“We are the choices we make.”
– Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go
The first time I read this book I missed the sheer brilliance of the first line. In fact, it took me quite a few pages into The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness to understand just how ingenious this story is. I may have mentioned my increasing obsession with his books once or twice… ‘fangirling’ may have been the term I used… Yes, I have it bad. There is only one other author who leaves me with the same awestruck feeling and that is J.K Rowling. If you haven’t read one of his books before, I suggest that you start moving towards your local bookstore right now…
“But a knife ain’t just a thing, is it? It’s a choice, it’s something you do. A knife says yes or no, cut or not, die or don’t. A knife takes a decision out of your hand and puts it in the world and it never goes back again. ”
Todd Hewitt is twelve years and eleven months old and he is the last boy in Prentisstown. It is a strange little town; there isn’t a single woman to be seen… and many men to be heard. The men of Prentisstown suffer from an affliction known as The Noise. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts all the time. There is no privacy, no secrets and no silence. Until Todd stumbles across a source of silence in the marsh and for the first time, his mind clears. That is, until he comes face to face with a girl that isn’t supposed to exist. It would appear that someone in Prentisstown is lying and Todd’s discovery leads to a series of events that force him to run from everything he thought he understood.
“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos.”
When I went looking for a book starting with the letter K and realised this was one of only two in my possession, there was no second-guessing my decision to review it. The thing is though, I don’t think I can do justice to just how amazing this book (and series) really is. Ness’ writing takes my breath away; his completely original take on dystopian fiction is somewhat unsentimental in its storytelling yet poignant and heartbreaking in the messages it leaves behind. It is a story that is becoming more and more relevant and like all good dystopian stories, it highlights the best and worst of our lives. We live in a world without silence; the steady hum of technology, the buzz of our home and social lives and the insistent presence of social media dominates our days. In a world where everyone has something to say, Ness’ voice stands out as one worth listening too.