07 September 2009

Chaos Walking 1: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness)

So I've just re-read this book in preparation for reading and reviewing book two which has just come out; I now remember how completely brilliantly amazing it is and so I thought I should spread the love a little. This is another one of those young adult / adult crossovers, except that this is perhaps the only one wherein the crossover is really justified. Twilight - adults could really just read a Mills and Boon to have the same experience (albeit vampire free ). The Forest of Hands and Teeth - probably too adult, too scary, too zombie-y - I have yet to sell this book to an actual young adult. The Knife of Never Letting Go, on the other hand, should be read by... well... everyone. Part sci-fi, part dystopian future (you see what hooked me!), reading this book is an experience worth having.

The novel is set on a completely different planet (we've messed Earth up so much that it is verging on becoming uninhabitable), where the first human settlers arrived about 25 years before the book starts. Todd Hewitt (our hero) grew up in Prentisstown, surrounded by a constant barrage of other men's 'Noise' - that is a stream of conscious thought constantly broadcasted to everyone around, unstoppable, unblockable, and quite uncomfortable. There are no women in Prentisstown and when Todd finds a girl (!) surrounded by a patch of silence (unheard of in a town full of Noise) his world is shaken... BUT the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Pastor.... (anyone in town with any kind of authority that may now be challenged by Todd's discovery) are unhappy. To put it mildly. To put it less mildly- they chase Todd out of Prentisstown with rifles and follow him halfway across the country determined to silence him.

I don't really want to give much away because this is the kind of book where the revelations about the history of the New World were so shocking, so unexpected and so well crafted into the story that I don't want to spoil it. Suffice to say, I love it.

I realise this review is written COMPLETELY like I am selling the book to someone, but I swear it's not copied and pasted from one of my newsletters. (If a review of book two shows up, I cannot make the same promise). I just feel like telling EVERYONE that this is a book you should read.


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