Since finishing the book two nights ago, I’ve been trying to think of a perfect adjective to describe Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go. I eventually settled on sinister. I don’t know if that’s the final word, but it works. But perhaps I should introduce you to the book jacket description first?
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.
But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.
Or are there?
Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.
Which is impossible.
Prentisstown has been lying to him.
And now he's going to have to run...
This menacing masterpiece has won several awards, and after reading it, I can see why. Ness is a genius at controlling the story and the audience. He’s set up the perfect mystery, and unravels it with painstaking skill and unmatched expertise. The tale he tells is intelligent, brutal, scary, and a glimpse into the shadows of the human soul. It’s also a coming-of-age and journey tale, punctuated by very brief rays of life and hope and redemption, before the reader is plunged again into the dark. And perhaps I should stress that it’s the first in a series? There’s more where that came from. I have no idea where Ness will take the story next, but I am equally afraid and excited to find out. I can only imagine that he’ll stretch the characters even farther than they think they can bear, and wring out us readers along the way.
This reading experience was hard. It was painful. And it was completely worth it. I feel as drained and as impressed now as I did after reading The Hunger Games for the first time. In a very different way, certainly. Ness’ work is probably darker on a whole. But if you’re interested in reading really great fiction, by an absolute master, and want to get a feeling about what this ‘dystopian’ thing is all about, I recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go. Or maybe you’re a fan of clever and realistic horror? This will fit the bill, too.
And if you think I’m being vague and talking in circles, well – I am! I can’t in good conscience say anything more about the plot or the characters. If you want the mystery solved, you’ll have to read it as I did, and take step by perilous step into the fantastic world of The Knife of Never Letting Go. Enjoy!
NOTE: If you're desperate to know a bit more about the story or to check out someone else's whole-hearted recommendation, please see Rhiannon's review or Aimee's loving rant. I trust their book sense, and everything they say, I'd say (if I was half as eloquent). Except I don't like to give away much (read: anything), so you've been warned.
If you’d like to have this novel by Patrick Ness for your very own, pay attention: I’m giving away one (1) copy here on my blog!
Leave a comment on this post answering the question, “What’s one dystopian novel you’ve read (or would like to read)?”
Please include your email address. Giveaway is open internationally - I'll order straight from The Book Depository. Comments will close on November 14 at 11:59pm EST, and I will notify the randomly selected winner via email.