Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Book 2 for the YA Dystopian Reading Challenge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

WOW! I'm still trying to catch my breath from reading this book. The last 50 pages passed in a blur. Wow! Patrick Ness has pulled me into his story like no one in a long time. This dystopian novel is the story of Todd Hewitt, a boy born into a world where men and animals can hear each others' thoughts. A constant noise and chaos every second of the day and night. As he comes within a month of his twelfth birthday - the Prentisstown definition of the age of a man - strange things start to happen that leave him questioning his whole life and everything he believes about the world he lives in. What follows in a story of fleeing in the face of constant mortal danger. Terror, desperation, hunger, violence are a part of every day until Todd can reach safety in a new settlement.

The characters in this book are very real to me; Aaron is pure evil and terror, just a hint of his Noise coming is enough to know that something really bad is going to happen. I also really liked Manchee, Todd's dog. His exuberant "Todd! Todd!" and "Ow Todd?" were funny to read. he was loyal through and through.

As Todd goes through the transformation from a boy to a man, he learns that though things are bad, there is still hope. I really liked this quote in the book from Todd's father (for all intents and purposes), Ben.

"There's always hope, you always have to hope. . . you've overcome obstacles and dangers that should've killed you . . . How do you think you could have come this far if you didn't have hope?"

Ness says that our world is so filled with information these days - texts, emails, messaging, etc - and he wanted to see what would happen in a town where you really couldn't get away from the noise. He has done this masterfully. It's "chaos walking" as he says in the novel. I enjoyed thinking about this as I read this book.

With an ending that will startle the reader and leave them desperate for the next book, I give The Knife of Never Letting Go five solid stars. Not a book for those in search of a light and happy story, but one that makes you think about our world today and what all the information is doing to us.

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