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The Knife of Never Letting Go (2008)

by Patrick Ness

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chaos Walking (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,8263861,461 (4)1 / 447
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.

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English (374)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (383)
Showing 1-5 of 374 (next | show all)
There are plenty of reviews quite rightly praising this first book of the trilogy. It is a ripping yarn; an original plot; a very interesting world (better than a lot of similar adult fiction); brilliantly drawn characters, both the good guys and the bad guys. You will love Manchee the dog, especially.

The book lost a star, for me, for two reasons. At one point the plot drags. I started skimming, which I rarely do, so I have to recognise that failing. I think the author was trying to create tension at this point, but it failed for me.

The other problem is the contrived way in which the protagonist does not attend to a certain item he gains very, very early in the story. This won't bother everyone, though, and it in no way detracts from everything else that is great about this book.

However, the best bit is your reward for reading for reading this book, which is to read the second book, The Ask and the Answer, which is an utterly brilliant 5*s. ( )
  ortgard | Sep 22, 2022 |
A lot of more recent books from the Young Adult/Dystopian genre seemingly tend to imitate the sweeping successes trilogies like [b:The Hunger Games|2767052|The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)|Suzanne Collins|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1447303603s/2767052.jpg|2792775] or [b:Divergent|13335037|Divergent (Divergent, #1)|Veronica Roth|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328559506s/13335037.jpg|13155899] were, featuring a likeable heroine, usually an attractive male protagonist, certain dystopian elements, some villains and an exciting plot. Don't be mistaken, a lot of those aspects you will discover in Patrick Ness' trilogy as well, but that's by far not everything this book has to present to its readers. Let me attempt to convince you of why you have to read this book.

a) The characters are well-developed and qualified to root for, and let's not forget, we won't find a second pair like Peeta and Katniss or Tris and Four in this book. Instead, the protagonists are twelve-year-old Todd Hewitt (when do modern YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Dystopian novels ever feature a male point of view character?) and the bizarre Viola, a lost girl he discovers in the swamps surrounding the town he grew up in. During the course of the novel, Todd and Viola have to learn to rely on each other in order to survive, and it's their relationship which marks central parts of this novel. What's the best part of it? Patrick Ness doesn't include useless romantic aspects in the storyline, partly thanks to the characters' ages. I'm not against romance in novels, but I'm against using the same romantic devices in YA novels over and over again. Instead of love, Patrick Ness explored the motif of friendship, and he absolutely succeeded in doing so.

b) The premise is original and interesting alike, establishing a world in which your thoughts are not exactly your own thoughts, because everyone else is able to hear your thoughts which surround your body in an everlasting presence following a virus which was released on human beings by an alien race. Imagine what that means: It is very hard to lie or conceal secrets, because in a lot of cases, the more you try not to think of certain things, the more you can't help but think about them, and if you think about them, others will know your thoughts. This can definitely be a good thing, but in a world such as this, where Todd and Viola have to escape their enemies and survive against creatures who want to harm them ... in such a world it isn't always that good.

c) The adventure in this novel is so intriguing that, especially in the second part of the novel, it will rob you of the capability to put the book down again. I had a rather hard time getting into the story, but once it started to become more fluent and reminiscent of Ness' writing in the acclaimed [b:A Monster Calls|8621462|A Monster Calls|Patrick Ness|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1387584864s/8621462.jpg|13492114], I was hooked and couldn't take my eyes off the page anymore. Sometimes it is annoying to find out that each and every single chapter ends on a major cliffhanger, but the author managed to insert them into the story in such a believable way that I ended up not minding this at all. In addition, Todd's dog Manchee has to be the best dog ever. (Did I mention that animals are able to speak in this world? And they will bluntly say, independent from which situation they are in, when they have to poo.)

And if you now forget about the least-developed villain of all time this novel unfortunately features with the more than crazy Aaron, then it could have been a 5-star-read. But that shall not discourage anyone from reading the book, because if you are interested in a crossover between the genres YA and Science Fiction with some surprising depth, then reading this book can be totally recommended.

Buddy Read with Adita. Read her review here. ( )
  Councillor3004 | Sep 1, 2022 |

Things I liked:

Fast paced: the nature of the plot is driven by action and pursuit, this keeps things exciting and made me want to read on.

Interesting teenager characters: The two main characters both have their share of hangups, trauma and problems to work through. I thought that was well reflected in their behaviours, speech and thoughts. Rare enough in my reading to mention.

Things I thought could be improved:

Too much exposition: When Ben turns up 2/3 through the novel to pretty much dump the back story and disappear again I found it a jarring and quite huge let down. I could almost sense the editor sitting on the authors shoulder saying 'It's not clear what's going on, you have to explain it to the readers'. Not necessery and probably the biggest thing I didn't enjoy about the book.

Cliffhanger ending: You've been warned (I don't consider this a spoiler). I'm in too minds about this, but basically I'm not sure if I picked up the second book because I enjoyed the first one or because I just wanted to find out what happened. It felt like my hand was forced. Once again, possibly uneccesery and definately detracted from my enjoyment.

Standout moment: when the the dog is killed, it really broke my heart 'Todd ??'. Very close to tear jerker. Honourable mention also goes out the Speck murder which I found quite visceral and gritty. ( )
  benkaboo | Aug 18, 2022 |
i may have given this another star, but i am being a wuss about one of the choices the author made. when aaron kills manchee i found it hard to continue -- he was my favorite character and added such depth to the musings on loyalty and faith that the book contemplates throughout. also, i know that this is part of a trilogy, but that doesn't excuse it from being its own book -- the ending was a little too cliff-hangery for me, or at least incomplete. rushed? i don't know. but in its favor, this book is a brutally realistic look at coming of age in difficult surroundings -- hammering home the point that who you are and what is right are not always apparent.

still, did anyone else think the final confrontation between aaron and todd was a little ... vader/skywalker? ( )
  J.Flux | Aug 13, 2022 |
Todd is born on the New World, settled by his parents and other colonists hoping to find peace and security on a new planet. But men on this planet have been “infected” with a disease of some sort that makes their thoughts, emotions, and dreams public—meaning it’s endless Noise, causing chaos—part of the title of the trilogy. The settlers form groups that deal with this Noise and chaos in all sorts of different ways, some good some bad.

Todd sets out on a journey (I won’t say why, because spoilers) with his dog. This book is about his journey, meeting a “quiet” girl (women don’t have the infection), and their discovering these very diverse communities, facing kindness as well as horror along the way. This was both an amazing & awful book. I loved it & couldn’t put it down. It was non-stop action with a compelling story & mystery. It’s gory but that’s not my problem with it.

For starters, I hated the dog’s story arc. And I hated the ending. Not because it was a cliffhanger, it was because it’s the first in a trilogy, but because of the substance of the ending. Despite the myriad horrible events that took place in book 1, it’s clear it will get even worse. I’m not sure I have the emotional wherewithal to continue down this road with Todd without a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I’m sure it does, but do I want to go there? This book was an emotional investment. I will have to decide if I’m ready to put even more emotion into it. So I’m disappointed. I was hoping this could be one of my favorite books of the year. I can say with confidence, sadly, it was not. ( )
  KarenMonsen | Jun 22, 2022 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick Nessprimary authorall editionscalculated
Podehl, NickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Folio SF (492)
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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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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.

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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?

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Candlewick Press

2 editions of this book were published by Candlewick Press.

Editions: 0763639311, 0763645761


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