Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽'s Reviews > The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
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Patrick Ness, 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.

SO MANY REASONS this book should 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 you, but picking yourself up and struggling on, because that's what we need to do.

Also there's some great writing in this book. I didn't always like Todd's backwoodsy narration, but sometimes his descriptions or insights would really smack me right between the eyes.

This book has an interesting science fiction setting: people have come from Earth to settle this planet with two moons that circles a far-distant star. The original settlers were looking for a place to live that would allow them to get back to the basics of life, a farming and horse-and-cart level of existence. But something went wrong somewhere along the way. Todd doesn't really understand this, and a lot of the planet's history is secret and is divulged bit by bit during the course of the novel; I wouldn't want to spoil any of that.

But what Todd does know is that everyone in his town broadcasts their thoughts to everyone else, day and night, waking or sleeping. It's telepathy run amok. Even the animals speak, though in a very animal-level kind of way.


It's possible, but difficult, to try to hide what you're thinking from other people. And there are only men in his town: no women. (Todd thinks he knows why, but there's a lot that he doesn't understand.) Todd is the youngest boy in his entire town, and in less than a month he'll turn 13 (years run a little longer on this planet) and he'll become a man. Another event Todd wrongly thinks he understands. It's really quite fascinating, how many things Todd is wrong about.

I'm going 4 stars here for an overuse of some tropes that bugged me: (view spoiler) While I did like a lot of things about this book, I'm not sure I was enough into it to want to read two more volumes of angst and bleakness to get to the end of the story. I'm not dashing down to the library to get the next book, but I might pick it up sometime.
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Reading Progress

January 8, 2015 – Shelved
January 8, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
January 8, 2015 – Shelved as: library-has
April 29, 2015 – Started Reading
April 29, 2015 – Shelved as: dnf
April 29, 2015 –
page 23
4.8% "So the thing to remember, the thing that's most important of all that I might say in this here telling of things is that Noise ain't truth, Noise is what men want to be true, and there's a difference twixt those two things so big that it could ruddy well kill you if you don't watch out."
April 30, 2015 –
page 33
6.89% ""Sheep!" say the sheep when I pass their field without stopping. "Sheep! Sheep!"\n \n "Sheep!" barks Manchee.\n \n "Sheep!" say the sheep back.\n \n Sheep got even less to say than dogs do."
May 1, 2015 –
page 42
8.77% "Men's minds are messy places and Noise is like the active, breathing face of that mess. It's what's true and what's believed and what's imagined and it says one thing and a completely opposite thing at the same time and even tho the truth is definitely in there, how can you tell what's true and what's not when you're getting everything?\n \n --This book is making me seriously rethink the benefits of telepathy."
May 1, 2015 –
page 84
17.54% "I could do it. But a knife ain't just a thing, is it? It's a choice, it's something you do. A knife says yes or no, cut or not, die or don't. A knife takes a decision out of your hand and puts it in the world and it never goes back again."
May 1, 2015 –
page 157
32.78% ""We had no choice," I say.\n \n "Oh, there's always choices, pup, but from what I hear, ye made the right one.""
May 1, 2015 –
page 239
49.9% "It's like the song of a family where everything's always all right, it's a song of belonging that makes you belong just by hearing it, it's a song that'll always take care of you and never leave you. If you have a heart, it breaks, if you have a heart that's broken, it fixes."
May 3, 2015 –
page 268
55.95% "Whatever they want, whatever the weakness is in me that I can't kill a man even when he deserves it, it's got to change for me to be a man. It's got to or how can I hold my head up? \n \n Midnight passes and I'm twenty-five days and a million years from becoming a man."
May 3, 2015 –
page 333
69.52% "My dog -- my dog -- went after a man with a machete to save me and who's right there when I need pulling back from the darkness I fall into and who tells me who I am whenever I forget."
May 5, 2015 –
page 389
81.21% "I look at the moons one more time, the smaller one chasing the larger one, two brightnesses up there, still light enough to cast shadows, ignorant of the troubles of men.\n \n I look into myself. I look deep into my Noise.\n \n And I realize I'm ready."
May 5, 2015 –
page 423
88.31% "Cuz maybe (shut up) --\n \n Just maybe (don't think it) --\n \n Maybe there really is hope at the end of the road.\n \n --man, this sounds like someone being set up for a big fall. I don't trust this book."
May 5, 2015 – Shelved as: ya-science-fiction
May 5, 2015 – Shelved as: coming-of-age
May 5, 2015 – Shelved as: cliffhanger-boo-hiss
May 5, 2015 – Finished Reading
July 10, 2015 – Shelved as: science-fiction

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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Figgy I absolutely ADORED this book. Wasn't so fond of the other two, but a lot of people liked those much more than I did.

Erica I'm with Figgy on this one.

Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ YES YES YES!! I can't wait to read your review :D

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Alienor ☠ is stuck on the Jellicoe Road ☠ wrote: "YES YES YES!! I can't wait to read your review :D"

Finally finished it!

message 6: by Kim (new) - added it

Kim Enjoyed the review, Tadiana, although I doubt that this is a book for me.

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Kim wrote: "Enjoyed the review, Tadiana, although I doubt that this is a book for me."

Yes, I don't think this book is for everyone. I wouldn't think it's your cuppa tea. :)

message 8: by Figgy (last edited May 08, 2015 06:54PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Figgy Great review!

And I definitely wouldn't advise books two and three if you found the angst in THIS book annoying.

There is no break between books, with two starting right where one left off, and the same with three... And, while this would definitely be up there in my list of favourite books, the angst in the other two drove me CRAZY.

I never did write reviews for any of them, but I highly recommend Erica's.

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Thanks, Figgy, I'll definitely check out Erica's reviews. It seems like most people didn't like the 2nd and 3rd books as well, and if you say they're even more angsty, I think I'll give them a pass.

message 10: by Robin (last edited May 09, 2015 07:35AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin (Bridge Four) Idevoured this series one book after another

message 11: by Mariah Roze (new) - added it

Mariah Roze Our Diversity in All Forms Book Club is reading this for August. We’d love to have you join the discussion on it. :)

message 12: by Tandie (new)

Tandie I’ve never read PN. I’m feeling cautious about this one. 13yo protagonist and bleakness. I might wait to see how you feel about the next book.

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