Kiss Her Goodbye

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

by Patrick Ness

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

I read a lot of books, somewhere in the neighborhood of a book a week. I read every book that I talk about, cover to cover. (I take naps while driving, try it today!) And if a book makes it onto this website it’s because I just HAD to share it with you because it had brilliant characters, or a cool plot twist, or was about an interesting time in history (or I have a crush on the writer — if Clive Owen ever writes a book look for it right here.) Occasionally I’ll read a book that knocks me over, thrills and excites me, and makes me sob.

Got one.

I got a copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go and I read it in two days — it would have been over one long night but I had to put it down and weep for a while in the middle. Imagine Huck Finn raised in a Stephen King wilderness where your every thought is naked and exposed, and the very birds and bees are part of the constant, ever present sub-vocal conversation. Todd, the young narrator (in fact, the youngest person in the world) knows no other life and even he knows it’s exhausting. Can you keep a secret when your thoughts are public property? Turns out you can, and there are lots of them to be guarded in Prentisstown, the sick little town Todd calls home. For one thing, where are all the women? Why does no one leave? And no one ever shows up? What’s over the hill? What’s wrong with these people? Todd’s companion on his journey of discovery is his dog Manchee, who starts as a joke and ends up owning my heart.

Before you pick up this book — and I am urging you to do so right away — be forewarned that this is part one of three, so don’t come whimpering to me like my poor husband asking where the second book is. (The Ask and The Answer: Chaos Walking: Book Two comes out in this country in the fall of ’09.)

The Knife of Never Letting Go has already won a slew of young adult fiction awards in England, so if you want to jump on board of the next Harry Potter /His Dark Materials juggernaut, read this one next. It’s that good.

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