Sunday, 20 January 2013

Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Rating:  3.5 out of 5
Format: Hardback, 496 pages
Publisher: Candlewick 2008/Walker 2008
Genre: Young Adult, Action, Dystopian

The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never letting go by Patrick Ness is a novel that prior to reading I wouldn’t have touched at all. What I would have missed if I hadn’t have.

This novel is a story of action, blood, sweat and determination in a new kind of dystopian world where everyone can hear each other’s thoughts.  A world where lies fester in equal measure to truth. A world devoid of women. New World. In New world, boys become men by turning 13, however strangely enough there are 13 months in a year so you can make the calculations. Todd Hewitt is the last boy in his settlement; Prentisstown and is on the verge of becoming a man. The constant streams of random, revealing and at times obscure thoughts of men cloud every man’s brain as a jumbled buzz of ‘Noise’. However one day Todd stumbles upon a patch of silence. No Noise. An impossible occurrence in New World. Suddenly Todd and his dog Manchee (whose thoughts he can hear also) are on the run from the people they know best and survival is no longer a given. Now the last boy in Prentisstown must make his own decisions and the tears that may cloud your eyes during reading this novel must not cloud his.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is his first novel for young adults and it had been eagerly recommended to me. Despite this I had been slightly hesitant to read this novel as action is not the old fashioned romance, literature or young adult-y that I usually read. But I caved in, read the novel…and discovered a treasure.

This book is very fast paced (this kept me involved) and the way the main character narrates the story is quite colloquial. The author wrote Todd’s thoughts and words with differently and ‘slang-ified’ them to emphasise his accent and perhaps his lack of education (e.g. ‘explanashun’, ‘yer’) . At the beginning this annoyed me, but after a while I embraced it as Todd’s personality. In the novel different fonts and sizes are used to describe each person’s or creature’s thoughts and personality. I loved this element! The storyline flowed pretty well, however at times the ‘questions’ were a bit sharp edged. This novel got off to a slow start but built anticipation as the story progressed. The action was edgy and made The Knife of Never Letting Go a page turner. It’s a sort of ‘modern literature’. Yes, romance isn’t as evident in this novel but there are many components that make it a young adult novel.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is powerful, emotional and moving. Recommended for everyone. 


  1. This is a story that Hollywood initially sought to bring to the screen because the book was so well-written, unique, and salable. settlement quote

  2. Another worth-reading book but I can’t get over with Manchee, this book wants me to yell “give justice to Manchee”. Looking forward for the next book with great ending! Thanks for sharing.