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Customer Review

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A cultural reference, reflecting teenage angst in a deeply cynical modern world, 7 Jan. 2009
This review is from: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking) (Paperback)
Spurred to read this book by the news that it had won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, I was surprised to find myself immersed in a novel that sapped me of any fraction of hope I had for life on the parallel universe which the author refers to simply as "New World".

The story is told by teenager Todd Hewitt whose quest to escape the consequences and prejudices of having been born and brought up in nightmarish Prentisstown, is the backbone of the novel. The journey proves to be fraught, frightening and desperate. The characters Todd meets along the way are enigmatic, the experiences he has makes him wonder if he is best on his own and even his dog receives unnecessary cruelty.

Yet despite the above, "The Knife of Never Letting Go" makes compelling reading. It takes a few pages to get accustomed to the American teenage slang in which the novel is written, which is entirely appropriate and for which the author must be congratulated. I found myself racing through the chapters and attempting to second-guess the next twist of the plot, only to find I was wrong-footed every time. I can't remember the last time I was so engrossed in a novel - especially in one expounding a worldview so bleak and heartwrenching.

There are a few plot deficiencies which means "The Knife of Never Letting Go" probably won't stand up to deep scrutiny. However I feel that this novel could be seen as a cultural reference, reflecting teenage angst in a deeply cynical modern world. In brief, this novel makes Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" seem as wholesome as C.S. Lewis's Tales of Narnia.
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