Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness
Published: July 14th 2009 by Candlewick Press (first published May 5th 2008)
Purchase: Book Depository | Amazon
Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

It’s one of those books you can’t put down, it steals your breath and leaves you aching and still you keep pushing through it, even if that one scene completely destroys you. I’m supposed to be studying for finals but already my fingers are flipping through the second book because The Knife of Never Letting Go is so epic and consuming, it’s difficult to extract myself from this world Patrick Ness has created.

In this world, the thoughts of all men can be heard and the women are dead. The story starts in Prentisstown, a small settlement filled with secrets and mystery, the likes of which starts this dark adventure filled with twisty turns and perils galore fuelled by action packed scenes and break neck pace.

Todd has such a distinct, wonderful voice that feels so alive, I can imagine his gestures and expressions and even the way his voice sounds. He’s flawed and stubborn and confused and sometimes he makes the wrong choices and says the wrong things but it makes him feel all the more real. He’s caring, brave, protective and very determined. Manchee, his dog, is the best character ever. He is so good, kind and fiercely loyal (think Dug from UP). In world of such darkness and despair, he’s the character that makes me smile.

Viola stands on her own and apart from Todd. She’s courageous, intelligent and kickass but vulnerable too. I like seeing different these sides to her because she isn’t a character that can be folded into a neat little box. There isn’t this imbalance between her and Todd, they’re both equally strong, flawed characters and their relationship develops tentatively, growing subtly stronger throughout their journey.

The villains are blood curling and hideous. There are many villains in this book but there is one that is annoyingly persistent and it’s a little unrealistic but damn if I didn’t want to take that knife and stab him myself.
I didn’t always enjoy The Knife of Never Letting Go, it’s difficult when the characters are constantly in danger. It’s upsetting, violent, and the cliffhanger is gorge your own heart out bad (seriously, you should have the second book on hand) but it’s amazing and thought provoking and intense in a way that gives you ALL the feelings.

4 Stars

Review: Legend


Title: Legend (Legend #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Published: November 29th 2011 by Putnam Juvenile
Purchase: Book Depository | Amazon
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Legend was like a popcorn movie, entertaining and action packed but completely forgettable. Following the dystopia formula, it is a story set in a plague ridden, corrupt society following two kickass, strong, attractive characters.

June is tough. Immediately following the murder of her brother she goes on the hunt for his killer. She’s observant, calculating, defiant and good at masking her pain over her brother’s death. Day is daring, a bit flirty, determined and very caring towards the people he loves. They sound like characters I’d love but they’re so flat and boring, I felt little towards them. They’re physically strong, stealthy, intelligent and beautiful. It was eye roll worthy.

Their attraction and relationship progresses annoyingly quickly and while I liked the physical interactions (that sounds a bit pervy, doesn’t it?) between them, they just seem so meh. June and Day constantly journey through the poor sector, they have no home and there’s limited supplies they can transport. Aren’t their breaths supposed to be a little bad, their skin dry and hair a tangled mess? It was irritating and unrealistic every time the characters described each other as beautiful. Despite the terrible circumstances surrounding their relationship, no anger, hurt or betrayal is really portrayed. It made them seem like dolls or robots and their relationship felt superficial.

See, I appreciated the world Marie Lu creates, she doesn’t shy away from the violence or the decay of society. She created this visual scenery of decrepit buildings, spreading sickness and suffering people, the vast inequality between the rich and the poor and the unjust enforcement of laws but the perfection that is June and Day is so distracting from this.

Though the story is predictable and the conflict can be seen from miles away, Marie Lu definitely makes her characters suffer, surprisingly so at times. By the end of the book she tore their cardboard cut traits enough for me to consider reading the second book. Legend was entertaining if anything and if I didn’t think too much about it, I enjoyed it, but it was still very disappointing.

2 Stars