This may be one of the best series I’ve ever read. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness is the first in the trilogy Chaos Walking
Todd, is the last boy in Prentisstown, a dystopian society colonized on a distant planet (New World) in an effort to evacuate a dysfunctional Earth in our not-too-distant-future. Todd’s mother and father were among those on the first ships that landed on this new world. Todd was born here. He is the last child to be so.
But there’s something more odd about Prentisstown than the fact it’s on another planet.
The Noise. The never-ending sound and image bombardment of every man’s thoughts: base, crude, vulgar, sweet, cruel, conceited, spiteful, angry, scared – every. single. thought. of. every. man. out. loud. An “infection” of the planet’s indigenous people they say.
And there are no women. At all. None. All men. And Todd Hewitt, the last boy in Prentisstown. An innocent, whose thoughts are still his own. Envied by every man in his town and he knows it. He’s heard so in The Noise. But his birthday is approaching and he will develop Noise too. But he’s discovered a patch of silence. And he’s scared…for good reason.
He’s forced to run away by his uncles and ventures where he had previously been forbidden to go – And then he discovers the reason for the silence. The girl. And everything changes.
This story had me hooked from about page 2. I devoured it in one sitting. It is classified young adult, but I found the robust language, the richness of the characters, the complexity of the moral issues enough to satisfy the appetite of a much older reader.
The story is a mad, beautifully written, chaos quest across the planet in search of the “truth”. Todd and Viola are soooooo engaging! Their connection is immediate and powerful. The story twists and turns and runs and halts. It’s a mine-shaft-train-rickety-track-ride through the mountains.
But this is no been-there-done-that love story. In fact, not that kind of love at all. But you find you almost wish it were. Todd’s character is further unraveled in delicious nuggets as we peer back and forth through Todd and Viola’s consciousness in book two. Viola is a well developed heroine who is more than supporting role to Todd. The multiple narrator perspectives made it excruciatingly, deliciously suspenseful.
Read all three books in the Series: The Knife of Never Letting Go; The Ask and The Answer; and Monsters of Men. I fear that if I say too much, in my enthusiasm this will be like the movie trailer gone wrong that shows you so much you don’t need to see it anymore!
I will suffice to say I highly recommend them. You could read only the first novel, but I guarantee you’ll want to know what happens to Todd and Viola and New World.