Monday, 24 September 2012

Guest Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Guess what one of my friends got me for my birthday? A review! And not just any review - The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. This was one of my favourite reads before I started blogging and I still love it. I feel a little bad that Emma hadn't read it before now - if I'd have known I would have forced her to read it and the rest of the trilogy...
The Knife of Never-Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1)
- Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker
Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
I thought I'd get Mel a review for her birthday this year, to be deployed whenever she needs it. Happy Birthday Mel! Hope you like it. Hope all of Mel's lovely readers like it too.

I have to start this review with a confession, and a digression: I have become slightly obsessed with China Mieville's wonderful books recently; because of this I jumped at the chance to see him speak at the Edinburgh Book Festival. The event was excellent, largely due to the lively interaction between China and his interviewer, Patrick Ness. Intrigued, I looked Ness up, not really being aware of his books before then, and discovered he's best known for writing multi-award winning Young Adult fiction. Well, one itchy kindle finger later I became the owner of a copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go, book one in his Chaos Walking trilogy:

"Imagine you're the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit in with their plans... Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run..."

I wasn't planning to buy this book. All I intended to do was download the first few pages to satisfy my curiosity about the author and his work. But I found myself drawn in, found myself compelled to read on. From the first page you're plunged directly into the head of Todd, a grumpy 12 year old, counting the days until his 13th birthday, when he'll finally, finally become a man. There's a lot of Todd which reminded me of Just William - he's got the same shoe scuffing impatience with the adult world - but unlike William, there's no warm, loving family to support him, and many of his grumblings and suspicions are very justified. Todd's world is dominated by Noise from every living thing near him. Every man can hear the thoughts of every other, resulting in a howling cacophony, impossible to block out unless you're completely alone. His world is also completely lacking women; they all died just after he was born, from the same illness that caused the Noise. It's hardly surprising that Todd's village, the only village in the world, a village that's slowly dying out, is not a nice place to live. However, as is often the case, things aren't quite what they seem, and when Todd finds a mysterious hole in the Noise we're flung into his fast-paced, thrilling race for answers.

I really enjoyed this book. It was refreshing to find a main character who wasn't a teenager, or a precocious genius child, wise beyond their years, but someone who felt absolutely what he was - 12 years old. It's a fast read, mainly because as the tension ramps up, my ability to put it down decreased accordingly. I'd definitely recommend it. 9/10

Recommended for fans of Philip Pullman, oh and Richard Crompton of course!


  1. I loved this book, the way it was written, just excellent :D

    And what a bday pressie, awesome review by your friend

  2. Darn! WHY haven't I read it yet? Looks like I will have to make sure this and the rest are on my wishlist!

    Nice pressie!!