This was one of the books that I read late last year when I returned to my roots as a bookworm. So here is the review I have been meaning to do for (more than) a few months for The Knife of Never Letting Go...Shout out to Sankofa for lending me this book when she went to Ghana. She knows me too well; I trust her taste in books!
Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go (love the title by the way, it caught my attention straight off the bat)
Author: Patrick Ness
First published: 2008
Plot summary: Todd Hewitt is a boy in Prentisstown, where all boys become men at the age of 13. Todd has one month to go, and as far as he knows, Prentisstown is the only settlement in the world. After a native group known as the 'Spackles' released a germ, all the women have died, meaning that the men of Prentisstown are a dying race. As a side effect of this germ, the remaining men in Prentisstown can hear each other's thoughts, known as the ever present cascade of ‘Noise’...Find the rest of the plot summary here.
Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I cannot say that it was the easiest read. But sticking at it paid off, I love the way in which Ness creates a whole other universe and something about the story reminds me of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses and Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaiden’s Tale, two all-time favourites of mine. I think it’s the whole broken world thing they all have going on. The story line is complex enough to keep you reading but straight-forward in a way that it needs to be so that you understand the plot. Oftentimes, in a book that creates a whole new world complicated plots make the book a long and tiresome read, however this book does not suffer from such a failing. Perhaps, because it is young adult literature (a favourite genre of mine) the author holds back from over complicated story lines. The concept behind the book was a real winner, no so much that Prentisstown is loud and male. But I love that Todd and Viola have to learn to communicate around silence and noise. It’s an important lesson. I love how Todd is initially intimidated by her silence and has to learn to overcome this. A true coming-of-age book in every sense, not just Todd but the whole world literally has to come of age in order to defeat Mayor Prentiss. One thing, however, that did strike me as a failing was the books’ conclusion. I feel like in Ness’s bid to get a follow up book deal, the end of the story was mistreated. It felt like a rushed, contrived ending which was totally unnecessary. I had a moment at the end of the book when I wanted to punch something coupled with a weird sense of déjà vu. I really felt for the protagonist, like, here we go again. The poor boy will have to wade through this lunacy for another 400-odd pages in part two! In my opinion the book would have benefitted much more from ending the story of our protagonist right there. However, having said that if you bought me the follow-up *hint, hint*, would I read it? Hell yeah!
Rating: Another four Nsoromma’s out of five.