The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
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Summary form Goodreads:
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?
My thoughts, exposed? This is what I consider the ulitmate invasion of privacy. And I began imagining myself in such a situation. I felt a bit tensed just doing so which made the appeal of reading this book even stronger. What kind of a world did they live in? How did they cope? The answers to my questions blew me away. The world building is as every bit as superb as what many bloggers say it is. The history and geography of the place is finely constructed that one would believe that such a world is possible. Despite the thickness of this book I managed to finish it in a shorter time than I expected given my slow reading pace. The plot is intense. It hardly gives you time to breathe. In fact the whole experience of reading the book seemed like a breathing excercise for me. Danger is present (inhale), danger has passed/has been evaded (exhale). And its been like that all through the book. An alternate between danger and safety that left me gasping for air in the end.
The characters are fleshed out nicely as well. I believe Patrick Ness made his characters to the extremes. Protagonists that you would emphatize and root for till the end and antagonists that would make you loathe them to pieces. Todd is perhaps the most real character I've come across so far. Perhaps it's because we have access to his thoughts, which Patrick Ness was able to execute brilliantly. Viola doesn't pale in comparison to Todd despite the fact that she doesn't have any Noise. I can feel every bit of her emotion just the same. Even Manchee the dog evoked so much emotion from me. As for the villians, to avoid spoiling your reading experience in any way, all I can say is they really got under my skin.
This is a book that doesn't hold back. It pulls out all the stops. After reading this book I felt like I ran a 1oo meter dash marathon. I was exhausted, but it was the satisfying kind of exhaustion. And as the mark of any truly amazing series, yes I am compelled to get the rest of trilogy.