I reviewed the short story prequel to the Chaos Walking series back in January, after I picked The New World up as a freebie. As I enjoyed that I decided I'd take a look at the series and picked Book 1, The Knife of Never Letting Go, up from the library.
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown, just a month away from turning 13 and becoming a man. Prentisstown is a place where there are no women, and everyone can hear exactly what everyone else is thinking because they live in a state of perpetual Noise. Todd is even able to talk with his dog. What Todd doesn't know is that, despite being able to hear their thoughts, the men of the town are keeping secrets from him. These secrets force him to go on the run to try and save his life and that of Viola, the first girl he has ever met.
I'm a bit old to be the young adult target audience but it is still a very good book. It throws up some interesting ideas, like what it would be like to live in a world where there was very little privacy, with every thought overheard by others. It's a fast paced book and it's very easy to warm to Todd and his faithful dog Manchee. There is a lot of suspense as the reader wonders why Todd is being hunted and what the great secrets are that unite the men of Prentisstown. Unlike The New World Viola takes more of a back seat, with the story told from Todd's viewpoint. The way it is written, with almost phonetic spellings and a very colloquial style, gives a real feel for this young man. The story ends with a massive revelation that is obviously going to lead perfectly into the next book in the series.
This looks like it is shaping up to be something of an epic, Todd and Viola travelling through foreign lands, encountering strange creatures like the Things and the Spackles, trying to battle evil, and I'm certainly planning on reading Book 2, The Ask and The Answer.
Format: Paperback, from the library
My Rating: 4*