July 21, 2011

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness


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?

My Thoughts:

This book really surprised me. You would think as an English teacher some things would drive me crazy. Like the run-on sentences, the lack of spelling correctly, and the whole lack of punctuation but you know what?

I loved every flipping minute of it.

Another oddity: This book is a futuristic science fiction novel.

And I still loved it. Every bit of it.

I was sitting on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book, waiting to see what happens next, waiting to see what other problem will come up next and not for one minute did I think that this book was boring.

Which is saying a lot because I like challenging novels to my brain anyway.

But omg, it was fantastic. And I didn't want it to end. It was just a surprisingly beautifully written novel. And I loved the suspense! I was literally hanging on the edge of my seat and never knew what was coming next.

The characters were great too. Believable. Real. Thoughtful. And identifiable. I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say there was something in the book for everyone. Even if it doesn't seem that way at first especially with a 12 year old boy as the main character.

I was like, "It's a boy? And I'm suppose to identify with him?" But I did. Even though he was a bit younger then me, all you have to do is flip the number around and tada!, but I really felt his emotions. His pain. His hurt. His hunger.

Oh, that reminds me: This book is a little bit bloody. I wouldn't say it would make anybody squeamish, but just as a warning. It didn't bother me. I guess because we could all see it coming and because I sorta write stuff like that so it didn't bother me. Plus it's in the title, and sorta a symbol played with throughout the novel.

Can someone say essay? :) My poor future students, lol.

Anyway, the plot was really good. Where the author left it made me scream NOOOOO! I definitely wanted more of that, but it clearly says on the book cover Chaos Walking Book One, so that gives me hope!

It was the perfect ending. I have to say. If it was available in the bookstore, I would have bought it right then and there. I have to admire the way he ended it from a writer's perspective. It was just perfect.

Um, what else? The setting threw me for a loop. At first, I thought we were on planet earth like hundreds of years ago because of the whole New World thing. But interestingly enough, it was really a whole new world. Alien world. Not on earth! So once I got that straight, I understood why everyone could hear people's thoughts and all of that stuff. And why there were two moons.

Dialogue was believable. Everything was just perfect. Even the teacher/perfectionist inside me didn't even realize all of the mistakes and stuff until like the end of the book!

I know, right?! You would think my attenas would have gone off, but it didn't. I guess because Patrick Ness did it on purpose. :)

But I will have to warn writers right now: Just because Patrick Ness broke the rules, doesn't automatically mean the rules aren't valid.

What do I mean?

Well, it means that you have to be an EXPERIENCED writer to do this correctly and effectively like Patrick Ness did it. Plus, newbie writers, you must know the rules before you can break them. So learn the rules first, then get a couple of books under your belt (get them read through and stuff) then break the rules.

I know I broke quite a few in Angel Diaries. :) Ah, I love it!

Anyway, main question: Would I recommend this book?

To anybody who can value a really great book, HECK YES! Science fiction lovers tired of the machines taking over theme, HECK YES! With anybody with a pulse, HECK YES!

It's an awesome book that I'm so glad I took the time to pick up and read. I will be buying this book for my classroom library. I know if I love it, I know another student will. I was a bit worried about the age group since the main character is a little young, but I think it'll appeal to them. Besides, I put Bruce Coville in my classroom library, and I know he's really connected to middle school readers. So why not?

So I would definitely give this book a chance. Even for people who don't read science fiction (like I am), I think you will flip the switch and start loving science fiction.

If this is what science fiction is about, then I'm totally in!


  1. Wow. This is a book I never would've read--except for your review. What a startling blend of elements. In the end that pull-you-along quality is what gets me, as it sounds like it did you. Thanks for the review.

  2. I was adding this book to my to-read list on Goodreads and guess what? It's the first in a series! Looks like The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men are numbers 2 and 3. Thanks for the enthusiastic review!

  3. Excellent review. The book sounds divine and I'm going to have to check it out. thanks for sharing.
    C.K. Volnek

  4. Hey all, and thanks for commenting! :)

    @jennymilch-Not me either. I'm not a future soceity type of person and the grammar and punctuation were just not up to snuff. But really, once I got into it. I was in. I'm more of a fantasy with a dark twist sort of a person, but this book really opened a lot of doors for me and it made me think differently. And that's what I really liked about this book. It changed my whole mind about science fiction and what it could be.

    Yeah, this book defintely yanked me along. It forced me to read and read some more.

    No problem. This book is meant to be shared.

    @Olga-I know! I'm SOOO excited that I might have to go to BAM (Books A Million) and buy it now! And today is pay day! :) It's TOO tempting.

    No problem. Reviewing it was defintely interesting.

    @Charlie-Thanks. I try. :)

    Yeah, you'll definitely will have to check this book it. It's amazing. And it just blew my mind. I'm glad you will give it a chance.

    I hope everybody gives this book a chance. :)

  5. Sounds interesting. I'll have to check it out. And I've found that certain stories, even with younger characters, have some universal themes that can be taught in the classroom. One good example is that we read The Giver in my 9th grade class, which is about a 12 year old, but we can find themes (euthanasia, medicating emotion/sexuality, eliminating differences, etc..) that they can relate to. In fact, many students say they already read this book, but I made them look at it on a much deeper level. And when we read Of Mice and Men, same story but older characters. You just have to find a theme and have the students make it personal (for Mice and Men: loneliness vs. friendship, their idea of the American Dream, women as objects, etc...).

    Anyway, very thorough review. Hope you're having a good weekend.

    Paul D. Dail

  6. Hey Paul! Glad to see you dropping a comment! :) Nice to see a famaliar face, lol.

    Yeah, it's definitely an interesting story. Surprised me in a very very good way. Ultimately, when I decided to add this book to my classroom library, the main tone and themes of the book just made sense in a high school setting. When I started this classroom library I wanted to bring my students a variety of books that could be read in middle and high school and even college. I just wanted to let my students break the boundaries on what could and oculdn't be read for their age group or even reading level, so yeah.

    Lol, just the thought of The Giver brings me sorta bad and good memories. I had to read it for I think 8th grade and we read it together as a class. Not my favorite book by far. I just remembered not liking the ending or something else. It was really boring to me, but I still have that book for my students. Why? Because of what you mentioned. The themes in the book are really for high school students and someone else may love that book to pieces. Others, like me, will probably won't like it.

    Anyway, thanks for complimenting my review. I try to be as thorough as possible. And I'm having a fabulous weekend. Just started on my hair (fixing it and re-doing it with kinky twists) and spent the weekend with my family, so that's always nice. I hope you're having a great weekend as well!