The Knife of Never Letting Go | Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness published 24 July 2014

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

How was it?

I know he’s young but boy Todd is winy. He’s so annoying that I often rolled my eyes. Talk about being thick. I tried to be understanding because of his circumstances and I was waiting for him to grow and learn as he experienced more, newer things but he stayed the same. He actively did everything he could not to soak up the new knowledge. It was baffling.

He started by presenting himself as an outsider in his own village, he wasn’t like the other men from there. He even had the men who raised him tell him not to trust the other villagers. Yet he ignored anything that didn’t align with what the people he didn’t trust and was told not to trust, taught him.  WTF? Besides not once I felt like his inner monologue was close to what, I or anyone would feel and/or think in his situation. If I don’t like and/or trust the people from my village, and the few I trust, my parents, tell me that the villagers are f’d up, I am not going to immediately dismiss any new information about my village like Todd did. I’d be cautious but not dismissive.

There’s also a thing the author does that I couldn’t understand. So anyone who knows anything about the past is just not giving that information to Todd. Sometimes it makes sense because they could have been overheard or he didn’t want to hear it, but sometimes they just weren’t telling Todd when they could have – otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story.
So we have one character, Todd, who buries his head in the sand; and a bunch of secondary characters who don’t teach him when they can. However he still gets new informations that he ignores. I don’t always need someone to root for but at least give me someone consistent, someone to understand.

The story also gets bleaker with every chapter, it’s drama after drama. Drama for the sake of drama. By the time part 5 arrived I was completely out of it. Exhausted, disconnected, and zombie reading* this thing, not even sure that I wanted to finish it or read the next book. The worst thing is that 512 pages is not that much of an undertaking for me.

In the end Chaos Walking book 1 feels like a stretched out novella. Fillers in the form of ramblings, well noise, and “secrets” made to look like a well thought out plot. The bones are alright but the meat is rotten. It also reminded me of a Jack Nicholson anecdote Elija Wood talk about in the Graham Norton Show, with Nicholson telling him that Lord of Rings had too many endings. This books feels very much the same. Many times I thought this book was coming to a close only to see another chapter or part pop up. It felt long. This might not happen with a paperback, since you’d be able to tell how many pages are left, but with an ebook or audiobook it might.

So I ended up putting this book down for months knowing that I had less than 20% but I couldn’t bring myself to pick it back up. I might, I just doubt it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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