Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Knife of Never Letting Go -- Chaos Walking Book One

Ness, P. (2008). The knife of never letting go : chaos walking book one. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.

YA Fiction / Dystopian - Post Apocolyptic
I gave this 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads

Wow! I haven't read a book that I couldn't put down in a long time.  I absolutely did not know what to expect when I started this story and was pleasantly surprised many times throughout. 

My assumption about the setting of the story was completely wrong. (cool!) As were my assumptions about the direction the story took and how things would play out. And the premise! Unusual and different from anything I've read.  The main character, Todd, is memorable. Gullible but learning.  Heartbroken but healing. . . and then getting heartbroken again and healing, and again and again.  Poor kid!  This first book really "grows" Todd, and I'm interested to see what direction he will take in the following books.  Yes, I think I will actually get the next installment, The Ask and the Answer, and read it soon.  Those of you who follow my blog know that this is big.  I rarely read sequels and if I do, it's usually not back-to-back.  This series has me intrigued.

Ness's writing style is outstanding. He uses spelling and type-face so effectively that you HEAR the words coming off the page.  Really unique. It really brings life to my favorite character in the book, Manchee the dog. Yes, the dog is one of my favorite characters.  I'm telling you, this book and its premise are fabulous.

On the Clean-O-Meter rating, this is a 3.5 out of 5.  Again, Ness's writing style is so perfect that it gives you the impact of swear words without the offense. For example, Todd, who narrates, will say something is "Effing" this or that, and then he'll tell you "'cept I didn't say 'effing'."  There are a few stray "S" words, and a bit of "dammit" thrown about, but as far as language, it's pretty benign.  Now, there is violence and the descriptions are pretty clear, so that's where some younger kids might be in uncomfortable territory. There is no sex or sexual situations or even sexual references.

Boys and girls alike will enjoy this book if they don't allow themselves to be intimidated by the size.  It reads very easily and quickly.  Lots of white space in those nearly 500 pages.  Lions Gate bought the movie rights, so we'll see if they can successfully translate some of the more difficult aspects of this book (the Noise, aliens, talking animals) onto the big screen.

Here's a trailer for the trilogy.  Gives away more than my review, but pretty good.

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