Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre/Audience: Dystopia, young adult
Publication: Candlewick, 2009
Mehhhh. That is how I feel about this book at the moment and I know it’s not a very popular opinion, but I’m just being honest.
This was another book out of my comfort zone that I read for my Forever YA book club. I would have ordinarily never picked this up, but it was the February selection so I gave it a go out of obligation.
So. The story takes place in the future on some other planet called New World. Todd Hewitt is our 13-ish year old narrator who lives in a town full of men, and is the last remaining “boy.” All the women were killed off when the settlers arrived on New World, by the Noise germ, and only men remain. Yes, when Todd’s people arrived on the planet, they began hearing each other’s every thought AKA Noise. Todd, being the last boy, however, doesn’t know the whole story. He’ll find out in a month when he becomes a man, but before that can happen, he is forced to flee with his dog, whose Noise can also be heard. Todd’s surrogate fathers tell him to run away without any explanation, but Todd knows it must be something sinister and begrudgingly obeys. He leaves the only home he has ever known and soon stumbles across a young girl. But how can that be? All females were killed by the germ when they settled on New World, weren’t they? Todd and this girl must face difficult and harsh realities while escaping a violent and hostile pursuit from some not so well-meaning men intent on finding Todd.
This story was very unique, I will say that, and I have enjoyed a dystopian novel or two (particularly All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin), but it’s not my usual cuppa tea and this one was not. My cuppa, that is. Action and adventure have never really been my thang, and while I enjoy a good suspense novel, I don’t really enjoy adventure novels, and I do believe there is a difference. I like realistic suspense reads that are grounded in reality; I’m more of a contemporary or realistic fiction kind of fan. This was a total action, adventure, thrill ride through the woods and down the river kinda thing.
All that said, the plot was very interesting and different, and I also really loved Manchee, the talking dog. I was intrigued by the story and even read the last 200 pages rapidly because I wanted to see how it would end. It was captivating and attention grabbing at times and the writing was quite good… but I just never really got all that into it. I felt that it was kind of repetitive. Todd and the girl run and escape, then up pops the bad guy and someone gets hurt. They run and escape again, then up pops the bad guy and someone gets hurt, over and over and over again. It got a bit tiring and boring reading the same thing repeatedly, ya know?
Other than that, I don’t have much else to say. I know A LOT of people really love this series, and I can totally see why – it’s very fascinating! But again, I’m just personally not into adventure type books so I never found myself fully immersed in the story, until the very end. This is the first in a trilogy of very long books, and I’m curious to know how it all turns out, but I’m still not sure I liked it enough to keep reading. This is what stinks about series sometimes – I invested many hours in this nearly 500 page book and I still don’t even know the half of it; I have no satisfaction nor do I know how the story really ends. Will I read the rest of the trilogy? Well, the jury’s still out on that one.
My Rating: 3/5