Internetlings, I FINALLY read something by Patrick Ness. Yes, finally!
Let me tell you a story: Last week, Shanti and I weren’t here (here meaning home). WE were on a school trip. (We were in entirely different places, but anyway). I decided to bring 3 books. Since the entire week was spent walking, I had to carry them. Also, we weren’t allowed any devices, so they were all physical books. Now, one interesting fact about me is that I NEVER get carsick. So, I read most of The Knife Of Never Letting Go in a bus, sitting next to someone who I mainly ignored (yes, I’m so nice), and reading. Just so you have some context.
Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Published: 2008 (not sure why you’d want to know this)
Genre: YA sci-fi
Themes: Friendship, Orphans, fleeing, telpathy (but not really because you can’t stop it)
Reminded me of: Across the Universe?
Goodreads Synopsis: 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 Blurb: There are secrets in Prentisstown. As the only boy in a town of men, Todd doesn’t know what to do when he hears a terrible secret. Suddenly, he, his dog, Manchee, are on the run, pursued by an army. Todd has a book from his mother explaining the secret, but he can’t read it, and how can he run when his pursuers can hear him? ….. I give up.
It’s impossible to really explain this book. The premise was excellent, it was throughly creepy (but in the right way), and perfect in many ways.
I think the premise- people can hear each other’s thoughts, and there’s a secret- really contributed to the rest of the book. The characters were influenced by it, the plot was driven by it (see last line of synopsis), the setting was related to it. This made TKNLG work really well for me.
As usual, I’ll break it down:
The characters: Todd and _____, the main characters, developed SO MUCH over the course of the novel. They started off running away from each other, were forced to come to peace with who they were and how they were different. Anyway, I felt they were very round as characters. They weren’t just good or bad, and struggled with morality, and making the right choice. As they journeyed, the way they changed- affected by intangible hope, movement, other issues- worked AMAZINGLY. I hated Aaron (why was he still alive?), but he was a good character. However, I think some of the secondary characters that were introduced- especially when they stopped at towns- were unnecessary. For example, at one point todd and Viola stay with a nice old couple, who tell them things. Everyone in the next village they visit seems to respect her, but we don’t know why. She is irrelevant for the rest of the book. And Ben, Todd’s foster father, while being very interesting, seems to randomly pop up then leave. So maybe that’ll be important later? But then it seemed unnecessary.
The Language: Because Todd can’t read, and it’s told from Todd’s perspective, some words are spelt phonetically like ‘tho’. But others, like ‘know’ aren’t. I felt like Ness should have either gone the whole hog or not done this at all. It did add to Todd’s voice. Otherwise, I loved the voice. I also appreciated the chapter titles (I know, surface level), which made things interesting.
The plot, and setting: Here is a tiny and obvious spoiler: This is set on another planet that hasn’t been settled long. There are hints that the people were taken there cryogenically. Since Todd and _____ are fleeing, there are a lot of different settings that go with the plot. The descriptions of settings are good, and gave me a sound concept of the people and place as a whole. I loved the plot: It had a start—–stop kind of structure. (i.e, there would be a good deal of action and running, then maybe a day or a few hours of sanctuary). Interestingly, the large conflict was almost at the end and there was little to no falling action. Maybe because this was a series?
Altogether, I would recommend this to lovers of sic-fi, interesting premises, action, and creepy mystery. Also people who like reading.
Hookingness: 5/5 (It took me only a bit more than a day)
Have you read Patrick Ness books? What did you think? How do you feel about books where the secondary characters are not as great or relevant as the MCs? Would you go and live somewhere else if you had the chance?