The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Imagine living in a world where you could hear everyone’s thoughts and they could hear yours. How would you get by? Now imagine that one day you stumbled upon a patch of silence. What would you do?
This is the situation that is presented to Todd Hewitt, a 12-year old boy who is the only child left in the male-only village of Prentisstown. Todd lives in a world where humans have discovered a way to colonize other planets; but when they do, they have no idea what is in store for them. The planet that Todd’s family and their group lands on is inhabited by aliens – aliens who release a germ that kills all the women and gives men the ability to hear each other’s thoughts. This is the world that Todd is raised in – a world of Noise, a world of just trying to get by and accepting that one day their small village of Prentisstown will die out. Until one day, when Todd discovers a small patch in a swamp that is completely silent. Before he can even comprehend what is happening,Todd is thrust on a whirlwind run across his planet, trying to decipher clues left for him by his mother, wondering why all the men of his town are chasing him, and dealing with separating his reality from the lies he has been told.
I have heard fantastic things about this book and about Patrick Ness in general, and I was not disappointed. I really loved The Knife of Never Letting Go. First of all, the writing was beautiful. The world that Patrick Ness created was really interesting, and I felt like I could imagine the entire planet perfectly as I was fleeing Prentisstown with Todd. The characters felt so real and I found myself growing incredibly attached to them. I have to admit, I was a little bit confused at the very start of this book, but once the plot developed a little and I got to know a bit more about the characters and the world, everything fell into place and I was hooked. I would love to be able to tell you more about the character development and the world building, but saying anything more would put me at risk of spoiling you, and I really think it is best to go into this book without knowing too much about the plot.
One thing that surprised me about The Knife of Never Letting Go is how dark it was. Our main character, Todd, is only supposed to be twelve or thirteen during this book (there is some debate among the characters as to the progression of time on their planet). This is a little bit younger than a typical Young Adult character, and this book is marketed as YA. Despite Todd’s age, I found this book to be darker than most YA books I have read. The villains in this world are some of the creepiest, slimiest characters I have ever read. I have heard Mayor Prentiss named as people’s favorite villain multiple times, and, I will admit, he is a really creepy bad guy and I am a little afraid to see what he does in the rest of this series. But the character that really got to me in The Knife of Never Letting Go was Aaron. Aaron was freaking CRAZY. He completely creeped me out and I will never forget his scenes in this book. Ugh, that guy gives me chills….
There was really only one thing that stuck out to me that I didn’t like about this book. I can’t tell you what it is because it is a spoiler, and, to be honest, I’m still slightly traumatized from it. If you have read this book then you probably know what I am talking about. I actually put this book down for a few days and had to compose myself before I finished it. As much as I love you, Patrick Ness, I will never forgive you for doing that…
Despite the fact that this book left me slightly traumatized, I highly recommend it. It really was a fantastic read. Just be prepared because it is not a light and fluffy read. It is wonderful, but it is emotional and dark and a little bit soul-crushing at times. I can’t wait to continue on with the next book and complete the Chaos Walking trilogy. I think I may have found a new favorite author in the fantastic Mr. Patrick Ness.
When a book crushes you…and you keep going back for more…..
…..blame it on the books.