Review - The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1)
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Publication: May 5 2008, Walker
Pages: 479 pages, Paperback
Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
Once again I have read a breath-taking novel where I have found myself lost for words. The Knife of Never Letting Go is powerful and heart rendering, its one of those books that makes you feel like your heart has broken inside, it makes your mouth hang open in shock and disbelief, it makes you feel the aching sense of loss after losing a character. But I also experienced joy and hope while reading TKONLG, even if it only lasted temporarily. I don't think a novel has ever affected me so greatly. I spent two days bawling over one of the characters' death, and over the ending. I felt my heart thudding and my palms sweating when it came to the nerve-racking scenes, and my heart soaring when there was happiness for that moment. I didn't just read The Knife of Never Letting Go. I experienced it.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is about Todd Hewitt, the last boy in Prentisstown, in a month he will be thirteen and he shall be a Prentisstown man. In Prentisstown, everyone can hear everyone's thoughts, there are no secrets, or so we thought. Todd is about to find out a secret that will turn he's world upside down, distorting everything he thought he knew about the world he live in. When he heads off to the swamp to pick some swamp apples for Ben, he stumbles across a hole in the Noise. Complete and utter silence. Todd now knows that something isn't right. The adventure starts from there, I won't say anymore as it would spoil the unexpectedness and the magic of reading The Knife of Never Letting Go for the first time.

The day I got this book out of the library, I wasn't sure if I would like it or not. I didn't really get feel of the book from the blurb (like I usually do), and I was a bit wary of the title as it had the word "knife" in it, and it didn't seem like the sort of book I would enjoy. However, after hearing some brilliant things about it from my fellow bloggy buddies, I decided to actually read it. And I loved it. And hated it.

In the beginning while reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, I didn't enjoy reading it. I'm not sure why, perhaps it was the incorrect grammar that the author had purposely placed in the novel or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for reading a dystopian novel, what I do know though, is that at one point I was immersed in the story and I couldn't tear my eyes away. Once the story had captured me I read half the book in two days, the action made the book unputdownable  and when something terrible happened, I would continue to read in a frenzy just to make sure the characters were safe, and generally they weren't. When I first started the book, I tweeted a few of my bloggy buddies saying that I wasn't really enjoying it and if it didn't start getting better I wasn't going to continue reading, but then Rebecca from Rebecca-Books, told me that I must continue as that was the book that introduced her to the dystopian genre. And when I am not enjoying a book I usually always finish it in the end, in hope that it will actually turn out to be fantastic, and once again that happened. I found reading TKONLG tedious, but when I finished it, I was in such an utter emotional state, that my friends and family were actually laughing at me for caring so much -________-

The characters are perfectly imperfect. Todd is a courageous, caring, loving and will do anything for the people he loves. There were times where you could see him struggle, times where he made the wrong choices and down the road, those choices led to the deaths of people he cared most for in the brutal world.

Also, one of the things you'll find out about that he's not a killer. He injures, but he won't kill. However, in the world he's living in, and the dangerous path he's always placed on, sometime, sooner or later, he's going to have to kill. There were times where even I was egging him on to plunge the knife into one of the murderous villains, so that they could try and get head start, try to run from the army that is hunting them down.

Viola. Probably one of my favourite female heroins in a book. She was spunky, she didn't let Todd protect her, she protected herself and even occasionally Todd. There were moments where Viola was so incredibly audacious that I was clapping my hands and exclaiming that I couldn't believe it! I have never before read a young adult book where the female is so incredibly independent and dependent at the same (I'll explain now), and a character that is so brave and hopeful under the barbarous circumstances she has to live under. 

Todd and Viola's relationship was sweet, beautiful...extraordinary. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. When they first met each other in the swamp, which feels like a life time ago, I didn't know how they would get along, I didn't realise how they would need each other, how they would rely on each other to get through the worst. They're intertwined together, I can't imagine Todd without Viola, I think if one of them died, the other one would die too, now knowing that all hope is lost. 

AARON.  He is one disgusting man, a spawn of Satan. A man that never dies, a man that continuously takes knocks to the head and punches to the face, just to get his hands on Todd. One of the foulest characters I have ever had the displeasure of reading about. And on page 35o of the paperback version, is when he exposes his honest, worse, evilness.

The plot was non-stop action. The plot was an abandoned road littered with thorns, barbed wires and holes, in which the characters were constantly fighting through, trying to demolish all that was evil. The only thing that kept them going was hope, hope that at the end of the road there would a safe haven. The physically exhausting and emotional intense journey these characters had to endure was vile. All the time I was reading this I was thinking just how I definitely wouldn't cope in a dystopian novel, I probably would have tripped over a rock when I was told to run from the farm and been killed then and there. And if I did survive long enough, I wouldn't have been able to live without food for the number of days they had either, I need to eat every two hours, I get hungry incredibly fast! While reading this book, it occurred me just how capable we can be of adjusting to brutal circumstances and how we can cope under stress. I really do hope that the world will never become such a savage place...

Highlight the next paragraph, its a HUGE spoiler, so honestly do not read it if you haven't yet read The Knife of Never Letting Go. If you have read the book you can just click and highlight the paragraph with the left button on the mouse if you want to read what I have to say about it :D

Manchee's death. Oh my freaking word. Never have I cried so much over a death of a character in a book. He died at the hands of Aaron, I could just hear the bones crack while reading the paragraph and it got to me. It really got to me. I thought I was going to be sick, my heart was thudding and I was crying so hard I couldn't even see straight. Oh yes, and I while I read that part I was sitting at the dentist waiting for my mom to finish her appointment. So there I was sitting, holding the book to my chest and stroking it while my face went all red and blotchy from crying. I wiped snot on my dad's shirt, howling that Manchee had died. He just looked at me as if I were crazy. And so were the otehr people in the waiting room. But honestly, I felt like my very heart was breaking, Manchee was my favourite character. He was such a brave little dog and would do anything for Todd. 

Todd hated Manchee in the beginning and viewed him as an unwanted birthday present, but their bond grew as they journeyed into the barbarous landscape and eventually Manchee was Todd's best friend. I loved watching their relationship grow, it was the perfect man and dog relationship ever to be written, I'm sure. When Manchee was being gripped by Aaron and Todd couldn't go back to save him it made me bawl. Because Manchee was like, "Todd? All confused and scared and not sure why I was leaving him behind. Todd!". I could hear Manchee's thoughts all confused, thinking why was Todd abandoning him. And that was what really broke my heart, is how Todd had no choice but to leave him. I was honestly so upset when Manchee died, I almost didn't want to continue reading. Almost. 

*Spoiler over*

Patrick Ness obviously enjoys his readers suffering while reading his books, he's not scared to reveal to us all the goriness that happens when people are killed, he lets you hear all the sounds of death as if they were right next to you. He has some impeccable writing skills, and he makes you experience such raw emotions, that I don't think its healthy. And that ending? One of the most frustrating cliffhangers ever! I need to read the second book right away, I have too. 

The Knife of Never Letting Go is an astounding book that will leave you breathless and wanting more. It teaches about love, loyalty, braveness and the right decision making, and how if you make the wrong decisions in life, it can end up hurting you like you've been stabbed in the back. One of the most emotional and powerful books I have read. With a brutal dystopian world, a fast-paced plot, characters that realistic and moment that make your heart break, ache and stop beating for a a second, The Knife of Never Letting Go will let you experience the journey of discovering who you are and the brutal honesty that comes with it. An epic novel that should not be missed.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!