The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This is tough because this book was on my radar for a long time and I was very excited to finally get around to buying it...and to reading it. But I didn’t love it. I kind of liked it...but didn’t like it.

The issue I have is the voice just never registered with me. “Voice” from a writer’s perspective is literally how they tell the story, what words they use..the tone...the phrasing...etc. It’s also how the characters speak and interact.

In this particular book, voice is really everything and all things in the story. The word choices are unique and purposefully spelled a certain way to reflect a future dialect and accent.

And then there is the “Noise”. I get the concept of the “Noise” and it is used well in the book, meaning I believe Mr. Ness described his concept of “Noise” quite well and used it to great effect to push the story. Basically “Noise” in this story means most (but not all...) of the characters can hear and almost visualize or feel everyone else’s thoughts, even with colors, force, and impact. So the whole world is full of “Noise” and each person has to exist where they can read others’ thoughts, plus know that others’ can read their thoughts. So a person can try to suppress certain thoughts, and thus “hide” things in their own “Noise”. However everyone is doing this so you have to decipher the constant barrage of “Noise” you are receiving from everywhere. Animals have “Noise” as well--so people can talk to their dogs...which is kind of awesome.

So it’s all a little crazy, as you can imagine. In fact, there are a few pages where Mr. Ness goes so far as to show us what “Noise “ looks like to his characters by filling pages of the book with bold text in a variety of fonts in a scribbled, wild, non-linear format. This is really cool and drives home the point of what it means to be subjected to “Noise” all the time, every day, always and forever.

All this being said, I didn’t love the book. The voice--a combination of the writing style, character word choice, and this concept of “Noise”--just didn’t connect with me. My recommendation on this one is to not listen to me! No, really--read other reviews on Amazon, check around for articles and explanations of the book from Mr. Ness himself and see if a different outlook on this one sparks your interest.

What’s it all about? The characters live in a future type society that’s supposed to be a peaceful utopia but of course humans ruin this by being...human. Then “Noise” takes over and everything is chaos. The lead characters are forced on the run and their only hope is to see what else is out there...

The Knife of Never Letting Go is appropriate for young high schoolers and up, particularly those who are interested in future/dystopian/survival type books and who are always hoping for something with a completely unusual and unique voice. Perhaps this book will grab the same way that it just didn’t reach me.

Happy Reading!