It’s tough letting go, especially when you love YA colonization thrillers! Check out Bryan and Robert’s review of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.
Bryan’s quick summary:
Todd Hewitt is just one month away from becoming a man in a world where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts. The Noise germ laid all thoughts bare years ago, but despite the cacophony, Todd knows the people he loves are keeping secrets. When he’s forced to flee with his dog, whose thoughts also cloud his mind, he runs smack dab into the biggest secret of all. Todd must set off on a journey with a newfound friend as he seeks to learn the truth about who he is and why the members of his town seem to be stalking his every move.
The Knife Of Never Letting Go is by Patrick Ness
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Bryan) A weird and strange world with the interesting and creative device of telepathy. For the most part, it worked, and occasional dog overwhelm notwithstanding, I think it contributed to a pretty epic tale.
2. (Robert) This is a well-told and gritty story, quite violent and unpleasant in places (no sexual content though, but a lot of implied swearing: “effing” is used in place. It’s mostly a chase story with impending capture, but along the way, Todd and Viola suffer immense pain, violence and begin to learn the real story.
3. (Robert) I loved the dialog and thought style of Todd’s character! I saw some of the negative reviews complained about the misspellings and speaking-style – personally this really added to the ambience and setting – world-settlers who had lost their history, and become wild-west-like. Told entirely from Todd’s first-person, present tense POV, it’s well done.
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Bryan) Great cliffhangers throughout the book, but there’s a monster one at the end. Ness is apparently a big fan of these things as I learned that he actually ends the third and final novel with a huge one as well. I suppose that’s one way to do it.
2. (Robert) Patrick Ness’s book was apparently billed as a literary sci-fi novel, and I can see why. I think it’s a shame that this happens, because the book’s prize-winning fame drew unnecessary criticism – people who thought it too violent, or that the violence was gratuitous. But if you take it as simply a story (the ending aside!), I think it works. It’s dark, pacy, dangerous and believable.
3. (Bryan) Telepathy. You really have to go all in with something like this, and I feel like Ness does. You get used to it, but at first, it’s a bit annoying. The narration did a great job with Manchee the dog.
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. Outside of the ending, this was awesome. It took me (Robert) a while to adjust to the style, but once I did, I really liked Todd Hewitt.
2. Why not have a dog as a great character! Manchee … “Ow, Todd?” Love it!
3. You can break all the rules when you start fresh on a new world, so be willing to try that out.
Prompt of the Week:
When during your life would you most have wanted to hear other people’s thoughts? Would it have been worth it if other people could hear your thoughts as well? What thoughts would you most want to hide?