lilianxcheng, August 6, 2012 (view all comments by lilianxcheng)
The Knife of Never Letting Go is a spine-chilling, suspenseful adventure complete with crashed space ships, crocodiles, and a talking dog. 480 pages never went by so fast. I was expecting a philosophical read about morality or social commentary, but I ended up disappointed. While I thought The Knife of Never Letting Go touched upon many themes like women's rights, human interaction, privacy, collectivity, and violence--none of it was fleshed out enough, or made sense. However, I applaud Ness's innovative story telling, and his character development doesn't fail to impress: especially Todd's relationship with his dog, Manchee.
Are The Villains All Cyborgs?
Poor Todd is constantly being chased by hostile, evil men that don't seem to be capable of dying. The guy gets chomped on by crocodiles, thrown in a swamp to drown, and his nose bitten off by a dog--and he is STILL standing. WHAT IS THIS WITCHCRAFT? How this guy is human is beyond me. I expected to see electrical wires bursting from his wounds at any moment.
What makes The Knife of Never Letting Go special is how the concept of hearing everyone's thought's is handled. In Todd's world everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts through a deluge of sounds and imagery called The Noise. Even wild animals are not immune to The Noise germ, but women are. There is no such thing as silence, and all thoughts are privy to everyone else. There are no complete secrets. I would think that The Noise would make living easier, it would be "impossible" to lie, and make people more empathetic to each other. However, in the New World, The Noise has only created heartless, violent people. Perhaps knowing whatever everyone else is thinking only makes crazy people.
The 14 year old protagonist who starts off a naive, whiny kid who is forced to leave his home. He faces many conflicts. We see him transition from the clueless boy who refuses to admit that he can't read to a man who would travel miles after being stabbed to save his best friend. He also is conflicted about his willingness to kill. There are times I want Todd to stop being a coward and kill his enemies (or at least stab their legs so they can't come running once they've recuperated,) but at the same time I want him to retain his innocence, to be in control of his impulses. For some reason, he loses control out of the blue and ends up killing an alien. It was stupid, but at the same time I could see Todd desperately trying to prove that he could wield a knife.
I am annoyed that although the novel is in first person, Todd withholds secrets from the reader. I know it's for suspense purposes, but it is frustrating. Almost as jarring as the multiple cases where Todd tells the reader that he is swearing. Oh gosh, just swear already.
Todd's talking dog. Hands down the most adorable and lovable character. Despite Todd's dislike towards Manchee, he remains loyal. His natural curiosity and his love for Todd makes him the perfect best friend.
I don't get this chick. Maybe she was stunned into silence from her foreign surroundings, but the fact that she acts like a mute girl for much of the first part annoyed me. We knew she wasn't mute because she knew how to scream, but the fact that she refuses to communicate was frustrating. Despite seeming like dead weight in the beginning, Viola is resourceful, and much smarter than Todd. And because she is immune to the Noise, she can also lie.
Before he leaves, Todd is given his mother's diary which was supposed to explain everything. It was frustrating to see the book being mentioned but practically NEVER read. What up with that?
The Logic of Prentisstown Does Make Any Sense
I hope it's not just be that keeps reading Prentisstown as Penistown? Which would actually make sense considering the whole town is made up of men.
On the other hand, I don't get the logic of these people at all. Where did their twisted beliefs come from? For a town with only 146 citizens, they seem to completely disregard human life in favor of violence. Are they trying to wipe out the human race?
It is later revealed that women, being immune to the Noise, were murdered because the men couldn't understand them. I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to kill their mothers, sisters, and wives. Which leads me to think Mayor Prentiss was cheated on by his wife and created all this chaos to extract revenge.
The people of Prentisstown are supposedly devout Christians, but their actions convince me that they read the wrong Bible, the one that says it's okay to build an army to kill all your neighbors. I'm not sure if the novel is criticizing Christianity, or their religion is twisted by an evil dictator.
The pace is the novel's strongest part, guaranteed to have your heart thumping but I also felt it was too fast at times. It felt Todd was just running a marathon, breezing through all these settlements without a second thought. As a result, I got the action but not enough back story. Honestly, the only answers we get are given by a random info-dump towards the end.
There is never a dull moment, which made devouring Todd's journey a pleasure. It was an absolute thrill ride. I only wish the scariest thing about his journey weren't the same bad guys showing up on rotation. Although I found much of the society nonsensical and the villains ridiculous, it was a a high energy read that always kept me on my toes.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Brianna, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Brianna)
I enjoyed this young adult book so much that I bought a copy for my 10 year old niece, which is maybe a bit too young but oh well all kids are different, and she really liked it too! Really looking forward to reading the rest of this addicting series.
Puppies1234, January 28, 2012 (view all comments by Puppies1234)
This book is incredible. It is in the viewpoint of Todd Hewitt, an awesome boy who lives in a new planet and whose mind can be heard by everyone else. That's the weird part about this planet: every man or boy's thoughts can be heard by everyone else. Todd lives in a town solely inhabited by men, and by a crazy turn of events must escape from the town. Throughout the whole novel, Todd can't understand why he's being chased, through the rest of a world he never thought existed and meeting a completely new species to him: girls. This book has been my favorite for two years and for the foreseeable future. I recommend this to every person who loves adventure and everything amazing. It is a trilogy, each one increasingly interesting.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
Heather N, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Heather N)
Awesome! Page-turning, edge of my seat, amazing... And there are two more books to devour.
I love books that keep you guessing...and this one fits that role perfectly.
by Booklist (starred review),
"Narrated...with crack dramatic and comic timing by Todd and featuring one of the finest talking-dog characters anywhere, this troubling, unforgettable opener to the Chaos Walking trilogy is a penetrating look at the ways in which we reveal ourselves to one another, and what it takes to be a man in a society gone horribly wrong."
"This riveting SF thriller is action-packed, with edge-of-your-seat chase scenes, a monstrous villain who just won't die, and moments of both anguish and triumph....Emotionally intense...haunting page-turner."
by Raleigh News and Observer,
"Adventure abounds in this suspenseful coming of age novel."
by School Library Journal,
"Tension [and] suspense...are palpable throughout, mitigated by occasional moments of welcome humor."
by Chicago Tribune,
"A read-alone, stay-up-way-too-late book for older readers looking for the combination of being scared and being stirred to gallop to the end."
by Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books,
"The nicely balanced mix of coming-of-age novel, science-fiction adventure, and dystopic thriller will make this an appealing choice for a range of genre readers...still unsolved mysteries, carefully developed by Ness and left at tantalizing moments of resolution, guarantee anticipation for the next two."
Readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in this series that follows a boy and girl on the run from a town where all thoughts can be heard — and the passage into manhood embodies a horrible secret.
A story where edge-of-your-seat horror meets post-apocalyptic thriller, perfect for fans of Lois Lowry and The Mazerunner
Night is coming.
On Marins island, sunrise doesnt come every twenty-four hours--it comes every twenty-eight years. Each sunset, the townspeople sail to the south, where they'll wait out the long night. None of the adults will tell Marin, Kana, or their friend Line exactly what happens when they leave the island, but when the three are accidentally left behind in the gathering dusk, they learn the truth: at Night, their town belongs to others, and those others want them gone.
Fleeing through the now-alien landscape that used to be their home, the three confront shocking transformations and uncomfortable truths about themselves. They are challenged to trust one another or perish. Marin, Kana, and Line must find their way off the island . . . before the Night finds them.
In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and sixteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathans father is the worlds most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his seventeenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?
In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.