in a somewhat moral dilemma. The biggest problem he had was with what he thought of himself. The constantly called himself a coward for not being able to do what a man should be able to do – kill. And despite all the revelations that are revealed to him along his journey, he can’t help but keep on blaming himself for what he can’t do, because that’s all he’s ever known. But as he continues to travel, along with his two companions, he begins to discover himself and what it truly means to be a man. Patrick Ness weaves this story self-discovery into the story so well, I’m amazed.
Let’s talk about Todd’s two companions, Manchee and Viola. Manchee is the most adorable dog ever and seriously the best sidekick ever. He’s funny and although Todd takes him for granted for the beginning of the novel and calls him stupid, we come to see the strong bonds of friendship the two share and the relentless loyalty Manchee has to Todd. No matter what happened, Manchee was there to help Todd, to protect him, to give Todd someone to confide in. I love Manchee with all my heart and I applaud Patrick Ness so much for making me feel so much love for a dog in literature!
Viola is the other sidekick, a girl around the same age as Todd. She is new to the world Todd lives in and gets caught up with Todd on his journey running away from Prentisstown. Viola is a strong female character. She was like a guiding rod for Todd when he began to drift along the line of what was right and what was wrong. She made Todd think about things and we watch she and Todd grow in their relationship together, from hostile and bickery, into a team loyal to one another. Together, they grew immensely and I adored their development not just as individuals, but together.
I’d like to talk about some of our antagonists now. Aaron. What a crazy man. I could not believe how many times I yelled at this book telling him to die already. Aaron is a radically religious man who believes he is a prophet of God, but his mind is very twisted. Throughout the story, it’s like he is some kind of indestructible machine, appearing at the worst possible moments, when you least expect it! He was insane and I honestly wanted him to die. But he also contributed to Todd’s growth as a character, so he played a major role in this incredible story.
The other characters in the story, such as Ben who was a father figure to Todd, the mayor of Prentisstown, Wilf who I really liked, and more were just such great characters. Patrick Ness nails it with characters, hands down.
It is best to go into this without knowing too much about the world, as well as the plot. But I will take a moment to tell you this and acknowledge this. The Knife of Never Letting Go is set in a futuristic setting in “New World”, a world which people from “Old World” which is considered our world today, travelled by spaceship to settle on this new planet they now call “New World”. Prentisstown is plagued by what is known as Noise which was a disease that caused men’s thoughts to be heard aloud, by everyone. This was such a unique and crazy thing to add into the story, but it was powerful. Through this ‘disease’, we learn some things about the nature of men, the thoughts of men. It’s adds to the grittiness that this novel has. The world building was fantastic and vivid and I could clearly see many parts of it in my mind.
Patrick Ness wrote the most amazing story I’ve ever read. It was full of so much mystery, I had a million questions running through my mind for most of the book, and as Patrick Ness began to slowly reveal bits of the truth in increments, my mind began to become more and more mind-blown the further I read to the end. The story is gritty and harsh.
I found the beginning of the story to be quite slow-paced, but there was so much mystery surrounding everything that it kept me hooked. When Todd started running from Prentisstown, things sped up and everything slowly and slowly built up to the climax at the end of the novel. And can I just say that that cliffhanger shocked me so much. I was reading this until 12am and when I got to the last page, my mouth – if it were possible – had dropped to the floor. I cannot believe that I have to wait to purchase the next book in the series. It’s already killing me. Patrick Ness, you write amazing novels.
The writing style in this book was very unique. I think quite a number of people may get frustrated with many of the misspelled words – which are deliberately misspelled – within the story. Such as frustrayshun and cuz. But I think the use of this kind of language helps to in-still the kind of world they live in and the young-ness of Todd and his innocence. The writing in this novel is so gritty and raw and I just cannot get over it. I love it so much.
I love that through this dystopian/sci-fi novel, we also get a coming-of-age story about friendship, family, innocence, what it means to be a man and the nature of men.
Overall, I recommend this book to every single one of you. Patrick Ness is an amazing author which no one should miss out on and the Chaos Walking Trilogy would be an amazing place to start. It’s best to go in without knowing too much about it, which is why I refrained to tell to much of the plot and the world. I really do hope you pick this book up soon, bookworms!
Did you enjoy my review? If you have read this book, please tell me your thoughts in the comments!
If you have NOT read this book, has my review persuaded you to pick it up? (I hope it has!)