Seriously? I Read That?

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Posted on: March 11, 2009

knifeI went into The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness relatively blind. I had only read one brief review and seen the title mentioned on various blogs and other places online. Nothing in depth. I really had no idea what I was getting into, and for that I am infinitely grateful.

At first glance, The Knife of Never Letting Go appears to be just another coming of age tale. Todd Hewitt, the last boy in Prentisstown, is on the verge of manhood. Sounds pretty simple right? Not at all. Throw in the fact the Prentisstown is a town without women. Getting a little more complex, right? Now add to that the fact that everyone in Prentisstown can hear each other’s thoughts. Not simple at all.

After stumbling upon something in the swamp, he never expected to find–a girl, Todd’s life rapidly changes. Soon, he, his dog Manchee, and Viola, the girl he found in the swamp, must flee Prentisstown. Armed with only a knife and a vague directive on an old map, Todd must confront the truth about Prentisstown and the truth about what it really means to be a man.

Besides being a thrilling, emotional read, The Knife of Never Letting Go is a well-done mediation on complicity and moral ambiguity. This is not a black and white novel. Right are wrong are not clear cut. Life, for Todd, is grey and all are guilty in one way or another. What you think you know is not always true, and the truth itself can be false.

Todd’s world is masterfully created, and the concept of Noise, the term used for the never-ending auditory phenomenon on men’s thoughts, is an inventive device. The fact that Todd’s thoughts cannot be hidden adds an element of suspense and danger as Todd, Manchee, and Viola flee Prentisstown. As long as there is Noise, Todd can be found. Noise, to Todd, is something he has always lived with. He does not know a world without Noise. However, this does not keep him from seeing the consequences of living in a world where all thoughts are made public. In a way, the men of Prentisstown use their Noise as an excuse. Sort of a spin on the cliched “The devil made me do it”.
In his own dialect, Todd describes the intrusive, frustrating nature of Noise and how Noise changes everything:

“Too much informayshun can drive a man mad. Too much informayshun becomes just Noise.”

By the end, I’ll admit I was a bit emotionally exhausted. And the ending… the ending came as a punch to the stomach.

I’ll be anxiously awaiting the release of the second book in the Chaos Walking Series, The Ask and the Answer, which is set to be released this fall.

Rating: 5 germs out of 5.
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Published: September 9th 2008 by Candlewick
Binding: Hardcover, 496 pages
ISBN: 0763639311
Reading Level: Young Adult


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Where else you can find me:

Books That Go Bump in the Night- Halloween and scary books for kids and teens. My other blog.



%d bloggers like this: