Author: Patrick Ness
Series: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Todd is isolated in his small community of Prentisstown, which is a feat in itself considering everyone in the town can hear the thoughts of everyone else. And it isn’t just humans we’re talking about – we mean everything. Including Todd’s dog, Manchee, who becomes enduring later on in the novel, but is mostly irritating in his communication through the Noise, in which he says 1) Todd! or 2) poop.
Todd is the only boy left in the town of Prentisstown on the New World; he’s the only one who hasn’t reached thirteen years and thirteen months, and with 30 days left until he reaches manhood, Todd’s life is about to get complicated. There’s a secret to what manhood mean in Prentisstown, which Todd is a fixin to find out (but not us! We have to wait 400 pages until we finally get the big reveal).
The first thing you are likely to realize about this novel is that Todd has a different dialect than you are used to, unless you are used to redneck hillbillies writing out phonetically. Which would have been okay, if Ness had stayed consistent. Though it is a bit irksome at first, I daresay you will get used to you as you read on. I have a very sneaking suspicion it’s because Ness lightens up on the bizarre spelling and odd narrative quite heavily towards the middle of the book, only throwing in a misspelled confusion. Just as an example, I randomly opened the book to page 357 and started skimming through it to try to find an example of a word… I gave up by page 363 because Ness simply stopped using it. If you are going to go for the unique narrative style, stick with it man! Don’t wimp out halfway through and then just toss a few “ain’t”s in there every once in a while. That really irritates me.
But back to this big reveal. Todd gets hints at it relatively early on, and then finds out for sure later. But Ness conveniently finds ways of hiding the truth in the narrative. So you are over 400 pages in before you find out the big secret in this story. And guess what? By then, my over productive imagination has already come up with about five better esplanashions (heh, see what I did there? Annoying, isn’t it?) of what happens. So when I find out the actual truth? It’s kind of a huge let down.
Oh, and did I mention there are alien on this New World? Except they are all dead. And apparently, even if they weren’t, they weren’t that impressive to begin with. That was a bit of a letdown. My other big beef with this novel is that they had all the technology of cryo freezing and interstellar travel, but when they land and colonize this planet, the church goers decide to basically live off the land and burn books? Don’t you think they would have taken more technology with them? I know they wanted to get away from the sins and corupshion (ha, did it again!) and all that, but to do that, they would have had to leave humans behind as well.
If you can get over the disappoint of the suspense, than this novel isn’t bad of a read. It has the generic twists and turns, and the ending definitely leaves you begging for more. But with all the excited hype I’ve heard for this story, I have to stay I was at least a little disappointed.
And don’t even get me started on the two moons in the same phase on the cover of this version of the novel (which I notice was conveniently fixed for later editions). That’s just sloppy for us sci-fi nerds. But even with all my complaining, I’m still going to read the next novel in the series. And I’m hoping it’s even better!