Thursday, December 10, 2009

Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Gois the intense story of Todd, the last boy in his village, who one day discovers something new - silence - in the form of a girl. Todd lives in a world where thoughts - everyone's thoughts - can be heard. He is always surrounded by Noise, his own and every other man in his village. But, when he discovers this silence, he doesn't realize he is uncovering terrible secrets about his village. When he must flee his home in the company of this girl, he sets out on a dangerous escape that just might lead to freedom or death.

Things I Liked:
This story kept me turning pages as fast as I could! Ness sure knows how to write a story that will knock your socks off and keep your eyes open (all night, if necessary). I had a hard time putting it down, because I just had to know what happened next. The story was heartwrenching, unique, and not exactly what I expected. And the ending? I almost threw the book I was so upset! The cliffhanger made me really happy the sequel was already out. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get a copy yet. The writing was excellent, and I really enjoyed how the Noise was written in the book. Here is a quote that will only give you a small glimpse of its awesomeness:
'Cuz I see Viola looking back at me as we run and there's brightness on her face and she keeps urging me on with tilts of her head and smiles and I think how hope may be the thing that pulls you forward, may be the thing that keeps you going, but that it's dangerous, too, that it's painful and risky, that it's making a dare to the world and when has the world ever let us win a dare? p423
Things I Didn't Like:
It felt really fatalistic, which isn't necessarily bad since that was probably the point, but it didn't make for happy feelings after I finished. Especially the ending! Of course, with any dystopian story, I wanted more information!

The Giverand Messengerby Lois Lowry
Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

s-factor: !@#$
plenty of swearing

mrg-factor: X
some references

v-factor: ->->->->
there was a lot of violence, some of it pretty graphic

Overall rating: ****

How do you feel about cliffhanger endings? Love them, hate them, can't live without them?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage,
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  1. Re cliff hanger endings, I think thyea re ok if they work in the context of the story. And I think this books wa sadvertised as the first of a series, so I expected a certain amount to be unresolved at the end.

    I had serious "suspended disbelief" issues with this book, but they didn't start until halfway through. At first I really loved it, the concept of the world, the Noise, Todd's voice__I think it's really originala nd in that sense brilliant. But from the halfway point (the attack on the first village--trying to avoid spoilers here) the story only worked because of 'Plot devices" that I couldn't buy as a reader: that Todd and Viola, knowing what was happening, wouldn't do absolutely everything within their power to warn other villages; that Todd wouldn't read the diary having been told how important it was that he do so; and in terms of the rogue element, many of their decisions and rituals make absolutely no sense in the context of a subsistence, low technology world (sorry, I can't give examples without "spoilers". But, in my view, the sequence of plot devices used to make the story 'work' also make the ending absolutely inevitable--I knew from that halfway point exactly how it was going to unfold.

    So I guess that's why I find it hard to understand how it could have won so many awards, because although the idea of the story is brilliant, the execution is flawed.

    But then, hey, I'm just a reader! :-)

  2. I loved this book! I thought the ending was great because it did leave me wanting more. I hope to read the second book in the series soon.

  3. This one is very very close to the top of the TBR pile and I'm so looking forward to finally reading it.

  4. Andie, those are some really interesting points you make about suspended belief. I guess I was just so caught up in the action I didn't think much about it. Though, I do remember being angry about him not reading the book. I definitely didn't see that ending coming. Huh. Maybe I'm a bit clueless? :)

    reviewsbylola, I just got the second book from the library. I hope maybe it is less depressing :)

    Suey, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

  5. Melissa--definitely not clueless! But I can't say why I thought it was inevitable from that halfway point I mention without giving away the ending and too much of the story. But I guess that point, where I said "No!" as a reader, pulled me up short and jerked me out of the story and made me think "where is he going with this?", whereas if you didn't have that reaction and continued to just roll with the story, then yes--I can see that the ending might still come as a surprise.

  6. Andie, thanks! I definitely was too caught up in the story to see it coming. The ending did leave me rather angry though :)


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