Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go is a slightly inspired, mildly predictable coming of age tale. The story follows a boy learning that everything he has ever known is a lie and how he tries to find his own identity amid the several different people telling him who he should be. The story has some emotionally powerful moments but is at times annoying.
Todd Hewitt is the book’s main character and a boy close to turning thirteen, the age of manhood on New World. New World is a planet that was the destination of a group of people seeking religious freedom and fleeing the misguided Old World. The peculiar thing about the new planet is Noise and the fact that everyone can hear everyone’s thoughts, regardless of who or what you are. Dogs, sheep, and men are all subject to having their Noise read. Todd has been taught all his life that the Noise was a type of biological warfare used by the planet’s former indigenous inhabitants – the Spackle. This belief is called into question when Todd meets the first girl he has ever seen and the two must begin a journey to find out the truth about the planet.
The story was pretty run of the mill. It had some elements that were surprising and some elements that left me emotionally distraught, but overall it was a fairly predictable, mediocre book. I suppose you can’t expect too much for many coming of age tales simply because it is such a popular story line. The whole concept of Noise was very interesting, but the secrets surrounding the Noise almost seemed a bit too contrived.
I don’t have a lot to say about this book. It was a decent read, but I wasn’t hanging on the edge of my seat at any point. Really, it becomes a book where you can simply expect the worst at every moment and accurately predict the direction in which the story goes. There are good messages hidden within its pages, which makes it a decent young adult book. It’s written in dialect, which can be frustrating at times, but it just takes some getting used to.
I would recommend this book to someone looking for an easy young adult read, but not to someone who wants a deeper novel. I didn’t find it particularly stimulating, but I don’t regret reading it.
Speculative Fiction Challenge – Book # 8