Book description:

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?

The Knife of Never Letting Go book cover

My Review: Powerful

Oh, so much to say about this book! On the one hand, it had some tremendous strengths. The characterization of Todd Hewitt, the main character, is so skillfully accomplished, for one thing. We are able to understand a lot about him and his world simply by the way he speaks, his flashbacks, and his reactions to the few other characters that make up his existence during this book. There are so few books with good characterization these days, that to find this was a treat.

Also, the plot is nail-bitingly intense, yet well-paced. It can be really tricky to portray a realistic, relatable main character without slowing down the plot. It can also be really tempting to construct the plot entirely out of life-and-death situations to keep up the breakneck speed. But there are calmer, more philosophical moments that balance the intensity.

For me, also, I kept drawing connections as I was reading The Knife between the goal of the antagonists and Middle Eastern terroristic ideologies, as I understand them. Surely, ISIS and other groups like that want nothing more, when they kill innocent people, to draw others into war against them, and so they set a nasty trap. Maybe I was the only one who felt that way, but I thought that was a neat angle.

Unfortunately, there were a couple of things that I really didn’t like about The Knife that kept me from giving it a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. There was one point in the book that felt a little stretched (i.e., unrealistic) to me, but I won’t specify which for spoilers’ sake. Most of all, though, the ending did not work for me. Though it did resolve the central conflict, it was completely unexpected and unsatisfactory. It was a total cliffhanger. Of course, I did fall for it, and immediately went out and bought the second book. I have high hopes that it will redeem the faults of the first.

For those of you curious as to how this book would be rated if it were a movie, it would probably be a light PG-13, for violence.
Watch for my review of The Ask and the Answer (the second book in this series) soon. Does it get better or worse?


Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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