The Knife of Never Letting Go
by Patrick Ness
genre: adventure, science fiction, young adult
Summary from Goodreads
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
From the description, I was expecting Todd to find a location within the town where thoughts can no longer be heard, a safe place, a base where he and potentially others could plan an escape. The challenge would be not thinking about it so others would not know of its existence. But that’s not how it played out. There will be spoilers in order to explain my 2 star rating, but I’ll try to save those till the end.
Let me start by correcting the description. Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon a secret that may cost him his life. He and Manchee flee from the town in an epic adventure involving blood, blood, fighting, more blood, aaaand blood.
One of the characters is everything wrong with American travelers. This person is not a native to the land and instead of observing and participating in the customs of the area she is new to (no matter how stupid she may find them) she immediately tells people that they are wrong, backwards, practically calls them heathens. I’m not going to pretend like can (or will) learn the language for every country I visit, but I’ll take a phrase book with me and I’ll make an effort. I research the laws and do my best to follow customs.
As for the other characters, they demonstrate one of my main complaints about Americans. Instead of invading a new country and ignoring the fact that other people already lived there, these people have invaded a whole country. When you are the one from space landing on an inhabited planet, you are the alien. The natives are not. What these people did to the “aliens” was on the same level as smallpox infested blankets.
There was one underlying message that I liked, however. Please note that this is my opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Ermisenda or Ermilia, LLC. All “weapons” are objects. They are neither good nor evil. If left alone, they cannot do any damage. Someone has to use them–weapons require a decision. It could be a decision to use them on one’s self, use one on someone else, or a decision to pick one up and play with it.
Last complaint: so much could have been avoided! Spoiler Alert.
Maybe it’s growing up in Texas, but to me, killing in self defense is not the same as murder. Though I’ve never been in this situation, I am 99% sure that if someone is actively trying to kill me, has tried numerous times to kill me, killed my dog, tried to kill my companion, and I have the ability to kill them, I am not kill them. I would need therapy and it would not be done lightly, but if it’s me and loved ones or them, they’re going down. There’s not going to be a “I totally have the ability to kill you right now, but I’m not going to out of principal.” What do you expect to accomplish? Roll around until the person trying to kill you changes his mind?
2 out of 5 stars
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, reviewed by Ermisenda
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