The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking #1)
Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. But in a town where privacy is impossible, there is a secret so awful that Todd, still a month shy of being a man, must run for his life. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
My friend has been trying to get me to read this book for months, and now that I finally have, I could kick myself for not reading it sooner. I need the sequel - as close to now as is humanly possible.
The Knife of Never Letting Go feels nothing like traditional science fiction, and yet it's one of the best science fiction books I've read recently. The Noise completely sets it apart; alternately used a plot device and a part of the conflict, it helps set a well-timed pace for the action. Even better, adventure replaces the cliched loves scenes that have been cropping up in YA sci-fi. There is no love triangle!
The near-constant action and/or suspense of the book kept me reading way, way past my bedtime. I became incredibly attached to the characters very quickly (especially Manchee, the goofball). The fact that Ness managed to turn a dog - who has a vocabulary of maybe twenty words - into a complex character speaks to his brilliance. The human characters, both good and evil, were equally complex, even the ones that only appeared for a few pages. Todd himself is a great protagonist - occasionally mistaken and interesting as hell.
The awful secret Todd uncovers is somewhat predictable, but Ness added in plenty of surprises along the way. I am obliged to warn you that some of those surprises were heart-wrenching. And the book ends on a cliffhanger. Which, of course, means I'm going to be reading the sequel even sooner...
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