Thursday, October 1, 2009

Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. In Prentisstown, boys become men on their 13th birthday, and Todd has only 30 days to go. 30 days left until the boys who used to be his friends will talk to him again. 30 days before he too will be indoctrinated into the secrets of men. 30 days before he'll get to talk to more people than just his foster dads, Ben and Cillian, and his dog, Manchee. 30 days before he'll have to spend more time in the town, seething with the horrible, sad, angry, and hateful Noise of men.

In Prentisstown, there are no women. When the settlers landed their ships on New World, they discovered the alien natives of the planet, the Spackle. The Spackle unleashed a terrible war on the human settlers, and in the war, the Noise germ was released. The Noise that gave animals the power of speech, men the unstoppable power to project and hear the thoughts of other men and the animals, driving some of them mad, and, worst of all, killing all the women, including Todd's mother.

But then Todd discovers something out in the swamp outside of Prentisstown. A hole in the Noise, which is impossible. A hole of quiet that moves, and pushes on him in a way that makes him want to cry. A quiet, that, when he tells Ben about it, terrifies Todd's foster dad. In fact, it scares Ben so much, he tells Todd he has to leave Prentisstown. Now. Giving Todd only a few supplies, his mother's journal (Todd can read... mostly), the cryptic message that Todd will know what to do when he gets away, and the desperate plea to hide himself and the hole of quiet from the Noise of the men. Pursued by the Prentisstown lawmen and the twisted preacher, Aaron, Todd flees into the swamp with only Manchee and his mother's journal. And what he finds there is so impossible, it completely tears his world apart.

What is the truth? What really happened to the Spackle, the rest of the settlers, and the women of Prentisstown? And what does it really mean to be a man?

The Knife of Never Letting Go was absolutely phenomenal. An adrenaline rush around every corner, this thrill ride of a novel follows Todd and Manchee as they flee the men of Prentisstown. Delivering mystery, action, horror, heartbreak, and my favorite dog of all time, Patrick Ness presents an unfolding series of surprising, shocking answers to Todd's questions that only open up more unknowns. Knife was a real pageturner, one of the best books I've read all year, and I'm very, VERY glad I waited this long to read it, because I was able to snatch up the sequel, The Ask and the Answer, right away. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't been able to turn from the last page of Knife to the first of Ask! Check them both out @ the library.

(now reading The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, of course!)

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