Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Release Date: September 8, 2008
Genre: Teen/YA, Science Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5
Todd Hewitt lives in a world where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts. Called “The Noise,” there is no privacy in Prentisstown, nor are there any women. They were all killed during the war with an alien race called the Spackle. One day, Todd discovers something when he’s out with his dog Manchee, something that changes the course of his future. He discovers that everything he knows may be a lie as he races to a place that may or may not exist.
I’ve heard great things about The Knife of Never Letting Go, so I decided I wanted to pick it up and read it. I’ve really been enjoying the YA dystopian fiction that’s been becoming more and more popular lately.
This was really different than any other book I’ve read in recent memory. First, the writing style was difficult to get used to. In order to create atmosphere and to reiterate the fact that Todd is uneducated, Ness purposefully misspells words (suspishun instead of suspicion) and uses a lot of slang. While it’s effective, it’s also very annoying. It’d be one thing if it was just in Todd’s dialogue, but it’s in his narration as well. However, as the book progresses, either Ness dials it down or the book becomes gripping enough that the reader doesn’t notice it.
The book also starts off very slowly. For the first 100 pages or so, it’s hard to get into it. But then, it picks up very quickly and becomes impossible to put down. Regardless of the flaws in this book, and in my opinion there are many, I was completely hooked.
The reveal of the history behind what really happened comes much too late in The Knife of Never Letting Go. By that point, I had already figured out most of it and very little of it was a surprise. Additionally, I found the reason why everyone was after Todd to be rather disappointing.
Despite my dissatisfaction with The Knife of Never Letting Go, I still will be reading its sequel, The Ask and The Answer. Why? Because the book was that gripping. Patrick Ness really knows how to tell a story. Despite the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, I still want to know the answer, especially since the ending of this one was such a cliffhanger!