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2 Beaverton Children's- Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking Trilogy #01


The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking Trilogy #01 Cover

ISBN13: 9780763645762
ISBN10: 0763645761
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THE FIRST THING you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs dont got nothing much to say. About anything.

"Need a poo, Todd."

"Shut up, Manchee."

"Poo. Poo, Todd."

"I said shut it."

Were walking across the wild fields southeast of town, those ones that slope down to the river and head on toward the swamp. Bens sent me to pick him some swamp apples and hes made me take Manchee with me, even tho we all know Cillian only bought him to stay on Mayor Prentisss good side and so suddenly heres this brand-new dog as a present for my birthday last year when I never said I wanted any dog, that what I said I wanted was for Cillian to finally fix the fissionbike so I wouldnt have to walk every forsaken place in this stupid town, but oh, no, happy birthday, Todd, heres a brand-new puppy, Todd, and even tho you dont want him, even tho you never asked for him, guess who has to feed him and train him and wash him and take him for walks and listen to him jabber now hes got old enough for the talking germ to set his mouth moving? Guess who?

"Poo," Manchee barks quietly to himself. "Poo, poo, poo."

"Just have yer stupid poo and quit yapping about it."

I take a switch of grass from beside the trail and I swat after him with it. I dont reach him, I dont mean to reach him, but he just laughs his little barking laugh and carries on down the trail. I follow after him, switching the switch against the grass on either side, squinting from the sun, trying not to think about nothing at all.

We dont need apples from the swamp, truth be told. Ben can buy them at Mr. Phelpss store if he really wants them. Also true: going to the swamp to pick a few apples is not a job for a man cuz men are never allowed to be so idle. Now, I wont officially become a man for thirty more days. Ive lived twelve years of thirteen long months each and another twelve months besides, all of which living means Im still one month away from the big birthday. The plans are being planned, the preparayshuns prepared, it will be a party, I guess, tho Im starting to get some strange pictures about it, all dark and too bright at the same time, but neverthelessI will become a man and picking apples in the swamp is not a job for a man or even an almost-man.

But Ben knows he can ask me to go and he knows Ill say yes to going because the swamp is the only place anywhere near Prentisstown where you can have half a break from all the Noise that men spill outta theirselves, all their clamor and clatter that never lets up, even when they sleep, men and the thoughts they dont know they think even when everyone can hear. Men and their Noise. I dont know how they do it, how they stand each other.

Men are Noisy creachers.

"Squirrel!" Manchee shouts and off he goes, jumping off the trail, no matter how loud I yell after him, and off I have to go, too, across the (I look round to make sure Im alone) goddam fields cuz Cillianll have a fit if Manchee falls down some goddam snake hole and of course itll be my own goddam fault even tho I never wanted the goddam dog in the goddam first place.

"Manchee! Get back here!"


I have to kick my way thru the grass, getting grublets stuck to my shoes. One smashes as I kick it off, leaving a green smear across my sneakers, which I know from experience aint coming out. "Manchee!" I rage.

"Squirrel! Squirrel! Squirrel!"

Hes barking round the tree and the squirrels skittering back and forth on the tree trunk, taunting him. Come on, Whirler dog, says its Noise. Come on, come get, come on, come get. Whirler, Whirler, Whirler.

"Squirrel, Todd! Squirrel!"

Goddam, animals are stupid.

I grab Manchee by the collar and hit him hard across his back leg. "Ow, Todd? Ow?" I hit him again. And again. "Ow? Todd?"

"Come on," I say, my own Noise raging so loud I can barely hear myself think, which is something Im about to regret, you watch.

Whirler boy, Whirler boy, thinks the squirrel at me. Come get, Whirler boy.

"You can eff off, too," I say, except I dont say "eff ", I say what "eff" stands for.

And I really, really shoulda looked round again.


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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

gracenote, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by gracenote)
A very creative theme that kept my interest and attention the entire time. I enjoy young adult books as they frequently are very creative.
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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.

The Noise:
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.

Viola Eade:
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.

Todd's Book
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.
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(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.
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Product Details

Ness, Patrick
Viking Juvenile
Green, Sally
Fantasy & Magic
Action & Adventure - General
Social Issues - Violence
Science fiction
Space colonies
Action & Adventure
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
dystopia;science fiction;fiction;ya;young adult;fantasy;adventure;dystopian;telepathy;coming of age;survival;friendship;chaos walking;teen;war;violence;aliens;sf;dogs;thriller;space travel;young adult fiction;space colonies;death;religion;secrets;suspense
dystopia;science fiction;fiction;ya;young adult;fantasy;adventure;dystopian;telepathy;coming of age;survival;friendship;chaos walking;teen;war;violence;aliens;sf;dogs;thriller;space travel;young adult fiction;space colonies;death;religion;secrets;suspense
dystopia;science fiction;fiction;ya;young adult;fantasy;adventure;dystopian;telepathy;coming of age;survival;friendship;chaos walking;teen;war;violence;aliens;sf;dogs;thriller;space travel;young adult fiction;space colonies;death;religion;secrets;suspense
dystopia;science fiction;fiction;ya;young adult;fantasy;adventure;dystopian;telepathy;coming of age;survival;friendship;chaos walking;teen;war;violence;aliens;sf;thriller;dogs;secrets;young adult fiction;space travel;death;space colonies;religion;journey;
Edition Description:
The Half Bad Trilogy
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 9
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:

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The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking Trilogy #01 Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.99 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Candlewick Press (MA) - English 9780763645762 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Adventure abounds in this suspenseful coming of age novel."
"Review" by , "Tension [and] suspense...are palpable throughout, mitigated by occasional moments of welcome humor."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

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