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

Patrick Ness
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 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 (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,298 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
108 of 111 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Emotional Punch in the Throat 23 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you're a reader: prepare to have your heartstrings torn apart. This is a fast-paced story, with a vivid dystopian world, plenty of action and dangling plot reveals galore to keep you reading even when you want to give Todd a good kick in the shins.

If you're a writer: prepare to have your heartstrings torn apart, and your writer-brain given a good education. Want to know how to make a difficult-to-like (ignorant, bull-headed prejudiced, angry) character loveable? Want to know how to write a convincing male character, from teenage mood swings to some words being misspelled cuz he ain't had much of an educayshun? Want to know how to reveal information slowly without frustrating your readers? Step right up and get reading.

There are so many secrets in this story that you want to find out the answer to. You know the secrets are there because Todd is constantly doubting and second-guessing his info and other characters are fighting not to spill the beans.

So Ness keeps feeding you important information, big shocking reveals, while putting obstacles in the way to stop you finding out the whole picture all at once. For instance: in a world where everyone can hear your thoughts, knowing too much is a liability so a lot of info is kept from Todd so that it can't be overheard. And a lot of the important info is in a book Todd carries everywhere, but he's illiterate and too proud and defensive to admit he can't read it.

Patrick has an impressively strong grasp of how to withhold information without it feeling forced or unrealistic, and how to 'drip-feed' important information to the readers without overwhelming them.

Either way: This is an interesting and dark dystopian that breaks out of the genre box and takes a lot of risks.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 4 days 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 7 days 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 17 days 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 25 days 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 1 month ago by j wainscott
4.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
Brilliant pace, central character has such a strong voice, you really feel what he feels. Heartbreaking at times, I actually cried at one point. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Scooby'sMum
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!
In Prentisstown, New World, there are no women and Todd Hewitt is the very last boy. Sinister secret plans await this almost-man's coming of age.... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mr. D. L. Rees
5.0 out of 5 stars Ella Jenkinson age 12 cinquain poem
They are all dead
Only 85 men
You can hear all their crazy thoughts
I am the very last boy to be born
last one

Picked... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bill W
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic novel - Essential Reading
In short, this novel is the best that I have reviewed for my blog so far.

Although I appreciate that some people will not gel with the incredibly bleak story and the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kim Dyer
5.0 out of 5 stars The knife of never letting go
Great book thrilling and gripping all the way to the end its a must read loved every bit of it
Published 2 months ago by Stephen Brennan
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