GoodReads rating – 5 Stars
‘The NOISE is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking’
The Knife Of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. It was published in May 2008 and has won many awards, such as the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Booktrust Teenage Prize.
The Knife Of Never Letting go follows the life of Todd Hewitt, a young boy who is just shy of becoming thirteen, the age at whcih boys become men in Prentisstown, a small settlement on the planet New World, where people came to settle before Todd was born to seek a new, simple life. Unfortunately for them, this didn’t quite go to plan when they discovered that you can hear the thoughts of all the men on the planet. When Todd goes to a near by swamp and discovered a place of complete silence, one that is, to him, impossible and dangerous, he must then embark on a quest to save his own life and escape the danger seeking him as a result of his discovery.
This book is absolutely incredible. Patrick Ness’ world building and character writing is beautiful. The very moment you meet Todd he seems so organic and real, and you fall in love with him and his trusty dog companion, Manchee almost from the get go. The characters really resonated with me, Todd especially, to the point that I felt a tremendous amount of protectiveness towards them.
The book isn’t without its dramatic twists and turns. As Todd learns the truth about his world around him, so do we, learning along side him, which only adds to the protective feelings I had surrounding him. I felt how he would have felt each time a bombshell was dropped. The story is a true emotional roller coaster. One minute you’re on top of the world, feeling safe, like everything is going smoothly, then BANG, Ness flips that on its head time and time again to the point that you as the reader feel on edge throughout the entire book.
I loved the way Patrick Ness used the planet to give us different perspectives that I have never encountered in a novel before. For example, through the Noise you can tell what animals are thinking, as well as them having the ability to speak, all be it limited, which plays a pretty important part in a few of the scenes. I also love the way in which Ness wrote Todd’s language, having not been fully educated we are told the story though broken spellings and mispronunciations which only adds to the feeling of Todd being real.
The book had a very effective way of displaying the NOISE of the characters in places, switching from traditional novel text to a jumble of scrawling across the page which I thought was wonderfully effective.
All in all I thought this book was beautifully written, had very realistic and relate-able characters, and had a pace like no other. The Knife Of Never Letting Go sets the scene for what I hope is an equally addictive trilogy, one which I cannot wait to pick up the rest of the books in and find out how Todd is doing. Highly recommended for science fiction lovers, YA lovers, and just book lovers in general. A real gem this one!