The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is a book with a very intriguing sell: there are no women left in the world and all the men can actually hear and see each others thoughts! That alone got me to pick up the book and seeing how its the first in a trilogy, which I’m always a sucker for, I thought I would be in for a real treat. Sadly, while the book is not necessarily horrible, its very average which I’m going ahead to say right now and the actual story and the way the book was written never holds my attention for long. As with every other book, TKoNLG certainly has its moments but those are far and between. The main gimmick here is that every man can actually see what the other guys are actually thinking of due to a disease infection that was unleashed by some alien species called the Spackle. You follow a young boy named Todd Hewitt who is the last boy to be turned into a grown adult in the lone town of Prentisstown. Everything just goes up in flames when he learns that there’s much more than what people let on in Prentisstown.
The main characters in TKoNLG includes Todd, his dog Manchee and Viola. In a world where you can actually hear and see other people’s thoughts, the creatures themselves are no exception! Humans can actually hear what goes on in the minds of the animals and while many of them are not brilliant and mainly repeat the same words over and over again, it makes for some hilarious reading. At first I didn’t care for Manchee but as the book went on, I actually fell in love with a make believe dog and cared more about him than Todd. Sad I know but hey, Manchee rocks. I really think that in many sort of post apocalyptic world, nothing can play on the readers emotion like giving the main protagonist his/her own animal or pet. As for Todd, he’s sort of a likeable character. The entire book is seen through his eyes. He knows that he is not the strongest of will and strength and so he even tells you, the reader, to shut up in a jokingly way when he cowers out of a tough situation. As for Viola, to tell you the truth, I really don’t know too much about her even after reading the entire book. I mean I know who she is and her as a character but not much about her background. To put it in very nice terms, she’s flat out boring. The villains in the story for the most part are pretty dry. Perhaps if more groundwork has been laid for them it might have been better. Trust me, you won’t remember any of them once you get done with the book.
This book is meant for kids ages between 8-12 and the writing style really proves it. It’s not horrible per say but for some adults like myself, it can get really irritating. I swear this book uses the word “and” more than any two other books combined. Not only does the author use it at the beginning of multiple concurrent sentences but he also uses it a whole lot in some cases within a single very long sentence! The author also loves to repeat some words triple times at the end of a sentence as if to really drive a point home. It works sometimes but not when you do it repeatedly. The trick gets old. Another thing that might drive some readers insane is the misspelling of some words such as “direkshun” for direction. Not sure why he would do this other than to give the readers an impression that the characters aren’t all that literate.
Story wise, its very mediocre for such a long book. Throughout it, the characters are just running from place to place in the wild either in hiding or going to their next destination to warn the villages. Nothing wrong with that but well, the places they go to just aren’t that exciting or fun to read. Of course, the tone and atmosphere of the book is suppose to be depressing but its definitely not winning me over. You keep getting the sense that something big is suppose to go down and I’m not just talking about someone appearing or dying. I’m talking big time events. Yeah, I didn’t get that at all. To make it worst, when I finally found out in the end the whole reason why Todd and Viola are being chased, I was sorely disappointed.
After reading TKoNLG, I’m pretty sure I will not be continuing on with the series. Although the book never made me feel bored for long periods of time, it doesn’t do a whole lot to excite me either. In a way, the book feels very flat and monotone. The author’s writing style is also what’s driving me away. I actually didn’t even find out that this book was meant for this age group until the time I wrote this review. I’ve enjoyed many books for young adults in the past but this will not be one of them. I still have the feeling that something big will happen in the next book but I’m not really willing to risk it.