The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
2008
479 Pages
5/5

Why didn’t you people make me read this book sooner? All I can say is that no one else will have that excuse! I’m telling everyone else now…book ban or not…go read this book! Take whatever measures are necessary to acquire it and read it. It’s just amazing. Patrick Ness is my new writing hero. This is one of those books that’s so damn depressing and sad and tragic, yet so fulfilling and “yes he got it right!” and awe inspiring and smile worthy at times. In other words, it’s every emotion that one can possibly experience all wrapped up into 479 too short pages.

The story is about a young boy named Todd who grows up in a town called Prentisstown in a world called New World where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts and animals talk. In Todd’s town, there are no women. Todd was not around when the world was settled, but he’s learned from the town’s history that the Spackle, the alien species that lives on the world introduced a virus to their world that made everyone hear each other’s thoughts and that the virus killed all the women of the town, including his own mother. He’s been raised by two men, Ben and Cillian who have both been fathers to him. In addition to the two of them, he has his dog Manchee..sweet, sweet Manchee.

As you can imagine, the noise of constantly hearing everyone’s thoughts can drive a person mad. But it’s all that little Todd has ever known. But Todd is about to become a Man as his 14th birthday is soon approaching. And with the approach of his 14th birthday comes a scary reality from the town that leaves a sense of doom upon the town which worsens when Todd discovers a spot of quiet, a spot of no noise in the swamp. I really can’t say much more than that without giving things away, and that’s just the first 30 or so pages!! Seriously, read this one!

There are so many things that I loved about this book. I can’t even begin to mention them all. First of all, there are the characters. I cared so freaking much about these characters that I wept for them multiple times throughout the book and I just wanted to grab them out of the pages and protect them and hug them. They are constantly faced with a new dilemma and it’s not at all unrealistic for the world they’re in. Things seem so hopeless sometimes, yet it’s the essence of who they are, their inherent goodness that gets them through. I think I loved Manchee, the dog more than anyone. Manchee is by far the best animal character I’ve ever read in a book. His “Ow, Todd?”s and just his “Todd?”s and the worst…”Thawd?”s got to me so much!! If dogs could talk, I’d just see them all as being Manchee. Sweet, kind, loving and loyal.ย  But even the secondary characters are wonderful. There are so many people who help Todd along the way that I just wanted to thank. People that we meet just for a few pages, but that left a lasting impression on me. And there are those that resonate pure evil…people that ripped pure rage from my heart…the writing was just so good.

The writing…like I said, amazing. How did his book not win every award that’s out there? I was so enamored with Ness’ writing style. The book is told from Todd’s point of view, in Todd’s voice, in his thoughts. And it’s very true to what you would imagine a 13 year old boy in his setting would be. There are times where the book falls into an almost flow of consciousness feel and those parts just carried me away. They gripped me by the throat and didn’t let me go. And then there are parts of the book that speak to you like pure poetry, parts that are just beautiful. There are parts that are so descriptive that they bring tears to your eyes. Like the “here” creatures. Anyone who’s read the book knows what I’m talking about for sure. I just found it hard to believe that someone could write a book this well and really not falter throughout the whole thing.

Then of course, there’s just the plot and the idea of the story itself. It’s genius! There’s just not more I can say than that. Patrick Ness has a mind of gold. He captures every detail of this world perfectly and doesn’t leave anything out. The history is there, the species are there, the concept is all there, the characters and relationships are drawn perfectly. There’s no confusion about anything. Everything is just expertly done!

As you can probably tell by now, I just can’t say enough about this book!! And I’m not done yet :p I plan on doing a longer more thorough discussion of this one with some other book bloggers after we all finish it. Sort of like Nymeth and I did for our Nerds Heart YA final, but with more people! Can’t wait!! Heed my advice in the first paragraph, please!!!! Go read this book!! I have a feeling you’ll find a new favorite read of the year…I know I did.

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23 Responses

  1. Okay. I’m going to take a deep breath, because I know I’m going to get reemed for this opinion…I only gave this book 3 of 5 stars. I had some issues with it, the first being that it was just too fast for me. I read it in 2 days, and felt sick afterwards because I’d gotten so wrapped up in that world that I couldn’t escape even when I wanted to. It took me TOO far in there, if that makes sense. I wish I could have read it at half that pace. I’m making sure I read the Ask and the Answer much slower, and hope i like it better for that. Second, I didn’t feel connected with the characters. Mostly because of the dog. Everyone loves Manchee…but I found him annoying. This is only to be expected – I find dogs annoying in real life. Pets in general. I’m not an animal person. So maybe it’s too much to ask a non-animal person to empathize with one of the main characters of this book, you know?

    I have a feeling if I’d read it slower and if I liked dogs, I would have been bursting with enthusiasm the way you are, but as it is, I have to hang back. Ah well. I wish I could love it more.

  2. I’ll just join Amanda in admitting that I found Manchee annoying. (I really thought I was the only one!)

    I didn’t love this one the first time round–though I found it plenty exciting–but I really really loved the second book. (It makes me think maybe I wasn’t in the right time/place for the first one to wow me. Maybe a reread would turn things around?) I can’t wait until you review The Ask and The Answer. I loved that one so very much.

  3. Dammit. I want to read your review soooooo badly!!! But I think I should wait until I finish the book myself…can I wait? Am I that strong?

  4. Ok, so I’m not a big fan of animal narrators in a book but your review has me really interested in this one. I’d seen it mentioned before but the title is odd and it didn’t seem like something I’d like so I skipped past it every time. I’m going to trust you on this though. I’m adding it to my TBR list and even if I don’t get to it for a while, I WILL read it.

  5. Good isn’t it? I loved Manchee too. He was my favourite character. It definitely is a must read. I am now waiting for The Ask and The Answer from the library.

  6. Okay, I’m completely skipping this review!! I didn’t get more that a few pages read yesterday, and wouldn’t want to spoil myself, but with you and Nymeth singing it’s praises I know I’m in for a treat!

  7. I just glanced over your review, because I just ordered this one for myself. I can’t wait to read it, specially after I saw that the author was your new writing hero ๐Ÿ˜‰ It must be good!

  8. We DID tell you, Chris ๐Ÿ˜›

  9. Not looking …. not looking. I have this book, but I keep getting distracted by other awesomeness. NOT LOOKING!

  10. Brrr – just finished rereading this last night and it gave me chills all over again!

  11. Well, that’s another book to get for Mount TBR, thanks to you and Debi! I’m not sure who’s going to get the Bad Blogger point, i think you both will! Now I just have to find a copy!!! Really good review, Chris.

  12. Amanda, So so sad ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Just kidding :p I can see how you wouldn’t love it if you read it too quick and didn’t like dogs! I love dogs and personally, I gobbled it up too but that’s only because I couldn’t get enough of it!! I wanted it to be like 1000 pages longer, lol. Hope that The Ask and The Answer works better for you!

    Becky, Oh no!! You too!! I’m glad to hear that you liked The Ask and The Answer better. I’m seriously obsessed with #TKONLG (sorry can’t get enough of that tag :p) I’m sure I’ll love #TAATA HAHA!!

    Debi, You can read it if you want…it’s spoiler freeeeee!

    Heather, He’s not really a narrator, so I don’t think he’ll bug you that much. Todd just says whatever he says…and it’s mostly just “Todd?” I thought he was cute ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, it’s a fantastic book!! Hope you read it!

    Vivienne, Yay!! Another Manchee fan!! I can’t wait to read The Ask and the Answer! Look so good!

    Bart, I swear there are no spoilers!

    Louise, I’m so glad that you ordered this one for yourself!!! It’s so so so good!!

    Nymeth, Yeah, I guess you did :p And I have the best tag! #TAATA!! Let’s start using it now ๐Ÿ˜€ LOL

    Maree, But, but…there is nothing more awesome than this ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Jenny, I think I’ll be rereading this one too! So damn good!!

    Susan, Yeah!!! So glad you’ll be getting it ๐Ÿ™‚ We can share the point, how’s that sound? lol

  13. I remember hearing so many good reviews out there that I nabbed a copy from the library despite not being very inpressed with the rear cover blurb. Oh did I make a good choice! Excellent story with great characters and gripping writing. I will definitely be getting the sequel…though still from the library! I love it when the book blogging world is oh so spot on!

  14. Well…I guess that settles it. I now have to move this book up in my list. It will probably be one of the next books I start. When you gush like this, I know I’m going to like it!

  15. JUST put this on my amazon wishlist. You, Debi, and Nymeth are evil. No book bans for me, though! ๐Ÿ˜›

  16. Okay, I think I just hopped on board the bandwagon for this title. It sounds like a very good read, and I’ll be looking out for it now.

  17. […] ~ The Knife of of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, reviewed at Stuff as Dreams Are Made On. […]

  18. Yes, yes, yes. Everything you said. It was perfection. And my heart is still aching.

  19. OK, this book has twice been recommended to me lately — and now I see your review! I’m taking this as a definite sign to grab this one soon. Sounds really, really compelling! And I’ve been heavy into dystopian literature as of late! After The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now, I’ve been gobbling it all up. Life As We Knew It will be up soon, and then I’m grabbing this one for sure! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. […] Book Reviews | things mean a lot | YA Fabulous | Bart’s Bookshelf | Stuff As Dreams Are Made Onโ€ฆ | books i done read | and many […]

  21. […] people, people, why didnโ€™t you make me read this book earlier? What, you did, you say? Oh right, my bad […]

  22. AT first i loved this book but by the end i just found it annoying. Viola has no personality todd gets on my nerves and the one redeeming, make it worth while, really love them character Manchee IS KILLED. Awefull!! The pace is too fast and all they do is run for a whole book strait with very little else happening. The language used is ok at first but becomes frustrating as the book progreses. As soon as the one redeeming feature of the book was ripped out of it it lost any charm for me.

  23. […] people, people, why didnโ€™t you make me read this book earlier? What, you did, you say? Oh right, my bad […]

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