Lhara's Reviews > The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
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Mar 11, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: dystopian, brilliant, favourites, strongly-rec, children-ya, trilogy
Read in May, 2011

(From my Amazon review)

I read this book solely on a recommendation from a friend, having never heard of it before- something which, as an avid reader, saddens me. But at least I am able to read the triology knowing it's completed; I think it would have been torture reading the books and having to wait ages for the next one.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is a magnificent book and to me seemed a bit like The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime (the narrative) and The Subtle Knife (a young girl and boy from completely different backgrounds finding themselves on an unexpected journey.)

The book is told from the POV of Todd Hewitt, a twelve-year old boy who is days away from becoming a man. He lives in a world of men who hear each other's thoughts. Then one day, Todd stumbles across something unheard of: silence. This discovery changes his whole existence and Todd is hurled into a frightening world.

There are so many charming things about this book. The first person narrative is one (and the way Todd speaks, in incomplete English.) I'm not usually a fan of first person narrative but it really suits this book and particularly endearing is the way Todd has the habit of voicing all of his thoughts. Another is Todd's dog, Manchee. Like another reviewer, Manchee reminds me of Dug from Disney's Up. He's just as charming and just as silly. He is by far my favourite character, but Todd and the girl he later meets (Viola) are truly wonderful too.

The world that Ness has woven is another charm: with its talking animals and intriguing characters and scenery.

But that's pretty much where the charms end. This is a book about dystopia and everything else in this book focuses on that and on the darkness, evil and uncertainty that Todd et al face. This is the kind of book where things go from bad to worse- with no reprieve. Several times I had to put the book down and go back to it, because the unfolding events were so awful or terrifying or unbelieveable- that I felt like I was enduring them all and had to catch my breath. There is one heart-wrenching moment in this book that made me put down the book, feeling I couldn't read it anymore, but I persevered and carried on. Todd goes on a journey in this book and so do the readers. If you're looking for the kind of book where you can simply read and relax, this isn't one of them. This is a rollercoaster ride of a book that will see your heart being wrenched and your mind being thrown into chaos as you try and comprehend the events that occur. I have never read a book that has made me feel like I'm watching the most epic kind of action/thriller film and the fact that Ness writes such a novel is a true testament to his writing abilities. It's also the kind of book that gets you thinking: from the significance of the title to debating whether an action done by a character is right or wrong- and maybe whether you would have done it differently.

Finally, this book is labelled as "children's literature" or "young adult" (I definitely wouldn't recommend it for anyone under twelve), but it's perfectly suitable for adults (in fact, maybe we'd find it more enjoyable.) Todd and Viola aren't children thinking childish thoughts: they're children on the cusp of adulthood having to grow up fast in an uncertain and scary world, so in a way this book is definitely more "adult" than "children."

Basically, I recommend that everyone reads this book! Even though the plot is intricate, this book is by no means hard to read and it's very absorbing. I hope anyone who decides to read this enjoys it as much as I did.
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Lhara My favourite book (and series) of 2011 and possiby my favourite series (after Harry Potter, if course!) This was a wonderful, nail-biting series that was so tense in places that I had to put the books down and come back to it. This book feels real. The characters awe me and the story inspires me. This is a beautiful creation of a book which reads like poetry in places. If I had to recommend one book to anyone, it would be this one.


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