Review│The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1)

the knife of never letting goAuthor: Patrick Ness // First published:  May 2008 // Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, YA
This edition: 479 pages, published in May 2013 by Walker Books // Get it @TheBookDepository

Read in October 2015

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee – whose thoughts Todd can hear, too, whether he wants to or not – stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden – a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

My thoughts

After reading the first chapter, I thought to myself “Nope. Not for me. Main characters beats his dog to make himself feel better? No. No. No.”. But knowing that this series is very much loved and widely enjoyed, I decided to keep on reading. And  I have to say that I’m pretty happy I did, because this turned out to be rather interesting.

I was very surprised to see the actual science fiction element of this book, I did not realise it was such an important part of the premise; I just expected yet another dystopia, post-apocalyptic scenario, like we’ve seen so many times by now. Another surprise for me was the fact that the world that these characters are living in is not such an enigma. I’m going to use the same example again, but in Divergent, we basically know nothing of how and why this society has come to be the way it is, we get glimpses in the later books, but I really wasn’t satisfied with the snippets of answers that we are given. Here, it is the first book, but I understand why they are here, why their society is the way it is, etc. We don’t know everything yet, of course, but it is a solid foundation for the other books to build on.

Our main character is Todd. A 12-year-old who, has most 12yo, things he’s got it all figured out and that he has the answers to everything. What Todd doesn’t know, is that he basically has been lied to his entire life, and a scarce group of people has been shielding him from the realities of the world. So we start off with this very arrogant and smug 12 year-old boy who kicks his dog because “he never even asked for one in the first place”, and we see in the book a significant growth on his part (I’m guessing it’s not the end of it and we’ll see more in the next books). It was a great character arc, as I have rarely seen before.

My rating:

We have still a lot more to learn from this world and these characters, but this is the first book in a trilogy, so what did you expect? I knew people loved this book, but I was not so thrilled by it in the beginning. Luckily, the characters and the plot made me change my mind. this is why I give this book 4/5 stars. I do own the rest of the trilogy, so I’ll try to read them in the not too distant future.

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