Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Review - The Knife of Never Letting Go / Patrick Ness

Summary - Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town full of men, a town where everyone can hear your thoughts and Todd finds out he doesn't fit in with the town's plans as he approaches the birthday that will make him a man. The town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force hime to run...

Review - This much hyped and award winning novel sat on my shelf for a good long while before I got around to cracking open it's covers. Part of it was not wanting to be disappointed, part not wanting to get so sucked into a book where I wouldn't sleep until I finished reading. A hundred pages in and it was genuinely difficult to work out what all the fuss was about - I was confused, frustrated and just wanted the sodding plot to hurry up. Shortly after that, the fantastic premise finally hit it's stride and this reader was suckered in for the ride.

A combination of interesting dialects, a good old character building journey and the revelation of the town of Prentisstown make this an interesting read. However, it's the interplay between Todd and his newly found girl, Viola, that really sets this novel apart. Add a crazy but cool Mayor and a Terminator-esque ranting preacher-man and you have two of the best, Big Bads, that I have read in quite awhile.

Ness has created an highly complex reality for these characters and then wrapped it in clear, precise and memorable dialogue. The Noise is a devise that is used so wisely and written so cunningly that many aspects of the plot sneak up on you and then jackhammer your head in. The use of sexual politics is a fantastic one as the truth of Prentisstown isn't revealed until much later in Todd's story. Ness has brilliantly used Todd's unconventional education and illiteracy to counterpoint the excess of information available through The Noise to great effect. The Knife of Never Letting Go is a bloody, tense, captivating read that is sure to hold on tight and possibly shake your socks off.

Published: 2008
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Origin: UK
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Rhiannon Hart said...

So glad you liked it! It was a bit obtuse for the first 100 pages or so, but fantastic once it got going. I got the whole Terminator thing from Aaron, too. Someone pointed out to me that Todd has a bit of the Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye about him, and I'm inclined to agree--except that Todd is far less annoying!

prophecygirl said...

You know, I've had this sat in one of my book boxes for a long time, and still haven't read a page of it yet. I keep hearing good things about it, so I should probably go and dig it out.

If you liked it, that's a very good sign indeed!

H said...

I found this whole book a bit meh. It did get better, but I still found it a struggle to get through it all. And then the non-ending! I almost threw the book across the room.