sinister reading

Since finishing the book two nights ago, I’ve been trying to think of a perfect adjective to describe Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go. I eventually settled on sinister. I don’t know if that’s the final word, but it works. But perhaps I should introduce you to the book jacket description first?

Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.
But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.
Or are there?
Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.
Which is impossible.
Prentisstown has been lying to him.
And now he's going to have to run...

This menacing masterpiece has won several awards, and after reading it, I can see why. Ness is a genius at controlling the story and the audience. He’s set up the perfect mystery, and unravels it with painstaking skill and unmatched expertise. The tale he tells is intelligent, brutal, scary, and a glimpse into the shadows of the human soul. It’s also a coming-of-age and journey tale, punctuated by very brief rays of life and hope and redemption, before the reader is plunged again into the dark. And perhaps I should stress that it’s the first in a series? There’s more where that came from. I have no idea where Ness will take the story next, but I am equally afraid and excited to find out. I can only imagine that he’ll stretch the characters even farther than they think they can bear, and wring out us readers along the way.

This reading experience was hard. It was painful. And it was completely worth it. I feel as drained and as impressed now as I did after reading The Hunger Games for the first time. In a very different way, certainly. Ness’ work is probably darker on a whole. But if you’re interested in reading really great fiction, by an absolute master, and want to get a feeling about what this ‘dystopian’ thing is all about, I recommend The Knife of Never Letting Go. Or maybe you’re a fan of clever and realistic horror? This will fit the bill, too.

And if you think I’m being vague and talking in circles, well – I am! I can’t in good conscience say anything more about the plot or the characters. If you want the mystery solved, you’ll have to read it as I did, and take step by perilous step into the fantastic world of The Knife of Never Letting Go. Enjoy!

NOTE: If you're desperate to know a bit more about the story or to check out someone else's whole-hearted recommendation, please see Rhiannon's review or Aimee's loving rant. I trust their book sense, and everything they say, I'd say (if I was half as eloquent). Except I don't like to give away much (read: anything), so you've been warned.


Rhiannon Hart said...

I'm so happy you loved it!! Just wait til you read the next one, oh just wait...

Anonymous said...

Im really happy you loved it too- and equally happy to know you trust my book sense!

... and once again I echo Rhiannon - wait til you read the next one!

pure awesomeness.

Missy B. said...

I must read it!

Please enter me in the giveaway!


My all time favorite dystopian novel is Swan Song by Robert McCammon.....

Sheere said...

This book seems so good! Enter me please!
Well I have read (and loved it) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ( I think this novel is dystopian isen't it?)

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Thanks for the review! I've always wanted to read this one.

I'm currently reading the daddy of all dystopia: 1984 by Orwell. It's pretty frightening.

Thanks for this giveaway.


Shooting Stars Mag said...

sounds great. count me in. does hunger games count? I still need to read that one but I really really want too.

lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

Anonymous said...

Please enter me!

I'm really looking forward to reading In A Perfect World by Laura Kasischke and the second Hunger Games novel (I finished the first one... two or three days ago).

Laura's Reviews said...

Wow - great review. This book sounds fantastic!

I would love to be included in the giveaway. My favorite dystopian novel is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I really need to read it again!

My email address is laarlt78(at)hotmail(dot)com.


Noella said...

My favourite dystopian novel is either Unwind by Neal Shusterman or Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. They're both awesome! I like to be surprised and impressed and they did both!

Ryan said...

Love the Road by Cormac McCarthy, Alas Babylon is another favorite one.

I would love to enter the contest.

christine said...

I have to copy Ryan and say The Road but I also loved The Running Man.
I have heard great things about this one. Thanks for the chance to win!

Llehn said...

I loved, loved, loved this book!


Unknown said...

Currently reading Fahrenheit 451 (I guess I missed in High School.)

Please enter me in the giveaway! (Hi Cici, Adam says you are a bad influence on me!)

Sage Ravenwood said...

The title pulled me in right off the bat. Please enter me for this drawing.

A dystopian novel I would love to read and I'm looking forward to is,
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. It sounds like the perfect world gone awry read.

Thanks Again! Indigo

Andrea said...

This is one I've had a while and keep putting off. I really need to read it soon as it sounds so good.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review!

I would love to be entered.

With out a doubt my favorite dystopian society read would be Hunger Games.


M.A.D. said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

Wow, I would LOVE to read this - am so curious now, excellent review btw :D

I think I would say "Brave New World" by Huxley, although am eager to read Hunger Games as many people have selected that one.

Rabid Fox said...

I've read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and loved it. Another dystopian book I plan on reading soon in Cormac McCarthy's The Road. That should be good.

e-mail: rabidfox(at)

Tia said...

Totally agree with your description of how reading the book felt! Between "The Knife of Never Letting Go" and all the other YA dystopian stuff I've been reading lately I definitely need a break - I think I need some normal adult "real world" fiction. (Also great to see someone else who didn't like "House of the Scorpions!)

Anonymous said...

I think my favourite dystopian novel is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I've also read The Giver by Lois Lowry, Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

I want to read The Knife of Never Letting Go after reading your review, it sounds great!

Anonymous said...

You've definitely hooked me. I read Brave New World recently but didn't love it. I also read Uglies by Westerfield.

carolsnotebook at yahoo dot com

Rebecca said...

Great contest.

I have read the dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell.

Angiegirl said...

I would love to read this one! I've heard nothing but praise. One of my very favorite dystopian novels is HOW I LIVE NOW by Meg Rosoff. Can't say enough good about that one. It's just gorgeous.

Thanks for the generous giveaway!

angiegirl (at) gmail (dot) com

Bleuette said...

the giver by lois lowry

Lisa said...

No need to enter me. I just wanted to say that I'm not sure I've ever read a more enthusiastic review!

gautami tripathy said...

I loved reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

I wish to read Oryx and Crake by Atwood. And also this book.

Please do enter me.


Anonymous said...

My favourite dystopian novel is The Giver by Lois Lowry. I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks. wandanamgreb(at)gmail(dot)com

mabelilly28 said...

"A Handmaid's Tale" is truly one of the best dystopian novels!

mabelilly28 at yahoo dot com

Misty said...

I love dystopian lit, and I LOVE this series. I just finished up The Ask and the Answer a couple weeks ago; my review of Knife is here.
Anyway, I love Margaret Atwood's dystopias, especially Oryx and Crake. I just bought her The Year of the Flood, so I am looking forward to that.


Raspberry said...

I'd really like to enter - I'm a fan of the Atherton series by Carman. Thanks!

Sheere said...

The Hunger Games is my favourite dystopian novel! I have read Uglies too.. and Unwind!
I like this genre so much!

Rissa (Pretentious Reader) said...

I'm not a fan of dystopian themed novels but I'm looking forward on reading this series by Patrick Ness, I've read good reviews about it. I'm planning to read The Handmaid's Tale and The Hunger Games, so far I liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

Jen said...

I have read Animal Farm and 1984 but its been a long time. lol

Please enter me.


Jen said...

I have read Animal Farm and 1984 but its been a long time. lol

Please enter me.


Milka said...

I've read the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I would love to read Catching Fire by the same author.

Anonymous said...

My favorite dystopian book would the The Hunger Games series, which a ton of people have already picked! But I've also read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and that was really good so I can't wait for the sequel!

I'm hoping that I can start The Maze Runner soon because I've heard some great things about it!

I've seen The Knife of Never Letting Go at the bookstore before and I thought it sounded really good, so hopefully this is my chance to read it!

Just_Blinded_Book_Reviews (at) Yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous said...

would love a chance to win this. A good dystopian novel I've read? that would have to be 1984 by George Orwell. It's a classic and can't be missed.

sensitivemuse at gmail dot com

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

My favorite dystopian book is the whole Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld.

thankyou for this contest!

409cope said...

I would have to say Lord of the Flies. cardshark42(at)hotmail(dot)com

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