‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ is the first book in the Chaos Walking series.
The story begins with Todd Hewitt, a 12 year old boy who lives in Prentisstown which is part of the New World. Todd has grown up with the Noise, which means he can hear all the thoughts of the men in the town, there are no women left as they died following the release of germ (which caused the Noise) by ‘The Spackles’, a group of natives who died in the war which started because of the germ. Not only did the germ kill the women but it also made the animals talk.
Todd is the last boy in Prentisstown, he will become a man on his thirteenth birthday until then he spends his time working on his farm with his guardians Ben and Cillian who raised him following the death of his mother and his talking dog, Manchee, who Todd particularly does not like but tolerates him.
Prentisstown is dying and everyone awaits the day that Todd will become a man, especially Lucas, a religious man whose ideas are questioned but never spoken in open and all of the men have learned to hide their thoughts in Prentisstown because of Mayor Prentiss who controls Prentisstown, so much so, the town is named after him.
What begins as an ordinary day for Todd becomes strange when he hears a void in the Noise, its quiet, so quiet in fact it makes him want to cry, the void is a girl called Viola, who can hear the Noise from Todd but Todd cannot hear Viola’s thoughts. Todd day’s ends him with running away from his home with Viola and Manchee, being pursued by Mayor Prentiss, Aaron and men from town, Todd is told by Ben and Cillian he must go to Haven, he will be safe in Haven. Todd and Viola’s journey is full of danger and he finds out more and more about Prentisstown, the secrets that have been hidden for too long.
I do not want to give too much away about the story, you must read it to appreciate it fully.
The story is well written, the characters are raw and realistic, especially Todd who narrates the story, you see him growing up as the story progresses, he becomes a man in more ways than one which highlights how wrong everything is in Prentisstown. An interesting and intense read, I had some genuine ‘oh no’ moments because I did not know what would happen next, you want Todd and Viola to get Haven, there are so many hurdles on the way but they keep going.
I personally feel that ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ is one of the best young adult books out there, a must read.
Reviewed by Paula Mc (Weave)