Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.
What a book. What a great start for the first book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy. This stay-up-late, page-turner, coming-of-age book combines all kinds of elements to make it a hit on all kinds of levels. It is a dystopian novel of the first rate. It has adventure, excitement, survival, unpredictable plot twists, and even a little comedy. The surprise ending sets up the sequel perfectly.
Todd Hewitt is less than a month from his birthday when he will become a man. He lives on a colonized planet in a community of all men. Unfortunately a germ on the planet kills all women and allows men to hear each others' thoughts. Todd refers to this cacophony of sound as noise. Noise gives away every thought, every impulse. Men can even hear the thoughts of animals and pets. These animal thoughts provide some of the comic moments in the book. When Ben, Todd's surrogate father, sends him on a mission to pick apple across the swamp, Todd runs into a being with no noise. This chance encounter forces Todd to leave his community and seek safety elsewhere while the rest of his community hunts him down.
Several students and one teacher, Sarah M., suggested that I read this book. She went to school with the author, Patrick Ness, in the nearby community of Parkland. Sarah suggested that I attempt to contact Mr. Ness to come to our school for an author visit. I loved the idea but I hadn't read the book so I thought such a request would be premature. Ness now lives in the England and this book won all sorts of awards in the UK but unfortunately was overlooked for such accolades in the US. I will make sure to remedy that situation in my library. This book deserves lots of praise and I recommend it to all students, especially those who are big fans of The Hunger Games and other adventure stories of that ilk. Hum, I think a trip up to school this afternoon is in order so I can get the second book in the trilogy, The Ask and the Answer. I can't wait to continue the adventure....