Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee - whose thoughts Todd can hear, too, whether he wants to or not - stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden - a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
©2008 Patrick Ness (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Furiously paced, terrifying, exhilarating, and heartbreaking, The Knife of Never Letting Go is a book that haunts your imagination." (Sunday Telegraph)
"A series opener as promising as it is provocative." (The Horn Book)
I read this book a couple of years ago, based on a librarian's recommendation and once I'd got passed the first few confusing pages and got used to the raw writing style I realised it was one of the most amazing books I'd ever read in my life. This comes from a 40 something teacher who has to plough through some drab 'teen' fiction for a living, and who's favourite author is Jane Austen!.
It's hard to describe how I fealt reading this book; the prose is so raw and brutal and funny and tragic and very 'new'. It's so poetic, so energetic. The story of a boy and his dog and a girl, who are running for their lives seems simple, but like the very best literature, the actual way this story is written is revolutionary and transporting.
I've just listened to the audio book and Humphry Bower does his usual amazing job; turning in a powerful, energetic performance, (except I'd always thought of the settlers having an American deep south accent! but what do I know, rural England works too!).
I loved this, hope you do too!
I've just finished this, and as soon as the last word finished I wanted to download the next in the series. It is quite simply fantastic. Large amounts of imaginative ideas, characters that I cared about, touching relationships, dark themes. After a slowish start, turned out to be one of the best books I've heard. My wife occasionally caught me stood stock still in the Kitchen as something particularly suspenseful happened.
Imagine a planet where all men could hear all other men's thoughts,the mundane the perverse and most pointedly the personal and private, except no thoughts are private on this planet. A brilliantly original piece of fiction, thought provoking and entertaining. Thsi is a trilogy that builds and builds to a very satisfying end.
The reader is excellent just the right tone.
I started listening to audio books on a killer commute for my job and got hooked. Now local again, I listen whilst on evening or W/E walks
It really was an absorbing audiobook, and kept me hooked all the way through it, I didn't trail in interest part way through like with other books. do be aware though it is part 1 of a trilogy, and you WILL want to buy the next book as it is definitely a 'to be continued..' ending
I loved this book, loved the really unusual concept and particularly loved the talking dog! Sounds weird but I was so immersed in the characters that I hardly noticed when it went from mildly amusing and pleasant to listen to...to upsetting and perilous. Very well written and totally unique. One line at the beginning,..."you'd think it would be good having a talking dog but it turns out they don't say many interesting things" and then the dog says, "poo, Todd, need a poo" made me laugh so much! It gets much, much deeper, I assure you and you will fall in love with some of the characters.
I'm here because I need something to do when I'm running!
Okay, first things first - I'm not the target audience for this book. I'm 41 for a start.
Still, I am a dad and a teacher and a performer. I love escapist fiction, and often find the YA shelves packed with much richer imaginative content than those pitched to oldies.
The central premise behind this book is tremendous and very well realised. I loved the thinking behind the world that Ness has created. My problems are twofold - firstly that the central character is such a melodramatic bore, and secondly that it offers no satisfying resolution.
Yes, Todd is an adolescent and may realistically be prone to fits of melodrama. But it's a pain to read - and not helped by the theatrical tone of Bower's delivery.
And yes, this is part of a series, so the lack of resolution is understandable in part, as there's more story to come. But I'd like to have seen this part one offer some closure to at least one of the story's conflicts. Instead, it just drops our heroes in the mire and expects us to immediately pick up book two. You might call it a cliffhanger, but I call it an unfinished book.
My other, very subjective, gripe was Bower's choice of voice for the reading. The accent and delivery reminded me so much of Tommy Zoom's dog Daniel, it brought on some quite unsettling flashbacks to CBeebies. Only Daniel never said 'Poo Tommy! Poo!'. Tommy Zoom might have been a better kids' show if he had.
Regardless, I've bought the following books and might get round to listening sometime soon. maybe then I might revisit this review.
Every interesting and original and beautifully written. The ideas and plot in the story are very different to anything you might of read - sci-fi but with a twist. Also, this book is gripping and makes you want to read the other 2 books in the series but is well worth it. This book would be prefect for an older teenager, but the language is easily understood by 12+.
I am a school librarian and the kids have been telling me for a while that this was wonderful- but I have grown a bit allergic to Dystopian Fantasy- indeed, any fantasy recently!- and this is a tough one to get into. It kept getting put at the bottom of the pile...Then I started listening on my way into school and back and was quickly gripped and thoroughly involved. The reading is absolutely perfect. Not over- dramatic; warm and gutsy and real.
The character of Manchee the dog is an amazing achievement.
Anyone who has read this will be in no doubt what the most moving scene is! I arrived at work in tears and felt it tugging at my heart all day. Waaaaaaaaaaaaa!
Ness' s writing is intense, rhythmic, slow and repetitive. Like Philip Pullman, he doesn't give an inch. It blossoms when read aloud. One of the best spoken books I've ever heard.
Audible advocate and glutton (for food, not punishment)
Amid the many YA books set in a dystopian world, I'd say the depiction of New World in The Knife of Never Letting Go is really a cut above average. Ness cleverly undermines Todd's fast-held beliefs as he moves forward on his journey, discovering the world beyond his small village; and while the story isn't entirely unpredictable, it's still entertaining. What didn't I like? I think the casting was wrong. Humphrey Bower does a great job of differentiating between the characters and bringing life to the drama - but as the voice of Todd, he just sounded wrong, more like an old man than a 13-year-old boy.
In terms of world-building, The Knife of Never Letting Go is certainly comparable with the work of Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins and Malorie Blackman - and I think fans of those authors would love Ness.
Consistent but irritating
"Really, really good!"
It's just an absolutely fantastic story, really poignant and moving, with a fast paced story line, that makes you want more. Great depth of character too, very believeable, as they have very real hopes and faults, and I found myself loving them nevertheless.
Humphrey Bower was an absolutely fantastic reader, he really brought the characters alive, and I think I wouldn't have liked the story quite so much if i had just read the book.
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