Review of “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness

Note: There are no spoilers in this review.

I made it through maybe two chapters of this dystopic YA novel, scoffing and contemptuous of all the hysteria in the blogosphere over this book, before I too became maniacally obsessed. It is really, really good!

Todd Hewitt is a young teen who lives in Prentisstown on New World, a planet originally colonized to make “a new way of life, one clean and simple and honest and good, one different from Old World in all respects…” In particular, the colonists came to establish a Church, one that would leave behind corruption in favor of purity and brotherhood.

Prentisstown is unique in that there are only men there (all the women were purportedly killed during the war against the resident aliens called Spackles), and secondly, the men can read each other’s minds. This latter phenomenon, said to be a product of bioterrorism from the Spackles, is called “The Noise” and even creatures communicate their thoughts. The Noise never stops, and many of the men go crazy.

While there’s no hiding from each other because of The Noise, Todd points out:

“…the thing to remember, the thing that’s most important of all that I might say in this here telling of things is that Noise ain’t truth, Noise is what men want to be true, and there’s a difference twixt those two things so big that it could ruddy well kill you if you don’t watch out.”

Sadly, Todd doesn’t take his own advice. And one day, only one month before his achieving “manhood” (according to some secret ritual of Prentisstown of which he is not yet aware), everything changes. For he discovers a place where there is no noise; there is only Quiet. And from then on, his life is in danger.

Evaluation: This book, Volume 1 of The Chaos Walking Trilogy, is as good as everyone claims it to be. I could come up with a quibble or two, but (a) it would involve spoilers and (b) they really don’t matter. It’s a terrific read – don’t miss this one! Oh, and while you’re reading, order the second volume in this trilogy, The Ask and The Answer, because I guarantee you will want it!

Rating: 4.8/5

Published by Candlewick Press, 2008


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23 Responses to Review of “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness

  1. Amanda says:

    I read this back in May, before I saw anyone else reading it, and I wasn’t impressed. I mean, it captured me and made me keep reading, but it was TOO fast. I need down moments. In the end, I both loved and hated it, and when it came time to read the second book, I didn’t have the strength to try.

  2. Sandy says:

    Nah, you’re not the last person to read it. I am. It is on my list, so I guess I get some points there, but I am drowning in a sea of fantastic books that need to be read NOW. I just can’t read fast enough. It is my goal to read these books this year. That is the best I can offer!

  3. Julie P. says:

    I haven’t read this book either and I don’t even know if I would have picked it up before your review. It’s not my usual fare, but it does sound interesting.

  4. Jenny says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! The second one is, I think, even better, and of course once you’ve read that you’ll be on tenterhooks waiting for the third to come out. 🙂 I gave this to my friend for Christmas, and she loved it but couldn’t finish because of, um, a certain tragic event? That happened about two-thirds of the way through? You know?

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    I don’t really read dystopic or YA, but this looks good. Great review.

  6. Janel says:

    This definitely isn’t something that I would normally pick, but now I am very interested in reading it. Another one for the Wish List 🙂

  7. Carrie K. says:

    I loved it, too. Great review. 🙂

  8. bermudaonion says:

    Wow, that’s quite a testimony since you started out a non-believer! I’ve got this on my wish list, even though I’m not quite sure it’s for me.

  9. Julie H. says:

    Again, the probable last person to read this seems to have quite a few members. Looks interesting, I may have to check it out.

  10. Amy says:

    I have this on my list and hope to get to it soon.

  11. Lisa says:

    So I should probably stop scoffing, too?!

  12. softdrink says:

    Poo, as the dog would say. I didn’t make it past the first few chapters. Which puts me in the minority on this one.

  13. Hazra says:

    I have this book on my TBR for like ever, but I never remember it when I’m out book shopping. Really want to read this book.

  14. Nymeth says:

    So glad you loved it too, Jill 😀 I agree with Jenny, the second one is even better. Can’t wait to read your thoughts.

  15. Pam says:

    Never fear; I am, most assuredly, the last person on earth to read it. I, like you, thought it was a bunch of nonsense and over-hyped. I should have learned after The Hunger Games. Oh well, I guess I’ll need to start this one! Glad you liked it. :O)

  16. Staci says:

    I really do need to read this one. I got it for my son Marc and he just thought it was so-so. With that I hesitated to read it myself. I love this genre of YA so I’m sure I will be reading it sometime soon.

  17. Trisha says:

    I have this book set aside for my vacation in three weeks, but reading reviews like this makes it so very difficult to wait!

  18. Darlene says:

    I’ve read reviews for this one and lots of people have loved it but I’m still on the fence – not sure it’s for me but I’m glad you liked it so much!

  19. Alyce says:

    I wasn’t all that into the book in the first few chapters either. I kept commenting to my husband that the only thing that was keeping me reading the book was all of the good reviews. Then, like you, I became obsessed. 🙂

  20. Jenners says:

    Oh Lordy … now I have another YA book to add to my list.

  21. Belle says:

    Another dystopian YA that I’m thinking about reading. I just don’t like dystopian novels much – but I’m still thinking I’m going to read Hunger Games after your excellent review of that novel. So this too might end up in my tbr – I do love the title!

  22. brandon says:

    i read this book a few months ago and i really enjoyed it. i wasnt able to put it down. i really enjoyed the plot , charecters ,and the setting finished it for me it was AMAZING.

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