Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I expect the books I read to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The Knife of Never Letting Go has the first two, but not the third. I understand that a series can benefit from a cliffhanger, but each book should be able to stand on its own. Think of The Hunger Games. It pulls its readers into its fictional world and leaves us wanting more, yet it is a complete story. The Knife of Never Letting Go comes close to doing that. If it had ended a little sooner it would have at least appeared to have a resolution, but it didn't.

That said, I loved most of the other aspects of this book.

The most fascinating idea in the novel is the introduction of something in this new world that gives women a great advantage over men in the battle of the sexes. How people react to this new gender difference ranges from the extreme reaction in Prentisstown to the no secrets relationship between Hildy and Tam in Farbranch. Every response seemed believable.

The relationship between Todd and Viola grew beautifully. They started out uncertain of each other. Viola wouldn't even speak with Todd when they first met. And Todd believed the fact that he was near Viola could possibly kill her. He felt guilty, but didn't act as if he would miss her. Their attachment grew stronger as they got to know each other and to depend on each other.

I also loved Todd's relationship with his dog, Manchee. In the world of this novel, animals can speak. They don't speak with the subtleties of a human mind, because they still think like animals. They're concern is focused primarily on the moment at hand, on eating and avoiding being eaten. But in his own beautiful, dog way Manchee speaks of love and loyalty. Manchee was my favorite character in the story.

I had trouble with the character of Aaron, who was so resilient he reminded me of Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. After awhile he became silly, but I felt the two Mr. Prentisses, both jr. and sr., made very interesting villains. I enjoyed the convoluted rational they had for their need to go after Todd.

I haven't read the other books in the series, but if they are like this one, they are worth reading. I would recommend this book to someone looking to read another YA series.

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