Thursday, May 6, 2010

BR: The Knife of Never Letting Go

I know I’ve written loads of positive stuff raving about the novel, so if you'd like, check out my Friday's Finest post about a quote from this book, and my Author's Appreciation Week post about Patrick Ness. However, I haven’t written a full ‘official’ review yet, so why not? Here it goes! Also, this is Book One of the Chaos Walking Trilogy.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is a 2008 dystopian novel, and takes place in a distant planet called New World. In New World, everyone can hear each man’s thoughts (called Noise), so there is a lack of privacy and a severe overflow of information. Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown, an all-man rural community. Everything changes when he is forced to run away, being chased by the vicious town for reasons he can’t even fully understand. Along the way, he teams up with a girl, Viola, and together with his dog they run for their lives…

My Expectations: Weren’t particularly high. I wasn’t sure how I was gonna respond to the different writing style that was hinted at in some reviews. I wasn’t exposed to that much hype though.

Delivery: WOW. That’s the word for it, a roller coaster ride that impressed me a ton.

Put-down-ability: 4/10, a pretty gripping novel, a 2-day read.

My Thoughts

I’m going to try and keep this one short. I loved this novel, I loved the characters and the writing; both were phenomenal. Ness managed to flesh out Todd using not only the unique narration but with original prose as well. Probably my favourite part of the novel, the writing, is what made it so unique. The Noise (hearing each other’s thoughts) is an idea I haven’t heard of before, and I’m glad wasn’t overused and beaten into the ground; it was pretty spot on.

The first sentence sucks you right in and sets the tone for the novel:
The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to say.
About anything.
"Need a poo, Todd."
"Shutup, Manchee."
"Poo. Poo, Todd."
"I said shut it."
-(pg. 1)
I felt the bond that forms between Todd and Viola is such a faithful one that just rings with honesty and hope, a friendship hardened and shaped through tough events. I loved watching their companionship evolve and change as distrust fades, and they come to rely on one another. Todd is an incredible narrator who has been characterized very well, full of internal turmoil, doubt, but love and hope as well.

The plot had its twists and turns, but it is very much a Chase-plot (is that self explanatory enough?). It was just obstacle after obstacle, and did drag a tiny bit in the middle. This is a fairly long book, for a fairly long chase. That sounds a bit negative, but truly it isn't. There are mistakes made and problems faced along the way, and each adds a little something special to the plot. It ends in a massive cliffhanger, so make sure you have Book Two nearby! You'll be dying to find out what happens.

Lastly, I think the themes presented in the novel, themes like information and privacy, are prevalent in society today. I thought Ness really had guts to push these things so far over the edge with his idea of Noise, and the novel makes me think about how I treat my own privacy nowadays. In fact, I did a school presentation on this novel.

Is this a book for anyone? No, I’m not going to sugar-coat anything: this is a book with violence, cruelty, and brutality. It has moments that make you cringe and scream and cry, and moments that make you doubt humanity. This isn’t an easy read, but the voice of a young boy becoming man, trapped in an unforgiving world, shines through in a pure and raw narration that is sure to stick with you long after you finish the novel.

9.3/10 – This is the highest rating I’ve given a book this year (tied with The Piper's Son), that’s how good it is. I loved the writing style and the characters, but thought that the chase-plot dragged on a bit. There was tons of action, but in it was violence and heinous crimes, and it also contained a mystery that broke my heart. This is the bar I compare dystopian novels to.

An exceptional novel that everybody should try at least once. A 9.3 is a solid A.

If you want, check out his interviews with Publishers Weekly, YA Reads, Presenting Lenore and The Book Depository. All links link directly to the interview (which all have very insightful and thoughtful answers).

*This book is used for my Take Another Chance Challenge, #3- 100 Best Books, this was on the 2009 Best Books for Young Adults list*


  1. oooh! Looks like a good one! Is the second book out already??

  2. Great honest review Audrey! A novel about violence, cruelty and brutality? Hmm, this I gotta read. I'm not that much against happy ever after novels. But there's just something satisying about reading the dark part of life and of humanity.

  3. Eeek, I LOVE these books! I can't wait for Monsters of Men to come out! Great review!

  4. Karen- Yes! It's calle The Ask and the Answer :) I loved that one too, keep an eye out for a review

    Precious- I know, sometimes a darker book is a good way to counteract those fluffy ones :) I hope you try it

    The Library Lurker- YES! Fellow fan of this series =D And I can't wait for book 3 either!

  5. I love your review layout. Awesome review. I really need to try this one.

  6. Sounds like my kind of book. Off to add to my wishlist.

  7. Juju- thank you :) It just came to me one day, because it really relates to how I evaluate books.

    Lisa- I'm glad, I hope you can read it sometime :D

  8. This is SUCH an amazing book. I was completely blown away by everything about it. Definitely a personal favorite now. Even though book 3 isn't going to be released in the US until Oct, I'm gonna have to buy it from TBD asap. I heart this series like whoa!

  9. Oh ... now I see how you managed to get this book and the next one into this challenge. Smart girl!

    I definitely want to read this series!


for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*