Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Lynn: For those who don't know me, let me say upfront that I a major fan of science fiction and fantasy and I might be a trifle outspoken about those genres now and again. It's been a great year for speculative fiction and this exciting book is one of my favorites.

Set on a world settled by colonists seeking a simpler, closer to God life, the story follows a young boy just days from his thirteenth birthday, about to become officially a man in his settlement of Prentisstown. The town has no women, a virus having killed them all when Todd was just an infant. The virus left the Noise, the ability of every man to hear the constant stream of thoughts of all those men around him. When Todd "hears" a strange area of silence, it triggers his foster fathers to send him fleeing the settlement but the other men of the town ride out to track him down.

The idea of the Noise is an integral and fascinating part of this story and Ness raises intriguing issues based on the idea, including the wonderful depiction of how animals sound. While this is a tense dystopian novel, it is also a startling and unique coming of age story asking what does it mean to be a man. Heart-pounding unrelenting suspense kept me flying through this book. This is the first of a series and the cliff-hanger ending left me hanging by my fingernails! Note: There is a lot of horrifying violence in the story and some very upsetting deaths.
Cindy: I stayed up WAAAAAYY too late last night finishing this un-put-downable title and am paying for it tonight. The voice in this novel may be the strongest element in a very fine story that has many strengths. Interesting that it is voice that stands out in a novel that creates chaos and lack of privacy by having too many voices being heard. And, the voice of the dog added humor in a novel that needed that to get us through the rest of the events.

The ending was as much a cliffhanger as Lynn promised, and I can't STAND waiting for sequels when the ending leaves you hanging as badly as this one does. I mean, really, what am I supposed to do between now and the Fall of 2009 while characters' fates hang in the balance? If anything happens to the girl in this book, maybe Todd can hook up with the girl in Graceling by Cashore--they have the same incredible survival endurance, whereas I'd be dead by page 43. More than hating to wait for sequels, I can't stand to not read exciting books that people are talking about. Count me a fan of this one and recommend it to readers who liked The Hunger Games by Collins.


Morgan said...

I let out a horrid shriek and threw the book when I read the last page.