The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness (2008)
YA Fiction | Sci-Fi
“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?”
pooled ink Review:
Patrick Ness. What have you done to me?? What have you done? This book…this book was amazing. The moment I finished it I had to re-allocate funds from my food budget to my book budget to get the sequel. Actually I just went ahead and bought the rest of the trilogy because this book was so good that I knew it could not let me down. The next thing I did was freak out and tell all of my friends about it and try to get them to understand how empty their world was without it.
This book is set on another planet? Hmm okay. It has aliens and stuff? Hmm okay. The main character is some twelve year old boy? Hmm okay. There are no women or girls left on the planet?? Hmmm okay. You can hear everyone’s thoughts all the time and “a man is like chaos walking”?? Hm- wait, okay yeah I’m definitely intrigued.
Honestly I’m not super into aliens and stuff. It’s just not really my cup of tea. Stories on space exploration and distant planet settlements? I mean it’s cool but just not what I generally lean towards when book hunting. But really? A place with no females? A place where you can hear everyone’s thoughts all the time? Even the animals? I was most certainly intrigued and it just took my friend Dillon to give me that shove to read it and BAM. I am FOREVER a huge Chaos Walking fan! I’m so serious it’s ridiculous.
This book was everything. One particular chapter made me cry and carved up my heart and I will never be able to quite fully forgive Mr. Ness for that but because this book was so good I am able to look past it (warning: there is a cruel heart-wrenching chapter like this in each book).
Todd and his dog Manchee go on an adventure – well it’s more of a run for their lives sort of thing – after discovering a very surprising person. The story tracks their journey from Prentisstown to the desperate sanctuary of New Haven. The Mayor and his men (whom I tend to picture as an Old West cowboy posse) are on the hunt for Todd and besides this challenge alone Todd faces the challenge of surviving through his shattering reality.
The friendship that forms between Todd and V is realistic and something to be jealous of. The two characters form a loyalty and friendship so strong it’s staggering (particularly in this age of Facebook friend vs real friend). It’s admirable. And more than that this book explores what it means to be a man. To be a human. Sifting through societal definitions and standards, through Todd’s definitions and standards, and others’ definitions and standards, Todd slowly wades through it all and piece by piece learns what it is to be a man.
The world, the creatures, the details, everything in this world created by Ness is so thought out, so realistic, so believable. It’s so incredibly simple to fall into the book and be absorbed in it until your full bladder demands you put it down or else. New World is easy to picture in my mind, I can see it, I can feel it, and I am there with the characters as they run, run, run.
This book was incredible. I will forever campaign in its favor. I’d give almost anything to play Viola if it is ever made into a movie but regardless of who plays who I hope this book becomes a movie so it can reach more people [update! Daisy Ridley will be playing Viola and I’m so pumped!!!!! She’s amazing and I can’t wait for this movie!!!]. It’s worth it. For certain this book is worth it. So yeah, I give it my full support and recommendation.
Do you enjoy sci-fi? Do you enjoy fiction? Do you enjoy adventure, friendship, war, or life? Do you have a soul?? Then read the Chaos Walking trilogy.
P.S. …I’ve been thinking about it and part of me wants to categorize this book as a YA Space Western. I mean, it sort of fits.
Purchase here: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Meet Patrick Ness!
Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.
He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children’s Book Award. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London.