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The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  86,201 ratings  ·  9,824 reviews
A dystopian thriller follows a boy and girl on the run from a town where all thoughts can be heard — and the passage to manhood embodies a horrible secret.

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming
Hardcover, 479 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Candlewick (first published May 5th 2008)
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Shirley I was annoyed at first but I found it helped me "hear" his voice/accent a little better. The different fonts for the different POVs were helpful for…moreI was annoyed at first but I found it helped me "hear" his voice/accent a little better. The different fonts for the different POVs were helpful for me too.(less)
The Polka Dot Oh my goodness thank you! He is so brilliantly written, and you don't even see him in first person for the majority of this book. He is a villain, a…moreOh my goodness thank you! He is so brilliantly written, and you don't even see him in first person for the majority of this book. He is a villain, a father, a conqueror, a crazy ass control freak mind raping man. In the next 2 though, jeez, you don't hate him nearly as much as you know you should. His son though.... :((less)
The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Maze Runner by James DashnerStormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Best YA to Appeal to Boys
14th out of 527 books — 474 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Maze Runner by James DashnerThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Scorch Trials by James DashnerThe Death Cure by James Dashner
What Book is Better?
3rd out of 30 books — 121 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Emily May
“Knowledge is dangerous and men lie and the world changes, whether I want it to or not.”

Every once in a while I find myself back on the Goodreads page of a book I read and adored a few years ago. I see the cover and remember first holding it in my hands and not knowing I was in for a magical experience. My eyes scan the description and I get goosebumps as I'm taken back into the story, feeling echoes of the emotions I felt once again. Then I glance down... and see my "review".

That's when I sta
i have 2,410 friends on

199 of them have this book on their shelves.
of that number, only 28 have read it.

to the other 171 of you, i say - "WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???" and you can see i am serious about this, because i have done math in order to convince you.**

and i know, i know. there are a lot of books in the world, most of us are mortal, who has the time, etc. i myself had all three of the books in this trilogy just smooshed in the middle of piles of other books at my place, thi
The Holy Terror
Things that didn't bother me:

The grammar and misspellings - normally this would bother me, but I quickly got used to it, so I don't fault him there.

The swearing - you will notice from my status updates that I don't mind a well-placed curse.

The violence - I play violent video games, watch violent movies, and I don't mind violence in books when it makes sense.

The cliffhanger - maybe if I didn't have a copy of the second book on hold at the library I would be upset, but cliffhangers don't normally
Rachel Hartman
Boy oh boy. I can't remember the last time I felt so simultaneously positive and negative about a book. Hence the three stars, averaging everything out.

(Just realized that I reviewed this at my blog but not here. Here's the cut-n-paste)

This review will, by necessity, have lots of spoilers, because the things I liked (and disliked) are very specific. Insofar as I can give you something spoiler-free, here goes: I love the concept; the world is unique and well-realized; the relationship between the
Kat Stark

This book was like opening a present on Christmas day.

You wait anxiously. Staring at that one gift. You know, the important one from that important person. And you're thinking what the hell is in there? Maybe you even go under the tree sometime in the middle of the night and you shake the crap out of it to figure out what it was.

You're getting bored of just waiting around.

You wanna open the damn thing already.

And your bored and your waiting and nothing is happening.

Then it's Christmas morning. Y
Whitney Atkinson
3.5 stars

Forever crying because "Todd?"
Meg ♥
Mar 07, 2012 Meg ♥ rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meg ♥ by: karen

In this absorbing world Patrick Ness created, only men exist. All of the men can hear each other's thoughts, and these thoughts are called noise. When you turn 14 you become a man, and the anticipation for this is astounding.

Todd Hewitt is about to become a man. He was told that there are no woman, because they were all killed off. One day, when he's out with his dog, Manchee, he finds a spot where there is no noise. Surely, he thinks, this is impossible. Soon he is confused further, when his pa
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!

Okay, here's some first impressions:
1) Awesome.
2) Great.
3) EFFING awesome.
4) Manchee!!
5) Seriously?!
6) Non-stop, action, adventure, twists, unexpected relationships, character development unlike any other, heartache, anticipation, lovely, sweet, horror, anger, unique writing style, original and fresh.
7) Seriously chaos walking.

Watch out for a video review tomorrow :)
Young Todd Hewitt is on the verge of manhood and living in Prentisstown, a world without women and where the thoughts of men and “creachers” can be heard. Todd’s dad died of illness and his ma was the “last of the women”, according to Ben, one of two men who are raising him. Todd likes to go to the swamp to collect apples, because it is the only place where he can get a break from men’s “Noise” – their secrets, their thoughts, their memories. While out on a walk with his talking dog, Manchee, To ...more
Dec 16, 2010 Joyzi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ifs yer a grammar nazi don hother *kidding*
Recommended to Joyzi by: The Hype
Complete, Edited and without effing Spoilers!

Caution: This book is not for sensitive and fainthearted readers. The book contains murder, misogyny, gore, violence against children, children doing brutal things and foul language. Seriously IMO this fits more to adult readers, it was just so sick and disturbing that a part of me believed that this probably should not be in the YA category (or maybe that’s just me). 16 years old and plus will do (I copy the same censorship of Elfen Lied and Higurash
Hard to know how to rate this book. It is amazing and powerful, but so sad it made me angry and made me not want to recommend it to anyone. If you're up for a punch in the stomach. . . here's your book.
Kristin (KC)

(A Poo-Todd Audio Reread)

*4 Stars*

This book was a pleasant surprise, and not at all because I thought its storyline wouldn't work, but I was skeptical as to whether it would work for me.

Told through the candid and youthful perspective of a twelve year old boy on the cusp of manhood, The Knife of Never Letting Go presents an incredibly unique plot that's both simple in its storytelling and layered in its depth.

Todd is the youngest boy in a society consisting solely of men, and this is his norma
Shannon (leaninglights)
I have no idea why I waited so long to pick up this book. I freaking LOVED it. I 100% recommend the audiobook (which is currently on sale on Audible), because it was fantastic. I will listen to all of them on audio. It also lets you read the story without getting as caught up on the spelling of words. But that ending!!! Continuing with book 2 tonight because it can't wait!!

Initial Final Page Thoughts.

OMFG. Proceeded by a scramble to buy the next book. I think this book had a more intense cliff hanger than The Italian Job.

High Point.

This could also be a low point… but I’m going to class it as a high point, for I have found a series that grabbed me as much (maybe more… WOAH) as The Hunger Games. And yes, I may become a hermit and forget to eat while I read these books, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. Manchee! I LOVE the writing style, it was annoying at firs
Julie Kagawa
This is an excellent book. Not only is the concept unique, but the story itself is written so differently that I could not put it down. The author uses first person to tell the story of young Todd, capturing the diction and language of a adolecent, somewhat redneck boy perfectly with statements like: "The plans are still being planned, the preparayshuns prepared, it will be a party, I guess, tho I'm starting to get some strange pictures about it, all dark and too bright at the same time, but nev ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Denisse rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA lovers
Recommended to Denisse by: Internet, I guess (?
4.5 Written in a very interesting and different way, it might be difficult to get used to it. But once you do, The knife of never letting go is an extraordinary story about innocence, maturity, loyalty, despair and sacrifice. With memorable characters and adventurous pace, Ness brings a lot of emotion and secrets to a world that hears everyone’s thoughts. It has the classical first-book-in-series issues for its big introduction, but it was an interesting one, with a main idea that goes deeper th ...more
In a world where we're bombarded with technology, our senses are often overwhelmed by the amount of noise and it's becoming increasingly difficult to find true quiet anymore (especially since most of us just plug into our computer or iPod as soon as it is quiet). A constant stream of sound and images feed us information, prod us toward rampant consumerism, and entertain us. I've become increasingly aware that many of my students seem uncomfortable with simple quiet--always wanting some sort of n ...more
Mar 13, 2012 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Jo
Shelves: favorites
“How do you think you could have possibly come this far if you didn’t have hope?”

I jumped into The Knife of Never Letting Go knowing just two things—Jo recommended it and Patrick Ness wrote it. That was all I needed!

What I found was a new world with a western-sci-fi vibe, a language and tone all its own, new friends, and big, big lessons all wrapped up in love, suspense, and power. OH, did I say suspense? I meant SUSPENSE! Grit your teeth, white knuckle, I-can’t-turn-the-page-fast-enough suspen
Aug 14, 2015 Rollie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dystopian Novels Fanatics
Recommended to Rollie by: Isamlq
What if you’re in another world; another planet? What if you haven’t seen a woman before? What if you hear people’s thought; what if animals’ too? What if you’re living with aliens? What if…what if… your dog talks?

Harry James Potter the boy who lived.

Katniss Everdeen the girl on fire.

And finally: Todd Hewitt the boy who can’t kill?

Well, I was hesitant to buy this book actually, for despite of the reason why I really wanted to read this book because of its 5-star ratings received from most of my
Alienor ✘ French frowner ✘

Here's my best read of the year. And yes, in the big bunch of books I read, I'm willing to think that it says something (about the book? About me?).

Todd and Viola's story was excruciating, mind-blowing, even hard to stand at some point, yet filled with such gems of awesomeness I often find myself thinking about it, reliving it -

Here's a book which moved me in a way no other could.

Some books make you confused. Conflicted. Have you really liked it? Can you recommend it? Would you read it again
Tadiana ✩ Night Owl☽
Book, how could you do this to me?

Bleakness. A terrible cliffhanger. Inhumanity and loss and disappointment. Oh, yes, and first person present tense narration, by a 13 year old undereducated boy.

Lots of reasons for this book to irk me. And yet.

There's loyalty and love and hope, even in the midst of darkness. There's being a man by being true to your convictions, even if it's not what everyone around you is telling you defines manhood. There's stumbling and disappointing yourself and those around
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*

N, is for P. Ness *snort-chuckle*... I mean: Patrick Ness. (Sorry, I could not resist!!)

ALL.THE.STARS. (5 Stars)

I have such a hard time when it comes to reviewing my five star reads. On the one hand there are a million thoughts and feelings vying for time in my review space, and on the other hand – for me – the five stars themselves speak volumes. However, I must try to impress upon my fellow readers my love of this book.

In the small settlement of Prentisstown Todd is the last boy. In a town
Nov 16, 2009 Tatiana rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tatiana by: YA book club pick
Shelves: ya, 2009, ala-ya-2009
I've never heard of Patrick Ness or "Chaos Walking" trilogy before. Luckily for me, "The Knife of Letting Go" was a November pick of one of my YA book groups.

"The Knife of Never Letting Go" is one of those "boy" books - there is a lot of action, there is a chase, a lot of mystery and very little sappy romance. The dystopian/sci-fi setting is exciting - an alien planet where people can hear each others thoughts. The protagonist - Todd - is a 12-year old boy on the brink of manhood in a town wher
Jason Koivu
This isn't what I expected and that's a-okay fine, because The Knife of Never Letting Go is a razor-sharp story! (sorry, that was terrible)

I guess I was thinking this would be more cerebral, but it turned out to be a fast-paced, action-filled read that reminded me a bit of The Hunger Games in that it follows a kid in survival mode in a dystopian world.

Here's the story in a nutshell: A boy on the verge of becoming a man via his village's secretive initiation rites, flees the isolated community w
I am a big fan of dystopic & post-apocalyptic fiction, and The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of the most compelling pieces of dystopia I have read in awhile. I am all sorts of in love with this book. Find out why at The Book Rat.
K.D. Absolutely
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Okay, this was the kind of book that was so good it was, like, EVIL. The story totally sucks you in; it seemed weird to me at first, but once I got used to it, I couldn't put it down. It was written in a very interesting way – very simplistic, but the author says a lot in a few words, leaving lots of haunting images in the reader's mind. Todd is a great narrator and a lovable character. All the characters are pretty awesome, actually …I got so attached to them. >< Ahhhh just such an amazin ...more
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
Pure and simple, The Knife of Never Letting Go is EVERYTHING The Hunger Games could have been. It had a dystopian/post-apocalyptic world that was original, exciting, but not ridiculous. This is a world that ACTUALLY is terrifying in a way that HG really isn't. And it has a main character you can actually care about, relate to, feel for, and root for. A character who isn't an emotionally-challenged doormat. And no love triangle. Pure and simple, this is *the* dystopian book to read and love.
If this book represents the relatively-new (to me) genre called 'dystopia', then I guess 'dystopia' is just not for me.

I didn't get it. I simply didn't.

Majority of the time, I felt agitated and stressed out (and that says a lot because you should feel relaxed if you're engaged in a good read... right?). I didn't like the way the story progressed (which is basically just the protagonists running and hiding, albeit impossibly, and then running again and hiding from an army, but for what reason t
You know how, by the time you hit the third season of Castle, you're kind of getting tired of the hit-and-miss chemistry between Castle and Beckett? I mean, you know something's happening between them, they keep moving towards each other, but then, at the exact point where you're about to get excited — ohmygosharetheyfinallygoingtokiss!, something happens and the moment passes. For the first two seasons, the sexual tension is thrilling and exciting, but by the time season 3 comes around, you jus ...more
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Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, has written for England’s Radio 4 and Sunday Telegraph and is a literary critic for The Guardian. He has written many books, including the Chaos Walking Trilogy, The Crash of Hennington, Topics About Which I Know Nothing, and A Monster Calls.

He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Co
More about Patrick Ness...

Other Books in the Series

Chaos Walking (3 books)
  • The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2)
  • Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3)
A Monster Calls The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking, #2) Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3) More Than This The New World (Chaos Walking, #0.5)

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“We are the choices we make.” 1384 likes
“Without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.” 795 likes
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