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The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking) [Paperback]

Patrick Ness
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 Oct 2008 Chaos Walking
Imagine you're the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don't fit in with their plans... Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run...

Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Walker (22 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1406320757
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406320756
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (246 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick Ness is the author of the Chaos Walking Trilogy - The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men - for which he has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the BookTrust Teenage Prize and the Costa Children's Book Award. He has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. He lives in London.

Product Description


"Sets a high standard in an already crowded fantasy fiction genre."-- THE INDEPENDENT (U.K.) -- Independent, The (UK)"From the Hardcover edition."

Book Description

An unflinching novel about the impossible choices of growing up, by an award-winning writer.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
109 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A awesome debut! 21 Aug 2009
Todd Hewitt is twelve, the last boy in Prentisstown, a town of only men. He lives in a world full of "noise" in which the private thoughts of every man and animal are audible. In one month he will be thirteen and a man. But the town is keeping secrets from him, secrets that will force him to go on the run from the mayor and the men of Prentisstown along with his dog and the first girl he has ever met.

This is quite frankly an astounding novel, quite deserving of the awards Ness has won. It is furiously paced with terrifying, exhilarating and heartbreaking moments, with fantastic cliff-hangers interspersed with philosophical pauses. It is one of those gems that are sometimes found in children's literature; a genuinely original novel that is also well written, grabs hold of the imagination and will not allow you to put it down. You will find yourself growing more and more attached to Todd and Viola as the story and their friendship progresses, and feel genuine affection for Todd's dog and sidekick, Manchee, whose behaviour is both hilarious and heart-warming. At its core it is a story about a boy forced to grow up fast in a world crumbling into madness and armed only with his conviction to do right to help him take on the desperate fight to survive.

The book is aimed at young teenagers, and we would recommend it for readers aged 13 and upwards, but it will also appeal very strongly to adults. I can not rate this highly enough. If the well thought out plot line, characters that lift from the page and the genuinely original idea at the core of the book wasn't enough, Ness's dialogue and style of writing would be enough to recommend this book. If you want to read a truly great piece of children's fiction then this is the one for you.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING! 24 May 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
the knife of never letting go was brillaint! one of the best books ever. im 13 and i have read all the books in this series and could not put any of them down!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chillingly beautiful 7 Sep 2011
It's often irritating to jump into a dystopian story and not be told why the apocalyptic event happened, almost as if the novelist doesn't know or cares little, so it's heartening to read an author who is unafraid of revealing how his particular apocalypse happened, and I was thrilled to see that Ness is one such writer. But that's not why I continued reading. I had put off perusing this trilogy for fear of being disappointed, as often happens when I contemplate reading popular novels. Once I started though, I read them one after the other.

The concept of the work is well known; Ness has created a world where thoughts are heard, but only those of men. But it's really within the scope of the story where his gifts are fully given. The exposition feels like a long and twisted vine, so pleasurable to read for a stretch, and then suddenly shocking, leading you away and astray and inward into the mind of a young adult. I won't reveal the shocks or surprises here, but I can say that nothing is quite what it seems. The first descriptions of the small village of Prentistown are utterly claustrophobic. I was physically relieved to see Todd test the boundaries. I can only imagine that Ness has recalled his own teen years, because in his exploring the thoughts and feelings of his hero, he may have dug deeply into his own memories, either real or wished for - that, or he talks in depth to children about all and everything. It's startling, and unnerving, to see how much understanding Ness has for his characters. And for children, most especially. The adults, in the main, don't fare so well, but why should they? I could go deep and philosophical here, and say how these novels are a commentary on to what extent the poor decisions made by adults affect, forever, the life of the world to come.... but I won't. This is a wonderful trilogy for your dreamy, aspirational teen. The kind of child who knows that one day, they'll grow up and change the world.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Nominally this is a book for teenagers but it has such panache and a truly riveting plot that - you know what? Forget how old you are and just read it. It weighs in at 479 pages but it races on by to fiendishly excellent effect. We are on a planet - not earth (there are two moons), in a farming community where Todd, a young man approaching his majority (thirteen is the magic age of manhood and Todd is rapidly approaching his initiation), suddenly becomes aware of a creature he has never come across before. There is, instead of the Noise, which emanates from everyone (thoughts, images, their most secret imaginings), nothing, silence.

This is a hostile world for Todd and his dog Manchee. His parents are dead and he lives with Cillian and Ben, brothers who took him in as a child. The swamp-lands are close by and aside from the crocs and other creatures (including an alien race) there is a preacher, Aaron who seems to have a particular hatred for Todd. Then one day Ben tells him he must leave and the journey he must undertake is one that only he can travel.

The book has some wonderful textual tricks throughout and the story is thrilling, edgy, and ultimately devastating. I have already ordered the sequel, The Ask and the Answer, and I would recommend this book to any age group, that enjoys a quest-type story and a remorselessly engaging plot.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I was given this title as a present for my 34th birthday, and was doubtful that my interest could be engaged by a book categorised as 'teenage fiction'. My misgivings were not helped by the fact that I've been left feeling rather unsatisfied by much of the fiction written for adults that I've come across lately, which I've found to be largely formulaic or, even worse, forced. However, I decided to give 'The Knife...' a go as the person who gave it to me is a pretty trustworthy source. Thankfully, I found myself immediately engaged by the story's unique premise (ably explained by plenty of previous reviewers) and its creative and skilful delivery by the author.

Ness seamlessly combines a flavour of the Wild West with a dose of Sci-Fi and interweaves this with philosophical undertones to produce a convincing and finely-crafted tale. The main characters, Todd and Viola, are in turns perplexing, intriguing, amusing and exasperating - a testament to Ness's skill for character development. One of my favourite elements of the story is the poignant portrayal of the relationship between Todd and his trusty dog, Manchee. The growing bond between the cynical, care-worn boy and his irrepressible, carefree dog is wonderfully captured in their subtle but memorable exchanges:-

'" Good poo, Todd".

"I'm sure it was, Manchee".

..."Poo," Manchee says quietly.'

Being the first of a series, 'The Knife...' ends on a cliff-hanger that is surprising, frustrating and utterly perfect. For me, the ending adds an extra, deliciously harrowing dimension to the main characters' experiences in the preceding story.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Mundane journey
The concept was excellent, and I had high hopes. Unfortunately, with the exception of a couple of memorable moments, I found the journey of the protagonists somewhat mundane. Read more
Published 1 day ago by B. Turner
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My book of the year !
Published 9 days ago by em stafford
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Totally brilliant
Published 24 days ago by Alva Chadwick
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book
Very good book
Published 1 month ago by TrinitySam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
So good, so immersive, so quirky. I enjoyed this book lots and couldn't wait for the next one.
Published 1 month ago by Kerstin Hammes
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book!
Never reviewed a book on here before and a couple of pages in, didn't think I'd be reviewing this one. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Janet Bedford
1.0 out of 5 stars The book is full of words like 'tho' and other abbreviations and this...
I stopped reading after two pages. The book is full of words like 'tho' and other abbreviations and this made it hard to read.
Published 1 month ago by A. Vantvelt
5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, imaginative and well written
Exciting, imaginative and well written.I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I recommend it for teenagers and older (I'm 56). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
really enjoyed, will certainly read the second book! great character development and concept the story line was really interesting !
Published 1 month ago by Robyn Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars I hardly put the book down.
A very good read, not predicable and well written. Can't wait for the next in the series, already on my Kindle.
Published 2 months ago by j wainscott
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