Monday, 28 September 2015

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

Not new, but still worth finding and reading this wonderful YA read.  Indeed, there are two more to read as this is part of the Chaos Walking Trilogy, so I'll be searching out the others soon.

Our hero, Todd, is with his dog Manchee, and from the very first page you know you are in for a strange and extra-ordinary journey because the dog is talking to Todd, and Todd is replying.  Manchee needs a poo...... and tells Todd so.  Manchee is a great character in this first book - there are other animals that talk too, but with much less vocabulary, including a huge herd of cattle of some kind, who just sort of sing "Here", "We are Here" to each other all the time to keep the herd intact.  Brilliant concept all round - a new planet, where settlers are still attempting to settle, but finding it difficult for various reasons including the strange phenomenon of all thoughts being audible to all men (Todd's town has only men in it).  There were resident creatures on this planet, but the new settlers seem to have killed off most of them;  in this way it reads rather like North America and the European Settlers in the early days.

Written in the first person (Todd's voice) and the present tense, we accompany Todd and Manchee when they run away from  town and we find that there is a kind of price on Todd's head;  and he's going to have to keep running, and keep out of trouble.   Not easy when he comes across a silent girl, a survivor from a scoutship, sent down from another settlers' spaceship waiting for a message to say Safe to Land.

The book has violence, cruelty, bad spelling (not mistakes, just the way Todd and others talk), but I whipped through it in two days, just turning page after page.  I really like Patrick Ness, and have read some of his later books.  Don't know why I didn't pull this off the shelf before, but glad I got there in the end.  I had tears in my eyes several times, and I cared for many of the characters I came across.  Do find it and read it. Dystopian reads are not everyone's cup of tea - this was definitely mine!