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

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  119,933 Ratings  ·  13,117 Reviews
Imagine you can hear everything the town of men say about you. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit into their plans. Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run.
Paperback, 479 pages
Published October 22nd 2008 by Walker (first published 2008)
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Danielle Hubbell I wasn't bothered at all. The misspellings aren't terribly invasive and I hardly notice them as the narrative plows on. The vernacular is very fitting…moreI wasn't bothered at all. The misspellings aren't terribly invasive and I hardly notice them as the narrative plows on. The vernacular is very fitting both for characterization and style; it makes sense that Todd, an illiterate farm boy, uses phonetics in his speech and storytelling--this is what the words sound/look like in his Noise, so why wouldn't they look the same to the reader as he's narrating? I also find it to be somewhat endearing because it adds authenticity to his voice, making him feel like an actual person rather than a character on a page. We're seeing everything through Todd; he is our lens and this is merely his translation of the world.(less)
Elias Oh yes, he's fantastic. I am the circle and the circle is me.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Emily May
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
“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
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: why-yes-i-ya
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
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
Whitney Atkinson
3.5 stars

Forever crying because "Todd?"
Oct 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5 - Read for my young adult literature class.
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
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

Some books make you confused. Conflicted. Did you really like them? Can you recommend them? Would you read them again?

And you sigh, sigh, sigh.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is not this kind of book. Hey, I'm not afraid to say that it was insta-love for me.

☛ Does it make me a NA heroine? You tell me : I read 3 or 4 pages and I was like, "Oh. My. I'm gonna love this book!"

Yep. But perhaps you want to know why? How could I move from "pretty rational reader" (I think. I hope. Oh, shut up) to "bad
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, you can't leave me with that ending!
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 :)
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.
Megs ♥
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megs ♥ 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
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Edit: I originally rated this book 2.5 stars, but on further consideration, it is more of a 1.5-2 star book for me.

The writing and themes explored in this book are excellent. The writing style is unique and part of the world building in a lot of ways. I found the actual plot, particularly the "twists", as well as the characters, especially the villains, to be lacking. A predictable plot and villains who are evil for the sake of being evil can really kill a story for me and that's what happened h
Cross-posted at Outlaw Reviews and at Shelf Inflicted

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.
Oct 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
The majority of my friends loved this book! But, I didn't and I hate that I didn't!

I love Patrick Ness but this book just wasn't for me and I won't be reading the rest of the trilogy. I will continue to read Patrick Ness books =)

I loved the whole concept of the book and it was cray. BUT, so much of the book made me feel crazier than I am and gave me a headache. =(

I'm so glad so many others enjoyed it because that's the beauty of books. I just wish I was one of them. Sigh......
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reads
Reread! 5 stars, of course.

Initial review:
Perfect! Just perfect! Complete work of art. Everyone should read it and bless their sights with its glorious pages. I have nothing else to say.
Second read 5th May 2017. Still great book and my opinion remains unchanged so my original review bellow will remain unchanged (not counting correction of few spelling errors that I missed initially).

This might be the best YA dystopian novel I read and what makes book great are not huge plot twists and big WOW moments, it's the small things.
First of all the setting.While it's never main focus and there isn't whole lot of world building but what is there builds into idyllic world, almost a paradi
Kristin (KC)
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristin (KC) by: Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤

(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!!
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
I really enjoyed this book. Much more than i expected. Adventure and mystery. Great characters. The dog was my favourite. Love dog's in books. Thought it was really well done. One day I might pick up the next one in the series.
Edit: 03/12/15 - added an essay I wrote for university to my review.

The essay:
“Too much informayshun becomes just Noise." - Dialects and Slang on New World

If you were to ask a group of people what kind of superpower they would like to have, there would definitely be at least one person who would like to be able to hear everybody's thoughts. This person should read “The Knife of Never Letting Go” (2008) by American-born British author Patrick Ness and possibly reconsider this answer. Set on New W
*** 3.25 ***

A buddy read with the MacHalo Freaks, because we obviously want to keep on torturing ourselves with dystopias!!!!

When I started this book I had absolutely no expectations and was kind of surprised a bit ago when I saw so many people hipped-up about it several years ago... Apparently I missed the popularity wave:) However, I do not think this is the reason I have so many misapprehensions about it. Maybe I am reading it wrong, maybe I am not seeing something, but my main issue is with
Dannii Elle
So for the entire month of February I have been Patrick Ness crazy! Like, CRAZY!! I had never read any Ness before so I thought I'd pick up one or two of his books as I had heard only good things about his writing. This led to me buying almost everything he has ever written and reading them all back to back, without even pausing to write a review in-between. So, let me begin this review by apologizing to my GR friends for the onslaught of Ness-related reviews coming your way today! Sorry (not so ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, 2015
“War is like a monster. War is the devil. It starts and it consumes and it grows and grows and grows. And otherwise normal men become monsters, too.”

3.5/5 stars

I found it kind of hard to rate this book, because I have many and very mixed feelings towards it.

First of all, Patrick Ness is an amazing author. He is creative and sets up a very special, dangerous, dark and unique fantasy/dystopia world. His characters are incredibly interesting.
I like the relationship Ben and Cillian have even though
Ɗắɳ  2.☊
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ɗắɳ 2.☊ by: Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*
“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.”

First off, let me start by saying, I loved A Monster Calls. I thought it was a brilliant allegory about suffering and loss, and having your heart ripped apart, yet trying to mend those pieces back together and somehow go on living. Such a powerful tale about the human condition, in general, and one that hit all too close to home for me. If you haven’t read that yet, do yourself a favor and add that to your list (c
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Julie Kagawa
May 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
A lot of more recent books from the Young Adult/Dystopian genre seemingly tend to imitate the sweeping successes trilogies like The Hunger Games or Divergent were, featuring a likeable heroine, usually an attractive male protagonist, certain dystopian elements, some villains and an exciting plot. Don't be mistaken, a lot of those aspects you will discover in Patrick Ness' trilogy as well, but that's by far not everything this book has to present to its readers. Let me attempt to convince you of ...more
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  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

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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Your Chaos Walking Playlist 11 144 Feb 10, 2018 05:31AM  
How do you imagine Manchee? 57 276 Feb 06, 2018 11:07AM  
Manchee's Death 147 1447 Jan 25, 2018 03:22AM  
A Million More Pages: BOTM 2017 - The Knife of Never Letting Go - Starts 12th August 18 34 Sep 22, 2017 01:28PM  
Diversity in All ...: The Knife of Never Letting Go (August 2017) 43 121 Sep 10, 2017 06:37PM  
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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)
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“We are the choices we make.” 1694 likes
“Without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.” 993 likes
More quotes…