Review Blog

Aug 07 2008

Knife of never letting go by Patrick Ness

cover image

Walker, 2008. ISBN 9781406310252
Chaos Walking, Book 1.
(Age 13+) Highly recommended. This is a stunning, unforgettable book with a totally original plot that completely captures the imagination of the reader. Todd Hewitt lives in Prentisstown, where he is constantly battling against the jabber of The Noise. As a result of a virus, everyone in Prentisstown can hear not only each other's thoughts but those of animals. All the women and girls have died so it is a male dominated society. When Todd finds a pool of silence, he discovers to his amazement that it is a girl and he cannot hear her thoughts. Pursued by Aaron, a religious zealot, and the men of Prentisstown, Todd and Viola try to escape and the resulting chase is fraught with danger and adventure.

The Noise is a wonderful ploy that pushes the action packed plot along and brings alive the main characters. One of the most engaging is Manchee, Todd's dog. Ness has managed to give an animal a really credible voice. When Todd and Viola are being pursued, the thrill of the chase is magnified by not only by being able to hear the noise that the men make but their thoughts as well.

The story is much more than an exciting chase. Ness explores a society where women are banned and a fundamentalist religion dominates. Todd faces the moral dilemma of whether or not he can kill a man and the ethics of murdering the Spackle, an indigenous race, are examined.

I can't wait for the next two books in this series.
Pat Pledger

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