Emily May's Reviews > The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
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Dec 22, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: dystopia-utopia, young-adult, 2011, favourites
Read from January 03 to 08, 2011

“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 start to wonder how I possibly made it through high school English. I mean, really. Some of the words I used aren't even words. Which is totally unacceptable for a book - a trilogy, in fact - as fantastic as this one.

And it is amazing. I have read all three books several times and count them amongst my all time favourites, across all genres, adult, YA or otherwise. It shouldn't be so incredible - an adventure/survival story about a thirteen year-old boy and his dog doesn't sound so impressive - but, oh, it's just so much deeper, thought-provoking, sad, funny, chilling... everything than you would imagine. It's one of the most rich, meaningful stories I've ever read.

It tells the story of Todd, the last boy in Prentisstown, who will become a man on his 13th birthday. Prentisstown, though, is not your average town - everyone in the town is male and they can hear one another's thoughts (called "noise"). In a town like this, you'd think keeping a secret would be impossible.

But we soon find out that noise can lie and that Prentisstown has some very dark secrets. What really happened to the women of Prentisstown? What lies on the other side of the swamp? And why is it so important that Todd, just one boy, reaches his birthday and becomes a man?

It's a novel with fantastic characters and possibly my favourite animal character ever. And it's built on some seriously dark themes. You might not expect that from a YA book promising talking animals and adventure, but there are underlying themes of dehumanization, colonization, slavery, racism and sexism. And - as if that wasn't enough - it's a ridiculously addictive pageturner that demands you pick up the sequel immediately after (I'm warning you).

When I try to put words together for the books I really love, they never seem like enough. I read back over my review and get frustrated because nothing I say seems to capture that inexplicable pull of wonder, excitement, horror and delight that was flooding through me while I read the book. I'm sorry for that. At least, though, I have written a better review than before.

You may be thinking "that's a bit arrogant of her to come along and say that this is a better review". But, really, you should have seen the last one.

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Reading Progress

01/03/2011 page 57
12.0%
01/07/2011 page 237
49.0% "bloody awesome!"

Comments (showing 1-43 of 43) (43 new)

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Sophie A childs book? It's categorized as Young Adult for a reason. And not as Childrens. Young adult books can be as deep and meaningful as adult books and if not deeper. I might suggest to try and open your reading to young adult because it may surprise you what adventures and journeys you can find in them.


Emily May Actually, YA is my most read genre. This book, however, is often shelved as "childrens" or "middle grade" and is in the 8-12 section at my local library, therefore not YA.


message 3: by Jay (new)

Jay Awesome review


Michelle I'm so surprised your library puts it in Children's! I would (and have) only recommend to my most mature 7th graders.

And, ugh, I hate to call other posters out, but Sophie is obviously not familiar with your reviews and did not comprehend your first paragraph.


Olivia (Books and Big Ideas) I've never seen this shelved as children's...it was shelved at YA at my library, which isn't always correct, but this one is so violent...


Moya I remember when I picked this book up from the library (I've since then completed the trilogy and have also read the novellas). Best decision I ever made in my life.


message 7: by Kelsee (new)

Kelsee This is in the young-adult section at my local Book-Store, and online it says YA. Funny that some people would say it's a middle grade book. It's not; It's a YA novel. :)


Nita I would guess that by categorizing this book on its vocabulary alone (which there are formulas and programs for) would put this book in the children's section. But, the doesn't scratch the surface of the concepts and thought that this book gives and requires.

Thank you for a nice review that gives noting away. I like the explanashun and direkshun you gave. :)


Moya Nita, I know you obviously weren't talking to me but, I like yer comment!


message 10: by C.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.J. Mugleston I loved this book! And I read it based off your review. :)
Though, this isn't a children's book. It's YA and as such thoroughly enjoyable by teens and adults alike. I read YA almost exclusively.


message 11: by Ali (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ali I loved this one but man did I cry... And I'm not a terribly emotional person!


Emily May Ali wrote: "I loved this one but man did I cry... And I'm not a terribly emotional person!"

Me too! :(


message 13: by Vane (new) - added it

Vane J. Damn you, Emily. I had told myself I WOULD NOT pick this book (because I don't want to start a series), but then you had to write this review... >.< It's great, btw, now I'm foaming in the mouth to finally read it (I have it, but something has prevented me from doing so).

Also, this: You may be thinking "that's a bit arrogant of her to come along and say that this is a better review". Happens to me a lot. I see a review I wrote last year, I think "yuck" and I rewrite it again because I can't stand bad-written things, lol


Salina Thanks for rewriting your review Emily, I started this one a while back but never got past chapter 4. I put it on hold and wasn't sure if I was ever going back to it, this review pretty much reassures me that I should ^^ Definitely going to continue this after I get through The Child Thief (which is absolutely remarkable by the way) :D


Rachel Marks So true! I love this series!!


message 16: by Jenn (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jenn It's not often I remember so many specifics about a story, but this is one that breaks the mold. I have been afraid to pick up another book by Patrick Ness because I'm so afraid of being let down...he really raised the bar with this series. Great review!


Emily May Vane wrote: "Damn you, Emily. I had told myself I WOULD NOT pick this book (because I don't want to start a series), but then you had to write this review... >.< It's great, btw, now I'm foaming in the mouth to..."

Haha! I came to see what I'd written about this book after talking to you about Ness and just HAD to change it. I'm so glad I convinced you to change your mind ^_^


Emily May Salina wrote: "Thanks for rewriting your review Emily, I started this one a while back but never got past chapter 4. I put it on hold and wasn't sure if I was ever going back to it, this review pretty much reassu..."

I can understand that. The story is a weird one and the "voice" takes a while to get used to... but I do think it's worth coming back to. Hope you love it the next time! :)

Btw, I agree completely about The Child Thief.


Emily May Jenn wrote: "It's not often I remember so many specifics about a story, but this is one that breaks the mold. I have been afraid to pick up another book by Patrick Ness because I'm so afraid of being let down....."

Thank you! I was just saying in another thread how Ness' books are completely different from one another. Loving one doesn't guarantee you'll even slightly enjoy another. That being said, I think More Than This is fantastic.


message 20: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie Sounds intriguing! A good dystopia goes a long way.


message 21: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy I'm not always a fan of dystopian literature, so when Goodreads suggested it to me, I scrolled on by. Your review has changed my mind, however. I'm seriously intrigued now. Also, you had me at "favorite animal character ever"...it's been a long, long time since I've read a book with a great animal sidekick.


Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V. I've had this series on my TBR pile for a while! Maybe it's time to finally pick it up...


message 23: by Mike (new)

Mike I wondered a little bit about this series and as much as I would have liked to compare your original review I enjoyed this one.


message 24: by Ju (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ju Haghverdian I love this trilogy. It brings up so many emotions. Great review, even if it is not the first one :)


Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘ (of badger and SNAKE) Aww Todd ♥ I adored this trilogy. And about your review, wow, I can't even imagine mine as I feel like I'm learning new words in English every day^^ Anyway, this book was so good, and unfortunately so bad translated in French :/ I bought it for my boyfriend and the language is SO childish, I was very disappointed.

Also, VANE! You better read this. Just saying. But come on! It's amazing.


message 26: by Jody (new) - added it

Jody Hart Thank you for the great review! I didn't read the last one but this one is awesome! I will be definitely picking this one up soon. :D


Rachel Marie I'm listening to the second one now. Loved the first. I've worked in three different library systems, all of them have it catalogs as YA. I personally think its a bit brutal to be shelved in children's. Good review :).


Victoria Favourite book! :)


message 29: by Miracle (new) - added it

Miracle I absolutely love Patrick ness and this just gets me more excited to read this trilogy


M athue Faulk Best. Series. Ever.


message 31: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel Heisler Just tell me this..does the dog die?


Emily May Rachel wrote: "Just tell me this..does the dog die?"

(view spoiler)


message 33: by Erin (new) - added it

Erin I just looked at the stars you gave this and the description. And it seems like one I need and want to read. Thanks.


Emily May Erin Michelle wrote: "I just looked at the stars you gave this and the description. And it seems like one I need and want to read. Thanks."

I really hope you love it. I think this book is amazing :')


Gimme My I picked up most of my books based off your reviews and I thank you I usually am more into action and fast pacing books but this one made was really good! I loved it! Thank you!


message 36: by Mary (new)

Mary You are officially my favorite reviewer, I picked this book just because your wonderful review.


Emily May Mary wrote: "You are officially my favorite reviewer, I picked this book just because your wonderful review."

Thank you so much! :)


message 38: by Ryan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ryan Great review, Emily! I am just starting to get back into reading the last six months or so. I really enjoy your reviews on here, you do a great job. Just finished the first book (in pretty close to record time for me) and really enjoyed it. Your review helped me pick this book and I'm happy I did.


Emily May Ryan wrote: "Great review, Emily! I am just starting to get back into reading the last six months or so. I really enjoy your reviews on here, you do a great job. Just finished the first book (in pretty close to..."

Thank you, Ryan! So glad you enjoyed it :)


Melissa Cañas Hi Emily! first of all, let me say you are my favorite reviewer, everytime a book catch my eye i check to see if you've reviewed it cause if you liked it then i'm sure i would too, YA is also one of my favorites genres, but i'm sorry to say i have never hated a book as much as i hate these three, i'm still on the third one and i'm struggling so much to finish it, but i have to cause it goes against my religion to leave a serie unfinished, and they usually get better towards the end, but this one just keeps getting worst and worst, i hate pretty much everything and every character in this book, but i especially hate todd and viola and their childish relationship, there's nothing more to it than a childish infatuation with each other and a constant destruction of themselves and everything around them, i think if i read one more time how they don't care about any other living creature but themselves i'm going to go mad, i think i hate even more todd than viola, and his whining about how he can't kill but pretty much every other awful thing he has done is ok in his book, or viola's book and that's all that matter, have i mentioned how much i hate them both? i'm sorry i'm just not buying this whole story, not to mention the effin mayer, but his the villain, we are meant to hate him right?. i only liked manchee and ben and that didn't last long, did it?.
I also think Patrick Ness could have only written 2 books instead of 3, i think he could have shorten up everything a bit, for example, their running to haven in one entire book, or the war in book 3, i don't know that's just my opinion but maybe i think that way because i dislike it so much.
Anyway, i'll keep going until i finish, maybe it'll have an ending i like (hopefully) and i still think you have an amazing taste in books and i'll continue to read everything you recommend, sorry we disagree so much in this one, thanks!


Kitty Wallace This book is absolutely amazing.But definitely not a children's book because of the swearing,violence yet probably my fav book ever.Well one of my favourites...


message 42: by C.J. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.J. Mugleston Kitty wrote: "This book is absolutely amazing.But definitely not a children's book because of the swearing,violence yet probably my fav book ever.Well one of my favourites..."

Yeah, it's young adult, not middle grade. If you're looking for middle grade, try Lockwood & Co.


Steph I started reading this book slowly, and then all at once and suddenly I'm screaming and yelling and making noises and so INTO this book


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