“The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness


What if everyone could hear your thoughts? There would be nothing concealed from the world. But what if you could hear everyone’s thoughts too? And the entire jumble inside every head turns into a never stopping noise. You don’t have to ponder too much over this quite extravagant idea if you read ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’. Patrick Ness gives his readership an amazing insight of a civilization where silence doesn’t exist.

Welcome to the New World and welcome to Prentisstown. It is no ordinary place because every man can hear every other man’s thoughts whether they like it or not. Everything that pops inside one’s head is spilled into to the atmosphere like an aura that constantly surrounds him. In such a place Todd Hewitt has been born and has spent his entire life in. He is the last boy left in the town but that’s all about to change for his birthday is only a month away. When he steps in his 13th year he will finally become a man. But what will happen then?

Some days before the big day, Todd and his dog Manchee (who also has his very ‘complicated’ thoughts around his bouncing head) stumble across a completely quiet area not far from the town. This is absolutely impossible for even in the most desolated areas the low buzz of people’s thoughts flying around is always present. In this patch of absolute silence our young hero discovers that until now he has been wrapped in lies. Something horrible has been hidden from him, something so terrible that every man in Prentisstown has managed to keep away from their noise and from the last boy. A secret so awful that puts Todd and Manchee in grave danger. And now the two companions must run for their lives.

And that’s how Todd sets on an incredible journey which will bring him face to face with the past and some of the possible futures. And he will seek for his inner self and his true purpose. For if you are not yet a man and you are no longer a boy – what are you? But him being perceived as a child saves him from the absolute brutality of the secret all the men of Prentisstown keep away.

For even in your thoughts you can hide away anything you want. Just because everything that’s inside your mind buzzes around you non stop doesn’t mean that all is true. Lies can put up front to cover up something else. Not only that: some of the most respectable people hide behind words of wisdom. If you walk by the church radiating from Aaron are the words: ‘God hears everything.’ And if you pass by Prentiss’ house the mantra ‘I am the circle and the circle is me’ is constantly repeated. The objective is to gain control over one’s noise. But whose technique is better: the priest’s whose thoughts are pure or the mayor whose noise is a profound sentiment? It is up to you to find out.

Patrick Ness gives an incredible tour inside Todd’s head. For the book is written from his perspective and includes a jumbled and confused vocabulary, various fonts and forms of speech and some grammar mistakes. But all of those characteristics give the novel an authentic look for no teenager can sound like a well educated adult. It may be a little bit unnerving but it stops bothering when the reader fully immerges in the story.

’The Knife of Never Letting Go’ is the perfect beginning for the trilogy ‘Chaos Walking’ for it is brilliant yet dark so brace yourselves. It’s not a sensitive novel but one that will keep you on edge and make you wonder about the cruelty of men. Patrick Ness gives you this fantastic gift which you must not walk by in the bookstore. Don’t waste more time and grab the first book and dig in!




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