I want to thank my friend for recommending this series to me. The Knife of Letting Go by Patrick Ness is the young adult novel that all authors of this genre should aspire to write. It is a fantastic book, intended for younger audiences but is perfectly capable to enrapturing mature and older minds, or the unexpected reader. It is inventive and truly unlike any story I have read.
The Knife of Letting Go follows twelve year old Todd, who is days away from his thirteenth birthday – the day he becomes a man. In Prentisstown, there are no women; there are only men. In Prentisstown, your innermost thoughts and feelings are audible to everyone. Your neighbours and your townsmen’s thoughts – whether cruel, perverted or distorted – pervade and pierce your consciousness. In Prentisstown, there is no silence. Until one day, Todd ventures into the swamps and finds silence. From this discovery, Todd is set on a journey that will challenge everything he knew about the world, Prentisstown and also himself.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is a gripping and provocative read. It comes bearing with heavy and challenging themes, but they are executed with sensitivity and thought. At times, it may be a difficult book to read because of its dark themes, but I implore readers to soldier on and employ introspection to question themselves, and ask why they were disturbed and why it was unsettling. These questions are necessary questions to ask, regardless of how uncomfortable, especially with The Ask and the Answer as its sequel, which is a loaded gun of ideas that are just as challenging and more confrontational.
With its narrative told as a stream of consciousness, which brilliantly portrays the pervasiveness of the Noise and its burden on the psyche, readers are immersed into Todd’s thoughts and consciousness, and can witness how he grows and develops when confronted with challenges laid before him. Not only are characters developed in this book, but the original concepts of this series are also. Noise is such an interesting concept, and would be an excellent point of discussion, especially on its meaning, its symbolism and the impact of Noise if it existed in our world. Furthermore, Ness doesn’t limit his portrayal of Noise to words, but also utilizes colours and symbols (Geertz, anyone?) to convey meaning and emotion – proof that dialogue goes beyond mere words.
And on a side note, I loved Manchee. He is my favourite. (Ow, Todd?)
The Knife of Never Letting Go is a rare find of a book, and I loved it so much more than I thought I ever would. As much as I’d love to give a detailed analysis of this book, I’m restraining myself because I think everyone should read this book and this book is best read not knowing any spoilers. Read this book.
Book Name: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Book Series: Chaos Walking #1
Author: Patrick Ness