Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Knife of Never Letting Go - by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is a young boy about to turn thirteen, but his life is a little different from ours.  He lives on a different planet, settled years when men ventured out for new lands in search of peaceful harmony on a new Eden.  He lives in a town with no women.  He can hear the thoughts of all the men in his town.  He can hear the thoughts of animals, too...but they don't usually have too much to say.  This makes for a very Noisy life for Tood, the last boy in Prentisstown.  Strange as his life may be, Todd works on his farm with his guardians Ben and Cillian and lives his life the best he knows how.  Until one day, all that he has known is called into question.  Used to constant Noise, Todd hears something different one day when he is own in the swamp - silence.  Once he and his dog, Manchee, give this thought away, he learns that the town he has lived in his entire life isn't what he thought it was.  Ben and Cillian immediately get Todd out of town, sending him off into the swamp without an explanation, carrying only his rucksack and a book with a map, a journal written by Todd's mother years ago.  What was the silence Todd heard?  Where is he supposed to go now?  What is wrong with all the men in Prentisstown, and why doesn't he know the true history of his hometown?

The Knife of Never Letting Go follows Todd on his journey out of Prentisstown into a world that he didn't even know existed.  REad and follow him on this amazing adventure.  He has Manchee at his side, but will soon find a very unexpected friend in the swamp to be by his side as he battles the evil he finds in the New World.

I was disappointed when I finished this book.  Not because it was bad, but because I couldn't immediately begin reading book 2 of the Chaos Walking series...and believe me, you will want to begin book 2 right away.  I got wrapped up in this book from the very beginning, thanks to chapters that urge you on and exciting, quick-paced writing that takes you into the midst of the action.  Luckily, the book is divided into six sections, so when I had to make myself put it down, I read to the end of a section and waited until the next day to pick back up.  

Todd is a brave young man who is good at heart, unlike many of the "bad" guys you meet in this book.  He just wants to figure out what is going on in his world and make sense of all the Noise around him.  He hears so much and needs to find out what is true.  

This book is great for people who like action/adventure.  It also is good for people who like science does have some aliens (spackles) but the sci-fi details don't drive the story, the characters and struggles do.  So even if you aren't to keen on science fiction, I still think you could get drawn into the plot of this book.  

I was also reminded of Pullman's Dark Materials series when I read this.  The main characters here in Chaos Walking are similar to Lyra and Will in Pullman's story.  

Grade:  A

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