Jenelle's Reviews > The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
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's review
Mar 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: boy-book, read-in-2012, survival, some-swearing, future, ya, current-faves
Read in March, 2012

Man oh man.


Guys write on SUCH a different level than girls: more plainly, more factually, more....raw. Less complication---more power and strength. Its the testosterone--it's gotta be--and female authors just can't duplicate that same kind of intensity.

That being said, the Chaos Walking series is the epitome of "boy books", and in a genre saturated with "girl books" it's impossible not to sit up and take notice.

I'll admit, it took a couple of tries to get going into this book. I wasn't snagged in the first chapter or two and was reluctant to continue. It felt a little 'Of Mice and Men' for a bit, but it turns out that's just the setup for the story and doesn't linger there long.

The action is at break-neck speed for the rest of the book; I found my muscles tensing so much I was almost in a full-body charley horse by the end. Thank goodness this series is complete, so I could dive from the killer cliff-hanger straight into the next book!

Another "boy book" quality this story excels at is emotional bonding without sappy romance. It's so cut-and-dry, so pure and without guile, compared to the elaborate, over-analyzation of "girl books". Maybe what makes it so different is that there isn't so much speculation or self-doubt about feelings ("Does he like me? Do I deserve him? I'm so confused I can't think about anything else"), but rather just realization and loyalty ("She makes me feel good. I want her around"). It's so refreshingly honest!

That's not to say that "boy books" are devoid of sentiment, though: the forthrightness of their emotions just keeps things short and to the point, even if they are sensitive. In fact, one of the main issues in the story is that Todd IS such a tender guy and whether this prevents him from being a man.

Aside from that, the story is brilliantly conceived, combining futuristic space colonization with epic, high adventure. Orson Scott Card's "Pathfinder" is a lot like it, and I was also reminded of Beth Revis's "Across the Universe" not to mention Lloyd Alexander's "Prydain Chronicles" --- all books high on my list of favorites.

And while this book has more violence and language than the others, it's possible that that is what makes it just a little more powerful.
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