Beware; the following post will contain spoilers for The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, book 1 of the Chaos Walking series. Read at your own risk!
Whew! That was one heck of a story, wasn’t it? I couldn’t tear myself away. My thoughts on this one are, I think, best shared in bullet point rather than paragraph form, so here it goes:
- I liked the book and couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t love it in the way I love Graceling by Kristin Cashore or The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I think that might be because I didn’t love any character excessively. I certainly rooted for Todd and Viola, but I didn’t love either the way I do Katsa and Katniss.
- The book didn’t go in any direction I’d expected. A new planet? Aliens? Settlers? Not what I’d expected, not usually my cup of tea, yet I was surprisingly fine with it.
- The story was much more violent than I’d expected, too. There seemed to be a lot of death, violence, and graphic description, which I hadn’t been anticipating and was a little surprised to find. Not a problem for me, just not what I was expecting.
- Every once in a while I got tired of the whole chase thing. Really, the whole book was one big long chase scene. A gripping one, for sure, but still. It was a lot of pages of Todd and Viola trying to outrun an army.
- I continued to enjoy the way Noise was explored, how characters related to one another when Noise was involved, how Noise affected everything. In my first post on The Knife of Never Letting Go, I mentioned the connection between Noise and our contemporary environment of nonstop information. I really liked how Ness kept that theme part of the story without becoming too preachy or overt about it.
- I really wanted Aaron to go away. And then, when he finally did, I kept worrying he’d come back. It seemed to me there was something inhuman (superhuman?) about him, the way he just kept coming, even with his face hanging off in shreds. He was one of the scariest monster-type villains I’ve encountered in a long time.
- Oh, Manchee…why did you have to go? I loved Manchee, loved his comic relief and his fierce little loyalty. I think his death hit me hardest. I kept hoping he’d come back. Amanda shared a theory last time that if you like Manchee, you’ll like the series; if not, you won’t. Does that hold true for you? It certainly did for me.
- The end…what?? I’d been thinking maybe I wouldn’t continue with the series, but after I finished the last page, I knew I’d keep going. I actually finished The Knife of Never Letting Go in bed late one night and used my phone to order The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men, the rest of the trilogy, before going to sleep! The ending definitely took me by surprise and made me curious to see where Ness would go from there.
I’ve now finished The Ask and the Answer (which I liked better than The Knife of Never Letting Go) and am about half way through Monsters of Men. I really like the direction in which Ness has taken the series and am anxious to see how he concludes it. Though, honestly, I’m not any more attached to the characters themselves than I was during The Knife of Never Letting Go. Still, the story is ridiculously gripping, the themes keep me fascinated, and I’m really not sure how Ness is going to get his characters out of the mess they’re in.
So, what did you think of The Knife of Never Letting Go? Will you be (are you already) continuing the series? Feel free to jump in, whether or not you officially read this one with Reading Buddies! Reading Buddies reviews (if I’ve missed yours, just let me know!):