Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 336
The Knife of Never Letting Go is a 2008 young-adult, science fiction novel written by British-American author Patrick Ness. It is the first book published as a part of Ness’s Chaos Walking series, followed by The Ask and the Answer (2009), and Monsters of Men (2010). The novel is the author’s first attempt at writing children/teen/young adult fiction, and it has received great commercial success, critical acclaim, and numerous nominations and awards.
The story follows a twelve (almost thirteen) year-old boy named Todd Hewitt, who lives on a planet called New World, in Prentisstown—a town which is populated only by men. He’s been told that all women and most of the men have been killed in a war between the humans and The Spackles, who are the native inhabitants of New World. The Spackles have released a "Noise germ," which made it possible for everyone to hear each other’s thoughts, including the thoughts of animals. One day, Todd and his dog Manchee come across a girl named Viola Eade, and, thus, their adventures begin.
Many have argued that the only thing that categorizes The Knife of Never Letting Go as a young-adult novel is the age of the main protagonists. Other than that, it deals with many dark and mature themes such as slavery, racism, sexism, secrets, violence, and even death and dehumanization. Because of this, The Knife of Never Letting Go is considered a dystopian thriller as well.
The Knife of Never Letting Go gained a lot of positive reviews, especially for its exciting, innovative, and fast-paced narrative, and Ness was praised for creating multidimensional, likable, and, more often than not, relatable characters. However, some readers have argued that the plot was a bit confusing and predictable at times.
In 2011, Lionsgate Entertainment announced that they bought the rights to adapt the Chaos Walking series into a movie trilogy, starring Tom Holland as Todd Hewitt, Daisy Ridley as Viola Eade and Mads Mikkelsen as David Prentiss—the main antagonist of the novel.
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