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The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick…

The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008)

by Patrick Ness

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chaos Walking (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,5203291,576 (4.04)1 / 432

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English (322)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (329)
Showing 1-5 of 322 (next | show all)
First comment, this is a hell of a tale. Now I can see why this is such a popular series. Right from the start I could hardly put this book down. A great YA combination of a Dystopian, and a coming of age story. The main character Todd, is a twelve-year-old boy on the verge of adulthood, an “almost man.” Patrick Ness uses informal language to suggest Todd’s way of talking, using words such as ‘conversayshun’, effing, ain’t, ya, yer, etc. Todd’s voice shines throughout the story and we develop a very rounded picture of his character, and the other characters in the novel too.

In Prentisstown, you become a man at thirteen, leaving your boyhood well and truly behind. Prentisstown is a weird town, there are no women, and everyone can hear everyone’s noise, and their intrusive thoughts, due to the release of the noise germ. There is no escaping the constant clamour of noise. Ness visually creates this uproar on the printed page with bold, black writing, thoughts spilling out onto the page. This is particularly effective, when he intersperses the word “COWARD,” throughout a passage of the story.

It is a town of lies. Who are the Spackle? Are they behind the noise germ? Why are all the women dead? What happens when you become a man?

The Knife of Never Letting Go is a shining light of a tale! The narrative begins by introducing us to Todd, who is walking with his dog Manchee, towards the swamp. Manchee is a cute a mutt as you could ever imagine! Initially Todd doesn’t seem to think so, but this soon changes, and Todd can’t help himself from loving man’s best friend, his best friend Manchee. Manchee talks, and so do the other animals, but no one manages to be as engaging as Manchee. Certainly the sheep seem quite boring in comparison! Manchee’s short abbreviated doggy words such as: get , get Todd, poo Todd, are full of laughs, and pathos, pulling us in, making us warm to this brave dog. At the beginning of the book, Manchee is Todd’s only companion, Todd has no friends. Prentisstown is not a place for friends, especially when you are on the verge of becoming a man.

To begin with Todd is taken in by the lies that are at the heart of this strange community. His mother and father are dead, and he is looked after by Ben and Cillian, who both love him dearly but have different ways of expressing this love. Todd is shocked to find an area that the noise can’t touch, “The rip in the noise, as big and horrible as life itself.” He stumbles upon Viola. At first he fears she is a Spackle, but she is no Spackle, she is a girl. A girl is a strange phenomenon to Todd. There are no girls or women in Prentisstown. But moreover this girl has no noise. She is silent. The rip in the noise represents a tear in the system. Todd, the last of the young men on the verge of manhood will be the one to question the initiation ceremony that is at the heart of Prentissetown. Todd has to leave Prentissetown, leaving behind Ben and Cillian, and everything he has ever known. Both Todd and Viola are now alone in the world, and as they continue on their adventures to find Haven, a town that represents Hope, the two of them grow closer. To begin with she is silent, and Todd finds it difficult to connect with her, as he can’t hear her noise. But as she learns to trust him, telling him snippets of information, first her name, then details of her parents, Todd begins to understand her, and eventually he is able to sense what she is thinking. The two of them bond and join in an alliance to try to escape the bad guys. There are a host of bad guys in this novel, as you will discover. Todd struggles with his sense of moral right and wrong. The Knife symbolises this temptation, teasing him to become a man, to strike back and defend those he loves and cares for. Ness’s most disturbing antagonist in the novel is without doubt the crazy preacher man, Aaron.

Magic! I would say that Ness’s strengths lie in his ability to create wonderfully absorbing characters that carry you along on an adventure. It is almost as if you are there with Todd and Viola, suffering all that they are suffering. Ness has a wonderful ability with dialogue, with the use of short punchy sentences and hyphens to create a sense of escalating tension.

One of the characters, kept on surviving through circumstances that would have killed most mere mortals, but I think he had to be there at the end, he was central to the ending of the story, and if anyone is going to keep on and on, it had to be him. Hush. No spoilers!

Would I want to read more in this wonderful series? The answer has to be 100% yes. In light of that I am going to award this novel the highest score I have given a YA. 5 Stars!

Highly recommended for fans of YA, and Dystopian.

Review also at my blog: www.kyrosmagica.wordpress.com

( )
  marjorie.mallon | Mar 27, 2019 |
This book is sweeeeet! Highly recommend. Looking forward to #2 ( )
  rdwhitenack | Mar 14, 2019 |
This review contains some spoilers, so read on, if you wish, with that in mind.

In Prentisstown all men and boys can hear each other's thoughts all the time, and there are no women or girls. Boys become men, in a secret ceremony, on their 13th birthday, but Todd's family want to get him out of town before then. A month before his birthday he discovers something that makes his escape even more important, and once he starts running, it seems he'll never be able to stop, because how can you hide from those who can hear your every thought?
Welp, this is definitely a page-turner and at first I thought I was going to love it absolutely. But then two things kept that love from happening:
1) After a while the whole thing started to seem like a very long episode of The Perils of Penelope; the main characters just keep falling from one urgent danger right into another and eventually it was just exhausting.
2) The dog. Oh, the dog. The best character of the book by far, he's treated so miserably through the whole thing until the ultimate Bad Thing happens and I nearly through the book across the actual room. Just, NOPE.

So I almost didn't even finish it, but then curiosity about how it ended won out over my despair about Manchee. I won't be continuing with the series, though. ( )
  electrascaife | Feb 18, 2019 |
As a child you may have fantasized about how fun it would be if you knew what others were thinking. In Todd Hewitt's small town, which strangely consists only of men, everyone can hear the thoughts of everyone else -- this omnipresent Noise is often overwhelming and occasionally maddening. At age thirteen, just days before he will officially become a man, Todd's life is thrown into upheaval when he "hears" an area of silence while out exploring the nearby swamp and is unable to conceal his fateful discovery.

This is a fast-paced survival story with some unique plot elements, which I would definitely recommend for teens interested in dystopian survival. Myself, I wanted to like it more than I actually did, so I probably won't continue the series. ( )
  ryner | Jan 2, 2019 |
I enjoyed the pace of this novel and thought it was creative. The cliffhanger at the end didn't bother me because it fit with the book's tendency to leave more questions than answers throughout. I expect to finish the series, but I'm not diving right into the next one just yet. ( )
  3njennn | Nov 25, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 322 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick Nessprimary authorall editionscalculated
Podehl, NickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.
George Eliot, Middlemarch
For Michelle Kass
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The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don't got nothing much to say.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Silence in the noise,
questing and learning to trust,
dangerous New World.
Todd Hewitt is the
last boy in Prentisstown. What
will make him a man?

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763645761, Paperback)

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:02 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony's true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World.

» see all 13 descriptions

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1.5 3
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2.5 14
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Candlewick Press

2 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763639311, 0763645761

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