Friday, December 11, 2009

The Knife of Never Letting Go

“He who sleeps in continual noise is wakened by silence.” - William Dean Howells

Todd Hewitt’s world is full of Noise, not the usual hubbub of everyday life but something much different. On New World the thoughts of every man and animal are broadcast for all to hear. Nothing dominates the Noise of the men so much as the loss of their wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters. Todd was very small when the germ was released that killed all the women and unleashed the Noise. That’s what Todd’s been taught anyway.

Seeking relief from the constant barrage of his fellow townspeople’s’ Noise, Todd agrees to gather apples from the swamp. Todd encounters something in the swamp that will turn his world upside-down. Quiet, a hole in the Noise, as far as Todd knows it should be impossible but there is no mistaking it.

Disturbed, Todd returns home but he is forced to leave after armed men arrive demanding he be turned over to them. As Todd flees his pursuers he comes to realize that much of what he has been taught is a lie. The truth is far darker and more disturbing than even a spot of quiet in a world of Noise.The book focuses on Todd's efforts to discover and come to terms with the truth that has been covered up and hidden from him his whole life while he tries to stay ahead of the fanatical townspeople pursuing him. He is not perfect and makes some terrible mistakes along the way and this serves to give the character depth and a gritty realism.

Patrick Ness creates other compelling characters most notably Manchee, Todd's faithful canine companion. Manchee provides some much needed humor to the often dark and grim story. Though the dog has “…nothing much to say. About anything.” as Ness writes in the first sentence and is generally more concerned with his need to poo than anything else, Manchee is a strong, selfless presence who never ceases to amaze. Manchee is indeed more nuanced that many of the human characters and more interesting than most. The Knife of Never Letting Go presents a dark, dystopian world full of fast-paced action, captivating characters, and edge-of-your-seat suspense that teenage and adult readers will enjoy.

Check out The Knife of Never Letting Go at VBPL today.

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