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Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go may not be for all readers, but I warmed up to its original story (eventually).

Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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the knife of never letting go patrick ness book review

Title & Author: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, 1) by Patrick Ness

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Dystopia

Release Date: May 5, 2008

Series: Chaos Walking #1

Publisher: Walker

How I Got the Book: Bought


“Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?”

I Do What I Want

This year, I have unconsciously drifted toward books not actually published in 2013. As a blogger, it’s tough to not fall into the “just published” trap. We receive so many books in advance and aim to review them so far ahead of the publication that you could seriously go the whole year without reading anything “old.”

I’ve learned over time that “hey, this is MY BLOG, so I’ll do what I want,” which is a harder lesson to learn that you’d think.

So, here we are. I wanted something different and read a ton of positive reviews for The Knife of Never Letting Go. I didn’t know too much about it, but the recommendation from respected readers was enough for me.

I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into, i.e. a roller coaster of emotion.

First I hated it (sorry, not sorry), then I thought it was ok, THEN it got really good. Then, I was just emotionally drained.

Let me start with the basics: Todd Hewitt can hear people’s thoughts. Well, more accurately, everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts. It’s called the Noise. It can be exact words or images, but in essence, in Todd’s town there are no secrets.

Other things to know about Todd Hewitt: his dog, Manchee, annoys him constantly (dog’s have very simple brains), his town is composed of only men (all the women having died at the same Noise started) and there are a ton of secrets Todd’s guardians haven’t told him.

Acquired Taste

Oh, one other thing – Todd can’t really read. And, what’s interesting is that The Knife of Never Letting Go is told in dialect, similar to Blood Red Road.

So, you’re “reading” Todd’s thoughts 1. as if you also are part of the Noise and 2. with all of the misspellings, bad grammar and unfiltered Todd-isms.

It is definitely an acquired taste. At first, it totally put me off. I’m not sure why because I have experience with this type of writing. I think Todd’s mind is such a rough place – it was like the wild west with everyone’s thoughts projected.

I definitely loved the concept of the book, but I almost stopped reading a few times. It DRAGGED ON so much in the beginning. I felt like I read 100 pages without much happening.

I will say: The Knife of Never Letting Go is an investment. If you put your time in, you will see your return back with interest.

It’s a rough road, but one I definitely recommend. The story is so original and the plot completely unguessable.


It’s weird and raw. You’ll want to hit Todd upside the head all the time. But, I absolutely recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go – it’s a strange journey into a world where there are no secrets (right…?).

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Lisa Schensted

    LISA. This is one of my all time favorite series EVER. AH I am so glad you stuck with it!

    Todd Hewitt forever and ever amen.