Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Knife of Never Letting Go


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? (jacket copy)

The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness. As soon as I finished it, I went out to buy the other two in the series, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men.

Todd Hewitt lives on another world very similar to earth. When the colony first arrives, they are like any other people. But after a war with the Spackle - the original creatures who live there - a strange thing happens All the women get sick and die, and the men begin to hear the thoughts of other men. Even other animals.

The story opens one month before Todd’s thirteenth birthday. Something special happens to a boy on the day he becomes a man, but Todd has no idea what it is. Tales and gossip don’t trickle down between men and boys, because once a boy becomes a man, he no longer associates with the boys. And Todd is the last boy. He’s been friendless for about a year.

Todd likes to hang out in the swamp with his dog, Manchee, whose thoughts are also audible. Men don’t often go to the swamp, and the Noise of other men isn’t so strong there. While there, Todd discovers a hole in all the Noise. A silence. A silence that leads him to a deadly secret.

And thus the adventure begins. Todd and Manchee run for their lives and discover more and more about the secret as they go, heading to a great climax and a killer ending. Although, it is book one, so not everything’s wrapped up neatly, and that may disappoint some people.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is more Speculative Fiction than Science Fiction, I think. For those who like plot driven novels, there is non-stop action and adventure. For those who like character-driven novels, there is growth, emotion, and thought provoking ideas and issues. It’s put out by Candlewick and written for ages 14+, but I think even 6th and 7th graders would enjoy it. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long while


Andrea Murphy said...

Sounds fascinating, Barb! This is going on my summer reading list. Thanks!

Mur said...

...and my summer "listening" list as I do all my reading in the car.