The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking #1 (completed trilogy)
Published by: Walker Books
on May 5th 2008
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Love Triangle? No
Buy: Amazon | Bookdepository
I listened to this on audiobook (11 h 55 m), narrated by Nick Podehl.
Todd Hewitt is about to turn thirteen, which makes him the youngest in Prentisstown, a small town with only men. Where all the women went is a mystery Todd doesn’t know the answer to, all he knows is that the only place women exist anymore is in the imagination of men. That already sounds creepy enough, but to complicate matters further everyone can hear each other’s thoughts because of something called the Noise germ. Just before he turns thirteen and becomes a man, something terrible happens that forces Todd to flee from his town (the only one on the whole entire planet as far as he knows) with only his dog for company. Though fleeing is difficult when the people coming after you can hear your (and your dog’s!) every thought.
And then Todd meets a girl.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is first and foremost a survival story. If you’ve read Ness’s More Than This already then you know he writes excellent survival stories.
“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.”
The last time I listened to an audiobook it was probably in my parents’ car on one of our vacations when I was younger. So I don’t usually listen to audiobooks, but I stumbled upon this one and decided to just sit down and listened to it because I’d wanted to read the book for a while, but my book store didn’t have it and shipping from amazon is too expensive to me. So, I decided to go for it and I actually really, really enjoyed the ride.
The writing style in this trilogy is very much oral. A lot of words are written how they are pronounced (stayshun for station etc) and there is an accent even in the narration, like “yer” for “your”. This made the book very suitable for audio, because actually hearing the accent instead of trying to make it sound right in your head (it always sounds stupid when I try) was very beneficial to me. I also know that this writing style can be annoying to some. If you’ve tried to read this but got distracted or annoyed by the writing then I really recommend trying the audiobook because the story is worth it. I was very amused by the way the narrator said certain things. “Sheeeeep.”
As for the story itself, phew, what a roller coaster, the plot is definitely something I haven’t read before. I liked being confused about what was going on and what had happened in the past, I love having to wait before I figure out what is going on. The story was fast paced, something was almost constantly happening, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Then I realized another perk with audiobooks. You know when you’re reading something really thrilling and suspenseful and then your eyes betray you and flicker to the bottom of the page or paragraph and you accidentally spoil yourself? You can’t do that with audiobooks, you’re constantly surprised. No need to block the bottom of the page with your hand to avoid ruining the scene.
There are sad parts, happy parts, heart pounding parts, it has everything I look for in a book. The characters are believable too, especially Todd. And Manchee, the dog. Sweet sweet Manchee.
I’m really looking forward to reading the next two books. I found physical copies at the library, so I’m going to try that now when I have the voice of the character in my head. I don’t have to imagine what the accent might sound like anymore, so I think I can read the rest of the two books without feeling distracted.
I recommend this book to everyone, especially if you’re into dystopian fiction, survival stories, or just generally like a darker read. You have to be able to stomach a bit of gore (not that much) and children in life-threatening situations.