I’m at a bit of a loss as to what sort of rating to give The Knife Of Never Letting Go. On the one hand I struggled at times to get into it, found the villain rather cartoonish, and the narration style (and phonetic spelling) of our protagonist, Todd, soon became something of an irritayshun. But on the other hand, I did feel really quite sad and angry more than a few times, so it obviously got to me while my back was turned.
Todd Hewitt lives in a world of Noise, where men’s thoughts (and those of animals too) are heard by everyone around them. Living in Prentisstown, a place with strict but mysterious rules that’s led by their Mayor (a bully), and their preacher (a maniac), Todd is almost 13 and on the cusp of what passes for manhood in his world. But instead of discovering the mysterious rites that mark a boy’s initiation, Todd discovers a girl (who, while able to read his, has no Noise of her own), hiding in the swamp on the edge of town. And so starts the pursuit that takes up the rest of the book as Todd, his dog, and Viola are hunted across New World by the army of men from Prentisstown for reasons I still don’t really quite grasp.
While their literal dash across New World with only the barest of stops along the way kept up an exciting pace, it also meant that if Todd wound you up – which he did me – there wasn’t really anything else to get invested in. Nor could I take Aaron, the town’s holy man who’s so deranged and evil he may as well be a swivel-eyed moustache-twirler, too seriously (even if his encounter with Todd’s dog, Manchee, led to one of the bigger moments of unexpected feelings).
The first book in a YA trilogy, I don’t think I’m bothered about picking up the rest. And so, I guess for that reason, I’m giving this a just OK 2.