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Review: “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness

June 4, 2012

There’s a lot of information floating around these days: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, 24/7 news networks, sports tickers, stock tickers, text messages and more. The nice thing, though, is that if you want, it’s not too hard to get away from it all. But what if you couldn’t? And what if all that noise was made up of the very thoughts of everyone (and every animal) around you?

Such is the life of Todd Hewitt, one of 147 all male residents of Prentisstown on New World. There are no women left… the same war that left the men able to hear each other’s thoughts killed all the women as well. All Todd knows is a life of chores on the farm with his caretakers Ben and Cillian, the countdown to his 13th birthday (when, by town tradition, he becomes a man), and the Noise which “washes down the hill…like a monster the size of the sky come to get you cuz there’s nowhere to run.” More of the same, day in and day out. Until one day when Todd is out with his dog Manchee and he encounters something that shouldn’t be possible–a hole in the Noise. Silence.

What transpires is a fantastic story that will cause Todd to question everything he’s been told in his life and discover what it really means to be a man.

I had no idea going in what this book would be like. All I knew was the title, which was compelling enough for me to give it a go. I’m pretty sure I was hooked by the end of the first page, if for no other reason than the fantastic opening lines:

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything.

And I’m pleased to say the story more than lives up to that opening. Once the main plot kicks in, the action moves fast, and doesn’t let up until the end. Despite that, Patrick Ness manages to create some very well-defined characters, including a particularly nasty villain. The saga continues in the equally well titled “The Ask and the Answer” and “Monsters of Men.”

-Dave M., Headquarters

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