REVIEW: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

REVIEW: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness
Published: Candlewick Press (2008), eBook, 479pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fiction, Sci-fi

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is. (from Amazon)

Don’t you just love it when the stars align and you’re finally able to get a book that you’ve been wanting to read (and that other people have been telling you to read) for ages and then you read it and it’s amazing? I do! And that’s what happened with The Knife of Never Letting Go.

I’ve previously read Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls, which was scary and heartbreaking. I expected TKONLG to be somewhat the same, only more dystopian-y and with more sci-fi stuff. Um. It kind of is, but only like how household cats are technically related to tigers. A Monster Calls is Bubbles the cat; TKONLG is freakin’ Zazzles the king of tigers.1

The author

Basically I don’t think I expected how BRUTAL The Knife of Never Letting Go is. Not, like, violence-related brutal (although it IS violent), but emotionally brutal. It’s brutal in a way that you can’t really recover quickly from, especially if you tend to obsess over details like I do. I only managed to get over it by reading a lot of non-Chaos Walking books, tbh, and while I want to finish reading the series I’m a little bit scared to stick myself back into that world.2 The Knife of Never Letting Go is a really good thriller/horror story in that regard, and it makes almost every other YA dystopia look sort of wimpy.

Besides the horror stuff, there’s a lot of other good things in here. Aliens! Space travel! I love aliens, and dystopias with sci-fi stuff in them. Todd’s whole story arc about figuring out that who he thought he was, what his world was, and what his family was was a big fat lie– that was great! (And heartbreaking.) When Viola showed up I did a little cheer, because for a while there I was worried it’d be another book with no (living) women in it. And, overall, I just really like Patrick Ness’ writing. It tends to make me want to curl up in a ball and cry, but it’s very, very good writing.

If you like dystopias or books that haunt you for days after reading them, The Knife of Never Letting Go is the book for you!

Read: March 27, 2012


  1. best cat names ever, btw.
  2. sort of like how it took me a month to watch Rose Red, because I kept scaring the crap out of myself and had to regroup after every episode. Have you ever seen it? It’s an AWESOME show, but if you’re a wimp like me it can be hard to watch.

13 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness”

  1. Oh, I totally loved these books and every time I see a review I want to go back and reread them over and over. Keep in mind I just read them three months ago.

    P.S. I know I have dropped by your blog before, but I just wanted to say that I love your footnotes. I’m a huge nerd who loves footnotes so it tickles me to find them on a blog!

  2. Oh man, if you thought Knife of Never Letting Go was brutal, wait until you read The Ask and the Answer. Seriously. I got through reading it, and I was out of breath for like an hour. It’s really rough. “It makes almost every other YA dystopia look sort of wimpy” is EXACTLY how I feel about this series, hahahaha.

    1. Ugh, TA&TA. Yeah, it was brutal. But the ending sequence was kind of…meh? idk, I have a lot of feelings about that ending which I need to figure out how to write about.

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