Wednesday, 29 August 2012
The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking Book One by Patrick Ness
Life can get very noisy when you hear the thoughts of all those around you. Todd Hewitt has grown up on such a planet. He is the first generation born on New World, and has never known any other type of life. He has always heard the thoughts of all the men around him. From a young age he's heard the stories of how the indigenous population, the Spackle, released a Noise Germ that infected all the men and animals and killed all the women. He is the last child left in Prentisstown, and when he has his thirteenth birthday in one month, he will become a man.
Todd doesn't question his life and planet until one day he is in the swamp collecting apples, when he hears something unexpected, rather he doesn't hear something. He notices an area with no sound. He has never experienced this before.
Viola has no experience on New World, she has just arrived and is totally unprepared for what and who she finds.
I so want to tell you more about this world but that would spoil the story for you. It is definitely a coming of age story for both Todd and Viola, but also for the settlers to the planet. They have been there over twenty years, but they are still adjusting to hearing everyone elses' thoughts. Their plans for a new society could not work with this 'hearing' and they have splintered into many small settlements that are out of contact with each other.
There are several interesting characters in this story. Recently,Todd had been given his first dog. He didn't want one, but he and Manchee become inseparable over the first few chapters. I grew quickly to like him. He played a larger roll than expected of a dog.
From the first moment I was introduced to Aaron, I despised him. If he lived near me, I would go out of my way to avoid him. Something very creepy about him.
The Mayor of Prentisstown is a secretive man. He gathers his men to him and they do mental exercises that Todd doesn't understand. What is he preparing for or is he just trying to teach the men some control such that they can live together in a more peaceful manner.
It is interesting how the various small communities have found very different methods for dealing with this noise that the men hear. Each seems to work, though some seem much more effective than others. I wonder if the planet born generations will fare better than the earth born settlers. Guess I will have to keep reading and find out. Thanks to author Patrick Ness for a thought provoking story.
This is the first book in a trilogy. it is followed by The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.
Thanks to Candlewick Press for the use of the cover image.
Also reviewed by:
Petty Witter at Pen and Paper