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The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)

Review

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown. In fact, he is the last boy in the New World. This is about to change, though, as his thirteenth birthday draws closer and closer. But before he can officially become a man, a ritual shrouded in secrecy, he hears silence. In Prentisstown, silence is impossible as all men broadcast their thoughts through the Noise, a phenomenon that happened after the Spackle attacked the settlement. With silence comes a cost, though, and Todd may not be prepared for what is beyond the swamp surrounding Prentisstown and the secrets its residents hide.

I have to say that THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO is gorgeous. It is aesthetically pleasing, a phrase I rarely use. This is the tenth anniversary of the book’s original release, so it had to make a big splash, and the publishers did an amazing job. The dust pages are inky blacks with shiny, light gray letters sprawling across the black. Each time we read someone's thoughts, it is broadcast in a different font. For certain characters such as Mayor Prentiss, the font changes. The font changes depending on the character and their thought process. It is a great visual way to see the way the Noise sounds like.

"The world building is dark and dangerous….This book is perfect for fans of Patrick Ness's work as well as those interested in reliving the early 2010s dystopian rage."

Todd Hewitt is a fascinating character. He is complex. He struggles with his morality. I am in love with his struggle of killing. He is a boy, a child, yet he has to face these immense decisions. He flip-flops between steeling his resolve and immediately losing his nerve. This is a decision that weighs on many people. It is not always easy, and I am happy that Patrick Ness explores the morality of killing, even for safety, with Todd.

Todd's relationship with Manchee is one of my favorite relationships in this book. It is so sweet and innocent. The two of them might bicker, but they are both good friends. They rely on each other. I hope we get to see similar relationships as Todd's story develops.

The most interesting thing about him is how young he is. As Viola says, he could be 14 and a half according to Earth's time.

Viola is very confusing. I wish we could have had her side of the story. She had confusing morals and goals. She wanted to send word to her ship but also kept saving Todd. Why? He saved her a few times, but repaying the incident does not seem like the whole reason. I disliked the hints about a romance. I can smell a romance from miles away, and all of those “glances” are obvious hints. I believe Viola could be a great protagonist if given the chance. She has the drive and spirit to do amazing things, but her role is constantly limited.

I wish we had more time with Ben and Cillian. Those two seemed to be opposites, yet their relationship worked well. We did get to see more of Ben, and I adore how fatherly he is. He is so kind to take in young Todd and raise him like his own son. I hope that in the sequel and beyond that there is more information on these two.

The world building is dark and dangerous, but I wish there was more. The Noise is interesting. What happened in Prentisstown is interesting. The settlements are interesting. We just did not get enough. I felt like there was too much lacking in the world development. I understand that Todd is not mapping out his route and taking historical notes, but I wish this book was less of a race against time and more of an exploration of humanity and civilization.

I liked the various settlements the best. They are all different. Hildy's had females in charge, but the doctor's was not a matriarchy. It was very interesting to see what Patrick Ness thought about what the future might hold if we replicate the early civilization process.

The book ends on a cliffhanger. I honestly do not know what is going to happen, and I want to know. What will Mayor Prentiss do to Todd? What happened to the other settlements? What other secrets does Prentisstown hide? I may be picking up the sequel soon.

This book is perfect for fans of Patrick Ness's work as well as those interested in reliving the early 2010s dystopian rage.

Reviewed by Wren L., Teen Board Member on September 20, 2018

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)
by Patrick Ness