Monday, November 3, 2014

Knife of Never Letting Go Review


The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publishing Date: July 14, 2009
Goodreads Summary: 
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.
I received a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own. Buy a copy from Book Depository  today. 

My Thoughts:
This was my first foray into Patrick Ness. The ladies at Oh the Books! rave about Ness all the time so I picked up 'Knife' with high expectations. Picking it up from the library was a major plus and helps me move closer to my secret goal of utilizing the library more frequently.

The expectations were set high so Ness would need to do some amazing things to meet them. The writing and the story were completely original. I couldn't liken it to anything except possibly Firefly because it has that same gritty, New-Frontier-Meets-Future that our beloved Firefly does. And while the telling is new, at it's base 'Knife' is about a boy trying to become a man, albeit in a violent and crazy new land.

Yet while reading it, I found myself frequently wondering why I was reading it. Large parts move at a snail's pace and feel quite survivalist (think 'Hatchet', which I hate). I forced myself to push through to the next bit of action which was always vibrant and violent. Reflecting on this, I am not sure I could quite recommend the book to anyone I know. At 500 pages, it can be a reallly slooow read.

Immediately after closing the cover, I wasn't sure 'Knife' had been my type. Events really ramp up in the latter portions of the book and end in a way I am sure leads the reader right into book two. The book is dark, wandering, and leaves it's characters with zero hope. Would I want to continue on with book two? Did Todd really grab me? Nope. 'Nope' was my realistic and immediate answer. I returned the book to the library and picked up the next adventure.

After much reflection however, I see how the book holds a lot of meaning. It is the story of how a boy truly becomes a man. Heavy topic. But it is also the story of the bond between man and dog. Touching! And what was that title all about? The story was about the knife of choices; all the choices made were good and bad, right and wrong, light and dark. Which side of the knife would Todd fall on with each decision made?

Overall, the high expectations did not feel met for me in this novel. It also wasn't bad by any means. My review leaves out SO much, things I don't want to spoil accidentally. All I can truly say is 'Knife' is an experience everyone should take for themselves. Rating? I had better stick with 3.5 stars. I could recommend it to those who can handle hopelessness, violence, decisions, and sadness. Also if you like longer adventures with a touch of the sci-fi. 'Knife' should be your choice.


  1. This is a great, honest review. I appreciated how you pointed out what didn't work for you, but that there are also some great aspects of this story. I don't think this book would be for me though because I don't usually like dark and gritty stories. Hopelessness in a story is a big turn off for me too. (I do love Firefly though, so that connection you mention is interesting!)

  2. I am not normally a reader of dark and gritty stories either, but this one just worked. I wasn't sure if I was going to continue with the series, but I spotted book two at the library today and brought it home. It remains to be seen if I will actually read it or not..

  3. Aw, sorry you didn't like this Alyssa. I am the huge P. Ness fan at Oh, the Books! so the fact that you read it because of my raving but then was disappointed made me sad. But everything you said in this review is true - it is VERY dark and gritty (the whole series is) and this first book is a bit slow with them being on the constant run. I guess for me I didn't feel that slowness just because I was too sucked up in the world, too sucked up in the situation and characters, to really care. But I had my mom read TKoNLG (haha) and she also thought the first one was a bit slow. The next two book in the series pick up, BUT they are still super gritty and dark. So yeah, if dark books aren't your thing then I'd probably be done with it. I personally quite enjoy dark, intense books so this series is perfect for me! :P Still, thanks for giving it a chance!

  4. I don't think I'd survive 500 slow pages right now, but the Firefly-like atmosphere sounds interesting. Maybe sometime in the future. Great review!