The Knife of Never Letting Go


Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Author: Patrick Ness

Series: Chaos Walking, #1

Publisher: Walker Books

Release Date: May 5th 2008


Five Stars

A new edition of the award-winning first novel in the Chaos Walking trilogy, with a bonus short story, The New World.

Imagine you’re the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And they can hear everything you think. Imagine you don’t fit in with their plans…Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run…

The new edition of this unflinching novel about fear, flight and the terrifying path of self-discovery features the short story, The New World. Set before the events of The Knife of Never Letting Go, it is the story of Viola’s dramatic journey to the New World.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.
About anything.
“Need a poo, Todd.”
“Shutup, Manchee.”
“Poo. Poo, Todd.”
“I said shut it.”

Even before I picked up my first Patrick Ness book at the end of last year I’d heard nothing but amazing things about the Chaos Walking trilogy. Everyone seemed to love it so it was impossible to not have my expectations raised sky high. Luckily The Knife of Never Letting Go, as well as the two following books, more than lived up to my expectations.

Like with all the other Patrick Ness books I’ve read the best thing about this book is going into it blind. The blurb doesn’t give much away and I’ll try not to give much away in my review either because my favourite part of this book, this whole series actually, was going in and not knowing where the story would take me and I don’t want to take that experience away from anyone who has yet to pick up the Chaos Walking series.

Todd is the last boy in Prentisstown, a place where all the women have long since died from the virus which gave the men Noise and allowed others to hear their thoughts. Todd is a month away from his thirteenth birthday and once he reaches it he will finally become a man in the eyes of the town. However there are secrets being kept in Prentisstown and after Todd finds a space where there is no Noise, only silence, his guardians finally send him away, on the run from Prentisstown and the Mayor himself.

“As long as I hold it as long as I use it, the knife lives, lives in order to take life, but it has to be commanded, it has to have me to tell it to kill, and it wants to, it wants to plunge and thrust and cut and stab and gouge, but I have to want it to as well, my will has to join with its will.
I’m the one who allows it and I’m the one responsible.”

Todd runs with his dog, told to go to the next settlement where he will find answers, but the Mayor and his people aren’t content Todd get away. For some reason they need him, need him to become a man, before they can launch their grand plan.

As Todd reaches the next settlement and then flees further he starts to cover the secrets Prentisstown have been keeping; their dark history, the truth behind the Noise and the reason the rest of the settle despise the mention of Prentisstown. However the Mayor and his army are close behind Todd, and the insane preacher Aaron is even closer on his trial. He wants something Todd has and is determined to get it no matter what.

…The Characters

“I am Todd Hewitt, I think to myself with my eyes closed. I am twelve years and twelve months old. I live in Prentisstown on New World. I will be a man in one month’s time exactly.”

Todd is still one month from becoming a man and becoming a man is all he wants. As the youngest person in Prentisstown he has no friends; boys don’t continue to play with boys once they become men. Even after he goes on the run, when he is forced from his home and faces losing everything he knows, he still counts down the days until his thirteenth birthday and the day he finally becomes a man.

The journey Todd goes through in this book is a brilliant one. He has been blind to the truth of Prentisstown as someone who grew up there and has only ever been taught their version of events. However as Todd travels through the settlements, struggling to stay one step ahead of the army and struggling to hide who he is from fellow settlers, he starts to learn more about the world he lives in and how what he believes may not be the truest side of the story.

“Noise ain’t Truth, Noise is what men want to be true, and there’s a difference twixt those two things so big that it could ruddy well kill you if you don’t watch out.”

The Noise is such a huge aspect to all the characters. The men of Prentisstown have no secrets with all their thoughts on display for everyone to hear and all the women are long dead, killed by the virus that gave the men Noise. It was really interesting, as most of the story is told from Todd’s POV, seeing not only his thoughts but also the thoughts of the other men as Todd reads the Noise surrounding them.

There are plenty of other characters who play a large part in this story, all of them with their different motivations and different ideas on what happened all those years ago during the war and later in Prentisstown. Ben and Cillian, Todd’s guardians, play a large part in this first book although they are not seen after the first few chapters. For the most part Todd makes his own way and it makes his development all the more powerful as he makes most of the decisions for himself.

…The Setting

“I mean, it’s not that it’s not Noisy here. Sure it is, there’s no escaping Noise, not nowhere at all, but it’s quieter than the town. The loud is a different kind of loud, because swamp loud is just curiosity, creachers figuring out who you are and if yer a threat. Whereas the town knows all about you already and wants to know more and wants to beat you with what it knows till how can you have any of yerself left at all?”

The world building in this book, in the whole series actually, is in a league of its own because Patrick Ness has literally created a whole world. We don’t stay in Prentisstown for long, instead we follow Todd as he travels through the settlements learning so much about the culture, the people and the new world. There are thirteen months to a year and a whole new language to get used to, as well as the language of the Noise itself, but it’s all wonderfully written. There are still things that are held back; the truth about Prentisstown isn’t revealed until close to the end, and there is a lot about the original settlers which is only hinted at, but for the most part the world building is powerfully written and wonderfully developed for a first book in the series.

I have already finished this trilogy, I flew through all three books while on holiday because the series is so addictive. As soon as one book ended I was diving straight into the next one to find out what would happen next. I can see now, not only why so many people are raving about the Chaos Walking trilogy, but also why Patrick Ness is such an acclaimed author.

What did you think of The Knife of Never Letting Go? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

58 thoughts on “The Knife of Never Letting Go

  1. I’m soooo happy to see that you loved this book! (And the whole trilogy!) 😀 They are some of my all time favourite books and my all time favourite trilogy. Same as you, when I started reading the books I simply flew through them. I think I read the third one in two days (which is insane for me since it’s really long).
    I find the whole world that Patrick Ness has created in these books simply fascinating. And the concept of the Noise is unlike anything I have ever encountered. It was very interesting and I loved the way the Noise was portrayed in the books, with the different font and all of that.
    Amazing review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s definitely an amazing book (and an amazing trilogy!) I can certainly see why it’s your all-time favourite because it’s become one of mine as well.
      Yeah I flew through the last book, I didn’t even realise how long it was because I was just desperate to read more and more quicker and quicker. 😀
      Oh his world building is beyond amazing. In fantasy books that’s one of my favourite parts of the story and in the Chaos Walking series it’s just beyond compare. I did like that the Noise wasn’t complete and well structured sentences like you can find in books that feature mind reading, it felt more like actual thoughts you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review, Beth! 🙂 I’m adding this to my TBR right now. And you finished all of them while on vacation. Wow! That’s how I know these are addicting. I still need to read a Ness book. I was thinking of starting with A Monster Calls, but I’m thinking I’ll start here. Your reviews always make me want to read the books you love. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Jill, it’s an amazing book and an amazing series so I really hope you enjoy it.
      Yeah I managed to find a fair bit of time for reading while I was away but honestly these books are so addictive any spare second I had I was getting out my Kindle, even if it was just to read another paragraph!
      A Monster Calls is brilliant as well, honestly I don’t think you can go wrong with whatever Patrick Ness book you choose to start off with but the Chaos Walking trilogy has become my favourite of his books. I really hope you love this series as much as I did! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, oh it’s a brilliant series isn’t it? I am definitely going to be re-reading it myself (probably not until next year but still). Patrick Ness has become one of my favourite authors as well, anything he writes is going to go straight to the top of my to-read and to-buy lists! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, I am so glad you enjoyed this book, and the whole series! 🙂 I haven’t given this a try yet, mainly because I am a bit scared of not getting used to the whole other language – especially since English isn’t my mother tongue, I’m scared it might be a bit harder to get into the story. Did you find yourself a bit slowed down by this, or not? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie! The whole series is amazing and I do think you’ll really love it. I wouldn’t be put off by the new language because honestly it’s not that different or even hard to understand. I wasn’t slowed down by it at all. In fact a few times I read past it without realising, especially once I started really getting into the story. It’s not that much different from English at all, just a few spellings/words here and there that are easy to pick up on! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome review, Beth! Glad to hear you enjoyed this series so much – I’m so happy you did! They’re incredible books and I totally agree with what you’ve said in this review and the key points you’ve picked out. I thought the development in all of the books was top notch and the depth of each of the main characters was something that really stood out about this series. 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Sammie! Yeah it was an amazing series, I honestly can’t remember the last time I got through a series of books this quickly! 😀
      That’s good, and I found the development definitely improved as the series went on. The way the main characters changed throughout was so wonderfully written and it felt so real and true to who they were as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem, Beth! Ah man it’s the sort of series that I wish I could read all over again for the first time. I’ve not read a series that made me feel so deeply for such a long time! I’m so glad you enjoyed them as much as I did. 🙂 Definitely – I totally agree. I think it’s so hard to write realistic development over quite a long period while staying true to the characters involved but Ness is a master. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know the feeling, now I’ve finished I wish I could read it all over again for the first time. It was just such a brilliant experience reading these books for the first time, I want to relive it all over again!
        Ness has gone straight to the top of my auto-buy, auto-read list. Every book he’s released I’ve loved and I know I’ll love anything else he releases as well! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. my friend has been raving about this series for ages but i haven’t get on them yet, aha! my first Ness’ book is A Monster Calls and I totally fell in love. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is great af too!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one (and the rest of the series). From every review I’ve read about books by Patrick Ness I’ve noticed the consistent point that his world building is incredible which I love and can’t wait to experience for myself when I do pick up this series (as well as the rest of his books). I need to try to move them up my TBR since I impulse bought them forever ago haha. Great review as always, Beth! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it’s such an amazing book Melissa, and an amazing series as well! 😀 Yeah that’s something I’ve picked up on as well; his stories and characters are great don’t get me wrong but his world building is in a whole league of its own. I think you’ll really love this series. There aren’t really enough words to describe how much I loved all three of the Chaos Walking books, it’s just an unforgettable series.
      Definitely, I can’t wait to see what you think of them!
      And thanks Melissa! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I’ll end up really loving it too. I’ve heard it also has to do with aliens (not sure if that’s true since I haven’t read them) which I find interesting and I can’t wait to see what he does with that. I also like how he writes the main character’s voice – use of dialects in books has always been something that stands out for me. Hopefully I’ll be able to get around to them before the year is over, if not the beginning of next year. You’re welcome, Beth! 😊♥

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s definitely a sci-fi book but there are elements of the dystopian and fantasy genres as well. It’s kind of a mish mash; there are aliens though! 🙂
        Oh I’ve loved all of Patrick Ness’s main character. They all have such individual voices and are all completely different characters, really well written and developed throughout as well.
        That’s all right, I can’t wait to see what you think when you get around to this series! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s awesome! I love when books cross genre lines like that. Especially with dystopians.
        I can’t wait to pick up one of his books for myself and experience his main characters. I definitely need to squeeze A Monster Calls into this month. I’m thinking about reading it before I pick of The Shining. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I almost feel like there needs to be a whole new genre created just for Patrick Ness books, they never seem to stay in one and while it makes for a really amazing story it makes it hard to describe to people what the books are about.
        I hope you love A Monster Calls, I can’t wait to see your review for that one! Ohh, is The Shinning going to be your Halloween read then? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. From what I hear about his books it seems that way. I hope I end up loving it too. From the reviews I’ve read and the movie trailer I have a feeling I will. Yep! I wanted a really spooky read for Halloween so I decided it would be the perfect time to finally read a Stephen King book. That and it was recommended too me. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      6. If you asked me to describe any of his other books I would give you a mixture of different genres I felt they could fit in. The trailer looks amazing doesn’t it? A Monster Calls is going to be one film I feel I’d need to see on the big screen just to get the proper experience of seeing it.
        I’ve never read a Stephen King book, I’ve seen one of the movies but never picked up the books. My sister has though. Funny story after reading two of them (I forget which two) she had nightmares one night and had to ask my mum at about 2am to move the books out of her room because the covers were freaking her out! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      7. It really does. And I’ve seen a few authors talking about how incredible it was on twitter so I’m getting excited. I’m definitely going to try to see it in theaters.
        😂 That sounds like something I would do. I was actually looking at the cover for one of the ones I have last night and realized a creepy person is on the cover and so I turned it over. But yeah I’ve never read one of his books before either. So far The Shining is pretty good but kind of slow. I haven’t gotten to the creepy parts yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Oh now I’m even more excited to see it than I was before! I haven’t seen any reviews for it yet but the trailers look just AMAZING!
        I think the best part was this was around two in the morning so my mum was still half asleep and moved the books before fully realising what my sister has asked her. It is just a funny story now. She loves horror films and books but always gets scared after them. Hope it gets better soon then, and I hope the scary parts aren’t too scary! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      9. They really do. I can’t wait to see the movie. 😊
        That’s great! 😂
        I feel like we’ve all had those moments. It’s never happened to me with a book but my sister had this poster that freaked me out and one night I made my mom cover it with a blanket lol.
        I’m the same way.
        And I think I’ve hit a dreaded reading slump because I’m only 40 pages in and haven’t picked it back up in two days. I can’t find anything I want to read. 😢

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Neither can I, I only hope it’s as amazing as we both seem to think it is right now! 🙂
        See I can’t think of anything that freaked me out that badly that I needed it covered. I mean there’s probably something but at the moment my mind is blank to think of anything.
        Oh no! I would suggest maybe trying a different genre, or even re-reading old favourites, that normally helps me a little when I hit a slump! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      11. I hope so too!
        That’s what I’m doing. I actually impulse started a book called Hello Me, It’s You last night and am half way through it. It’s so good and written with real life letters. Different from what I normally read but good different. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Alex! It is a fantastic series and one I’d highly recommend as well, also if you loved More Than This (which if in remembering correctly is the knew of his you’ve read right?) then you’ll love all the Chaos Walking books! All three have everything I’ve come to expect from a Patrick Ness book; amazing stories, amazing characters, and beyond amazing world building! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. If you’re looking to start a Patrick Ness book then honestly this is the best one you can choose. It’s my favourite of his and just an amazing trilogy so I’d highly recommend it!
      I’m glad my review convinced you. I hope you love this book as much as I did. Thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This book has been sitting on my TBR list FOREVER. Your review has definitely motivated me to bump it up a few slots, as it seems different from what I typically read (fantasy & contemporary), and I think I could use something different in the near future. Hopefully, I’ll get to it soon. Wonderful review, Beth – I love how you offered an in-depth analysis for the setting and main character, as it helped me imagine the great world-building that must have taken place with this book. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was on my to-read list for a while and now I’ve finished all three books I’m kicking myself for not having started it sooner; it is such an amazing trilogy! And definitely unique as well so if you’re looking to branch out I’d recommend picking up these books, you won’t regret it! 😀
      Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed my review, and yeah there was so much I wanted to say about the characters and the world but resisted because of spoilers. The world building alone in this book is like nothing I’ve read before, it’s so in depth! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.