Review – The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go“And I turn my head a little and I listen some more.
There’s a hole in the Noise.
Which can’t be.

It’s weird , it is, out there, hiding somewhere, in the trees or somewhere outta sight, a spot where yer cars and yer mind are telling you there’s no Noise.  It’s like a shape you can’t see except by how everything else around it is touching it.  Like water in the shape of a cup, but with no cup.  It’s a hole and everything that falls into it stops being Noise, stops being anything, just stops altogether.  It’s not like the quiet of the swamp, which is never quiet, obviously, just less Noisy.  But this, this is a shape, a shape of nothing, a hole where all Noise stops.

Which isn’t possible.

There ain’t nothing but Noise in this world, nothing but the constant thoughts of men and things coming at you and at you and at you….” (page 13)

The Knife of Never Letting Go is a speculative fiction novel that has one of the weirder premises I’ve ever read.  In a kind of pilgrimage, a group of people leave Earth to live a simpler life on another planet.  It ends up being more complicated than they ever imagined, when the aliens who inhabit this planet are unhappy by the new arrivals and create  a series of germs to combat the humans.  First they make a germ that’s supposed to kill animals, but it doesn’t quite work and only makes them all talk.  Second, they make it so everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts.  Finally, they kill all the women.  Todd Hewitt is the last boy in his town, growing up 12 or so years after the conflicts with the aliens.  But one day, when he is out in the swamp that surrounds his small town, he hears something impossible – silence.  When he goes back to tell his caregivers this, they immediately tell him that he needs to leave the town, and quickly.

That’s all you need to know, because you have to read this story without knowing anything else about it.  There are so many surprises and twists and turns along the way.  Some of them you will probably see coming from a mile away, but there are others that are pitch perfect.  Ness skillfully builds suspense and makes an action-packed novel that also has something important to say about youth, adulthood, but most of all, gender.

Did I mention that Todd has the coolest pet ever?  A dog named Manchee, who can talk, and is full of awesome.

Please read this book!  It’s so good.  It’s the first part of a trilogy and we have to wait a while for the second installment, but it’s totally worth reading now.  It has one of the saddest scenes in a book I have ever read, it has one of the most innovative situations and the ending packs a punch.  There is no rounding off the story to a nice ending with a cliffhanger; the fast paced action continues until the very last word and will leaving you desperate for more story.

I couldn’t put this novel down and am trying so hard to be patient for Book Two.  Only a few more weeks!!! I thought I had to wait so much longer – you have no idea how excited I am!

90% – Action, suspense, but still asks the big questions.  Highly recommended.

Other reviews:

things mean a lot
books i done read
Rhiannon Hart
The Zen Leaf

13 thoughts on “Review – The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

  1. yay, you loved it too! I think The Ask and the Answer is probably even better. And even more heartbreaking. I want to hug Patrick Ness for writing a series as addictive, as easy to ready, and still as smart and complex and challenging as this.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly! It’s so simple and readable on the surface, but totally not afraid of asking the big questions. Kids are smart and this novel recognizes that.

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