Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats
Monday, November 22, 2010
"The Knife of Never Letting Go" by Patrick Ness
This book doesn't have an effing ending and I'm not very happy about it. I mean, sure, it has a final page, and the last sentence even ends with a period, but it's not a ruddy ending. Patrick Ness has unapologetically dragged me into his trilogy and now I couldn't get out even if I wanted to.
The nice thing is that I don't want to. This is not the sort of book where I only have to read the sequels. No, I want to keep reading. I want to know what happens to Todd Hewitt. It doesn't hurt that I can't even imagine what might possibly be coming next.
But I can tell you a little bit about what came before. Todd Hewitt is just one month shy of his thirteenth birthday, which means manhood in the community of Prentisstown. Life may not be exactly as Todd wishes it--he's an orphan, and he's been stuck with a talking dog instead of getting his fissionbike fixed--but he feels secure in what he has known all his life on New World. And what he knows, above all else, is that a germ was responsible for killing all of the women in town, leaving the men awash in each others' Noise--the constant mental barrage of thoughts every resident transmits involuntarily.
Of course it's not long before everything Todd has ever known is turned on its head. He is forced into a journey--one that is metaphorical as well as physical--that opens his eyes along with his mind. His path is beset by tension and danger and askings and answers that cause Todd to mature in a way that he never would have, had he remained at home in his snug cocoon of ignorance.
Too bad the book kind of sounds like it sucks when I describe it. It really doesn't, at all. I promise. Well, except for the non-ending.
Don't let the presence of a talking dog put you off. Manchee is very different from Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain, but he's just as appealing. Either you will love him or you are not human. I have it on good authority that even people who don't like dogs (gasp! there really is such a thing) love Manchee. He made me laugh from the very first time he said, "Need a poo, Todd." (Though, of all the New World animals, my favorites were the crickets. I can hear real ones outside my open window as I type, and I giggle because now I know what they're saying.)
Even though the ending of this book just begs me to read The Ask and the Answer right away, I refuse to be manipulated. I'm reading something else first. But I will read the sequels soon. I have heard that the second book ends very much like the first (in that it doesn't), but surely the third book will end with some semblance of finality. If it doesn't, watch out. My wrath will know no bounds.