[Review] The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

Title of Book: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking #1
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Year: 2011
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 479

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 is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. Honestly, there’s not a lot of info given at the beginning of this book except that the main character, Todd Hewitt is an inhabitant of Prentisstown. There’s no woman in Prentisstown and Todd is the last boy in town. There, everyone can hear every man’s thought as a ‘noise’. Even animals have noise. It was chaos, until one day Todd found a void while doing chores. It turns out a girl is behind that void. After that, things go spiraling down for Todd and he has to run away with the girl to find a place where they might be safe. 

This book is the kind of book that is better to know nothing about before reading. It can be confusing at first but I suggest to just enjoy the journey. The set up is slow. I didn’t even realize that Prentisstown is supposed to be a new settlement in an unknown planet far away from earth. The book also kept me guessing because as soon as you think you know what’s happening, the next page proves that you’re wrong. Todd, who is the narrator, is in the same position as us the readers. He only knows what people of Prentisstown have been telling him. So as he’s understanding his world a little better, we get the same knowledge as him. I think that’s why I didn’t see the twist coming and that’s the appeal of this book for me.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is written in a stream of consciousness style. This book is Todd’s stream of thoughts. It’s even written in accordance with his own voice. The grammar and spelling are often incorrect but it gives a distinct voice to him. This might turn some people away from this book. I was a bit confused when I started reading this book. I had to keep guessing what the words actually mean because of the incorrect spelling. Still, after some time I’m used to it and I didn’t have to guess anymore. Even the ‘noise’ is having its own font. It’s printed in a messy handwriting which symbolize the chaotic nature of the noise. 

Unfortunately, what I don’t like from this book is the plot. The whole book basically follows Todd and the girl from Prentisstown to a safe place called Haven. It bores me. They almost got caught several times because of the noise. I mean, people can hear your thoughts which is not an easy thing to shut off. It’s almost impossible to be stealthy. Even if you keep your voice down, you’re still going to be heard by other people because of your thoughts. It’s frustrating, really. There’s a point where I got irritated from Todd’s attempt to run away (and failing at that of course) that I have to stop reading and pick another book. I know that most people who have read the book love it, but I think 479 pages is too much. Why don’t they just get to Haven already? Despite that, the concept of noise itself is fascinating. The information overflow with no barrier reminds me of the era that we’re living in right now. Except that we can’t really hear people’s thoughts, but people shared their thoughts anyway voluntarily through social media. The no privacy thing is what makes this book resonates well with me. It interests me to read the next book and see where it leads.

Though the girl don’t play a big role in this book, considering how much Todd and she were going through together I can see that their relationship will develop more in the next book. Besides, the book ends in such a cliffhanger that I have to read the next book immediately. There’s also the alien race called Spackle being mentioned in this book. Again, they don’t play a big part, yet. So I’m curious what will happen next. If you’re looking for a dystopia young adult book with a unique concept, you might want to try picking this one up.

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