The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

“The first thing you find our when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything.
‘Need a poo, Todd.’
‘Shut up, Manchee.’
‘Poo.Poo, Todd.’
‘I said shut it.’
We’re walking across the wild fields south-east of town, those ones that slope down the the river and head on towards the swamp. Ben’s sent me to pick him some swamp apples and he’s made me take Manchee with me, even tho we all know Cillian only bought him to stay on Mayor Prentiss’s good side”
Todd is the last boy in Prentisstown, a town where everyone has his own Noise – Noise that never shuts up and gives away what every man is thinking. It’s never ending and some people might even go mad due to it, but the men of Prentisstown just keep going… trying to get along with the germ that killed their women. Todd is nearing his thirteenth birthday – the birthday when he will become a man – when he stumbles upon something in the swamp which he has never come across before – silence. But silence is impossible, there’s Noise everywhere, every man and animal has its own Noise. Todd returns home and tries to hide the Silence from Ben and Cillian, but they see, and so does every other man in Prentisstown… and Todd is going to have to run!

I’ve been meaning to begin the Chaos Walking Trilogy for a while now and when I found the set for just £6.99 I couldn’t resist. I bought them and they sat untouched for a month or so… I wanted to read The Knife of Never Letting go so badly but other books called to me first. Had I known what I was about to find between the pages I wouldn’t have waited, I would have ripped it open the second it came through the door!
Todd is quite a naive 12 year old, but it’s not his fault. He has been fed a history of events from a corrupt mayor, who not too long ago decided to burn every book in the town and stop schooling the last of the boys. He has been lonely since the last of his friends turned 13 and stopped talking to him. So he’s not happy when he’s sent on errands that he hates… when he’s sent to the swamp because that’s a ‘boys’ job, not a mans. When Ben decides that the time is right and Todd has to leave, only taking Manchee with him Todd is completely confused and doesn’t understand anything because everything’s been hidden from him for years. All he knows is that he can’t stay.
The confusion follows Todd the entire way through the book and is really a very interesting thing to watch. You end up learning things about him and about the New World whilst he does and in places you are as con fussed as he is but it helps really get you into the mind set of Todd. I loved the progression of this book and the outcomes of certain aspects. Everything came as a surprise and everything was crazy – but it a good way. I don’t want to give too much away but basically Todd at the beginning of the book knows only lies and Todd at the end of the book – well he’s learnt a lot!
Some of the characters in this book were amazing! Manchee has to be my favourite, as a dog that talks I was a bit worried I wouldn’t like him but he spoke exactly the way I would expect a dog to talk and he was Todd’s friend, always and forever!! Then Todd himself, at the beginning of the book I kinda thought he was a bit too woe-is-me but when he starts learning stuff you can see the change dramatically from the boy he was at the beginning. He is a great character as the book goes on and it’s very easy to forget that he’s only 12! Vi is a brilliant character too – I won’t say too much but I loved the journey that Todd and Vi share and their reactions to each other at the beginning were brilliant. I love the relationship they build and, just everything about the pair of them!
This book really has characters that jump out from the pages at you, you feel them, they are real and they aren’t very nice in some cases! I started seeing Aaron as a zombie towards the end of the book because his personality kinda matched that of one! Then Davey and Mayor Prentiss… they had red tails and horns! Then you get Ben, Cillian, Tam, and Hildy and Jake and they were really good characters and you feel the love seeping out of the page from them.
The Knife of Never Letting Go is a perfect book, that’s right, perfect! I wouldn’t say that lightly trust me. The story, the characters, the setting… the writing… even down to the way the words were on the actual page! It was all amazing. I can’t fault anything and that’s new for me… there’s usually at least one tiny thing that I notice! I even loved the long sentences (which is a pet peeve of mine!) and the words written on the page wrong. I really recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go to everyone – though word of warning… have tissues at the ready if you’re gunna read!
The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first in the Chaos Walking trilogy and was first published in 2008 by Walker Books. My copy was purchased as a three book set.


  • Anna @annascottjots

    I’ve only read this one, but have made myself wait until I’ve got hardback copies of the other two, so they all match on the shelf! Great review – I adored this one too. The chemistry between the Todd and Viola is amazing.

  • jowearsoldcoats

    Oh Raimy!
    I am so so soooo glad you loved this book. What a great review 😀

    I’m guessing that you’re already in the middle of the second book right now, aren’t you?


    The whole series is just brilliant.

  • Mel

    Oh, wait until you get to the end of the series – you will feel like you’ve been run over by a steamroller of emotion. I love this trilogy – easily one of my favourite books ever. And I love Manchee as well! 🙂

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