Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness


Publisher: Walker Books
Release date: May 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Pages: 512
Goodreads || Book Depository

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Then, just one month away from the birthday that will make Todd Hewitt a man, he unexpectedly stumbles on a spot of complete silence. Which is impossible.

Breathtakingly exciting and emotionally charged, The Knife of Never Letting Go is a compelling original story of fear, flight and the terrifying path of self-discovery.


45 stars

Holy moly. I’m going to keep this review short so that I can jump straight into Book 2: The Ask and the Answer, because this book ends on the most unbearable cliffhanger. The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy and I need to preface this review by saying that if you plan on reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, you should have the other two books on hand! Warning: I just finished reading this novel so this review probably won’t make too much sense.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is a sci-fi, dystopian novel, set in New World, where everybody can hear everybody else’s thoughts, or their Noise. In this world, animals and living things also have Noise. 12 year old Todd Hewitt lives in Prentisstown with his two guardians and his dog, Manchee. There are no women in Prentisstown and Todd is the only boy left in his small town. One day, Todd stumbles finds a spot of complete silence and discovers that things in Prentisstown, and on New World, aren’t as he’s been told. His new discovery leads him to have to pack up his belongings and run away from Prentisstown.

It’s probably best to go into the book not knowing anything because it’s a thrilling and suspenseful story about survival and self-discovery. We follow Todd as he escapes from Prentisstown and makes his way around the New World. Along the way, he is hunted by an army from Prentisstown and a crazy preacher who seems to be out to get him. I enjoyed the suspense in this novel quite a bit. We were left in the dark from the very beginning and things are only revealed to us as they are revealed to Todd. I didn’t find myself speculating very much, simply because everything was complex and unpredictable and I was happy to just go along for the ride. There were some scenes that were quite violent and gruesome, and the suspenseful tone of the book made these even more bloodcurdling and horrific. This plot was definitely a rollercoaster ride for me. It gave me multiple heart attacks and ripped my heart out. There were lots of feels and a bit of crying.

The uniqueness of the writing style hits you straight away. The book is written in first person narration, in an almost stream of consciousness manner. It’s something that might take a while to get used to but the style of it definitely enhanced the story for me. I felt completely immersed in the world and Todd’s story, and the writing flowed beautifully because of its stream of consciousness nature.Β  I found myself just flying through the book because of how well the writing flowed and how everything had its place. I thoroughly enjoyed Todd’s voice and thought it suited his character very well. There are intentional grammatical and spelling issues to showcase Todd’s background and his lack of education that might irk some readers but I didn’t have any issues with it, even though I’m a big grammar Nazi.

I really liked the characters in this book a lot. Todd was a protagonist that I didn’t always love, but his actions and his thoughts were realistic, and it was easy for me to forgive his bad decisions and shortcomings. He’s definitely an isolated boy who wants to belong but doesn’t conform to society’s expectations. I was amazed by the strength in his character. It’s hard to remember that he’s just a child because he’s doing all these incredible things to survive. I appreciated that we got to witness his inner turmoil and his efforts to maintain his innocence when the rest of the world is trying so hard to break him. I loved the development and growth in his character and thought it was the most noteworthy aspect of the book. His mental strength and willpower amazed me. However, my favourite aspect of this book was the beautiful relationship between Todd and his talking dog, Manchee. Manchee was by far my favourite character and I had a lot of Manchee feels. Cue tears.

I thought the villains in this book were also exceptional. They were so evil and terrifying that I was actually scared by how insane and crazy they were. It was also incredibly horrifying how persistent these villains were in their pursuit. One guy literally has half his face bitten off (there’s a hole in his cheek and he’s missing a nose) and he’s still alive and chasing after Todd. It was scary and horrific, but also perfectly executed and I need to start The Ask and the Answer now.



34 thoughts on “Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

  1. cwreads says:

    Manchee is the BEST. I’m soooo happy that you like this book, and I really hope you enjoy The Ask and the Answer! I’ve probably told you this (I have a bad habit of repeating myself, haha) but TAatA is my favourite one in the series. ❀ SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aimalfarooq says:

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY, you finally got around to reading this! THIS MADE ME SO HAPPY! Very glad that you enjoyed it. I remember weeping at… certain… parts…
    And if you think the villains are good now, wait til you read the second and third books. Everything just gets so mind-bogglingly out-of-this-world crazy. I personally thought the last book was the best, so I can’t wait for you to get there. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashley says:

    Yay! So glad you enjoyed this book! I wasn’t sure how to even write my review either or if mine made any sense lol. I still haven’t read the second book yet, which I am hoping to finish the series in January. I’ll kick off the new year with a bang! πŸ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      It was so hard to review! I didn’t know where to start and what to do. And I also didn’t want to spoil anything or ruin anyone’s reading experience by saying too much. I’ve started the second book now and it’s okay so far. The beginning is a little bit slow but I think I’m getting to the action now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    It’s taking me a while to get around to reading this book but reading your review makes me want to move it up the pile! I kind of like that unique formatting that this one has. The violence, survival story, crazy preacher and everything reminds me of a zombie apocalypse novel which is my favourite hahaha. Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Summer @ Xingsings says:

    Oh gosh, I am so excited to read this someday because everyone just loves this series so much. Plus, Chooi approves the dystopian elements in this so it has to be really good being the wonderful critic she is. And thanks for mentioning that there’s an unbearable cliffhanger. I’ll make sure to go ahead and purchase the entire trilogy before I start it. I hope you enjoy Monsters of Men just as much or even more, Jenna! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I don’t really like reading dystopian novels but this trilogy is WOW. It has the CW tick of approval so of course it’s amazing! I really, really, really loved this!! Hehe, yes you should have all of the books on hand before starting because Book 2 also has a cliffhanger… It’s like Patrick Ness got sick of writing and was like “okay, I’ll just stop here.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

    I NEED TO READ THIS SERIES. The writing sounds pretty intriguing and unique; I’ve read Ness’s book The Rest Of Us Just Live Here so I can’t wait to dive back into his voice. Also, I love it when villains are actually scary! God forbid they’re not comical mustache-twirling madmen, ya know? Excellente review, I will have to pick this up the first chance I get!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Just catching up on your review now but man, how freaking scary were the villains? And the end, oh my gosh all those tears and feels. I’m glad you encouraged me to read this book and to pick up the sequel because already my heart is in my throat as I’m reading this!

    Liked by 1 person

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