Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: YA science fiction
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy that was a gift from Vasilly
First line: The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is the story of Todd Hewitt, the last boy left in Prentisstown. In one month, he will turn 13, at which point he will become a man, like the rest of the town’s residents. There are no women in Prentisstown, not since the virus that gave men the Noise and killed all the females. Having grown up on New World, Todd is used to the Noise, the constant flow of every man’s thoughts and emotions that continually flood the senses. In fact, Todd is so used to Noise that when he finds a place of silence outside of town, he knows that something is very wrong. His fears are confirmed when his guardians, Ben and Cillian, tell him that he must leave now, before he becomes a man, before it is too late. He runs, knowing the town’s men will follow him – and how do you run away from people who can hear your every thought?
This book is one I was dying to read after reading so many Twitter conversations about it – only our library didn’t own a copy. Then Vasilly surprised me with my own copy. I saved it to read over Christmas break, because from what everyone said, I knew once I started I wouldn’t want to put it down. They were right. It’s a long book – almost 500 pages – but a very quick read. The only thing that kept me from reading it nonstop from the moment I started was a little thing called Christmas, in which my family wanted me to participate.
I loved this book. In fact, if I hadn’t already named my top 20 books of 2009, I’m sure this one would be on the list. Todd is a fantastic character. He narrates the story – and we experience his confusion and the chaos the Noise creates right along with him. I figured out the big secret of Prentisstown before Todd did – or actually, before he was willing to admit he had figured it out, because I think he knew long before that.
Manchee, Todd’s dog, is also an integral part of the story. It is a testament to Ness’ brilliant writing skills that I came to love Manchee as much as I did, because I am not a dog person. I loved the way his and Todd’s relationship developed, and the selfless way that Manchee loved and served Todd.
I honestly don’t know what else to say about this book – because it simply has to be read and experienced. The only negative I can possibly think of is the fact that it doesn’t really end – it simply comes to a stop, and then reads, “End of Book One.” Thank God for Christmas money – I have already ordered book two, and it can’t get here soon enough. Of course, then I will have to wait until next September to find out how the story ends.
Highly recommended for anyone who loves a good story, and especially for fans of futuristic science fiction.