The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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The basics

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Author:

Series: Chaos Walking #1

- The Knife of Never Letting Go (May 2008)
- The Ask and the Answer (May 2009)
- Monsters of Men (May 2010)

Add it: Goodreads

Goodreads Summary:

Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

in short

Todd can hear people’s thoughts. He discovers a girl whose thoughts he can’t hear, and his fellow villagers – all of them being men – chase him across the countryside. Todd discovers that people can’t hear women’s thoughts, and that’s what caused the men of Prentisstown to kill all the women – they didn’t like not knowing what women were thinking. Mayor Prentiss is really horrible, obviously. It’s revealed that Prentisstown has been shunned by the other towns and settlements due to the horrible crimes that happened there. Todd realises that once a boy in Prentisstown turns thirteen, he becomes a man by killing an older male. That’s why this crazy guy called Aaron has been chasing him and Viola so persitently. Viola kills Aaron for Todd, and Davy Prentiss, the mayor’s son, shoots Viola. Todd carries Viola to their destination, Haven, only to find Mayor Prentiss already there, and Haven having surrendered.
Oh, and Manchee dies and my life is ruined.

what went down

  • Todd Hewitt lives in Prentisstown, where all the men can hear each other’s thoughts, which they call the Noise. There are no women. Todd is at the swap with Manchee, his dog, and they are attacked by Prentisstown’s priest, Aaron. Todd discovers that there is a place in the swamp where there is silence.
  • Todd runs home to tell his parents, Ben and Cillian, and is told that he has to leave Prentisstown because the town is going to come after him. Todd leaves with Manchee, a hunting knife, and Todd’s dead mother’s diary.
  • Aaron finds Todd when he’s on his way out of town and tries to attack him again, but a crocodile attacks Aaron and Todd gets away.
  • Todd finds a girl near the swamp, who is the cause of the silence. Aaron finds them again, but Todd fights him off. The girl takes Todd and Manchee to her spaceship, which crash landed on the planet, which is revealed to be New World.
  • The girl hears Todd’s thoughts and panics. She runs, almost straight into Aaron and the Prentisstown gang who are following them. Todd saves her. They cross a bridge, which they then burn so that the people following them can’t get across. The girl tells Todd that her name is Viola.
  • They come across a woman called Hildy, and they spend the night at her and her husband Tam’s house. Hildy tells Todd that the Noise doesn’t affect women. Todd is confused because he had been told that the Noise killed his mother.
  • Hildy takes Todd, Viola, and Manchee to a town called Farbranch. Viola wants to contact people on the main spaceship. No one likes Todd because he’s from Prentisstown. That night, the Prentisstown folk, who are now an army, burn Farbranch to the ground. Todd, Viola, and Manchee escape and head towards Haven, because there’s apparently a cure for the Noise there.
  • Davy Prentiss, the mayor’s son, finds Todd and co. Todd tries to kill him, but in the end he just ties him up.
  • Todd comes across a Spackle and kills it, but he quickly becomes upset by the fact that the alien thing is bleeding so much. Bless him.
  • Aaron turns up AGAIN, because the guy just won’t die. He stabs Todd, and kidnaps Viola. Luckily, the knife didn’t cut very deep because Todd’s mother’s diary saved him. The wound does, however, get infected. He’s found by a couple called Wolf and Jane. They give him food and medical treatment, but then Todd leaves when it’s revealed that he’s from Prentisstown.
  • Todd rescues Viola from Aaron, and Aaron chases them. They get on a boat, but Aaron is catching up so MANCHEE JUMPS ON AARON AND STARTS BITING HIM AND AARON KILLS MANCHEE AND EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE.
  • Todd, having collapsed due to the infection, wakes up some time later to see that he’s been treated by someone called Dr. Snow. Todd leaves the house, and sees Ben, one of his fathers.
  • Ben tells Todd about how the Noise was already a thing on New World before the humans arrived. He also talks about how the men in Prentisstown killed all the women because they didn’t like not knowing what the women were thinking. The rest of the settlers on this new planet rejected and banished Prentisstown, because they did not agree with its customs.
  • Ben, Todd, and Viola are on their way to Haven again.¬†Davy Prentiss¬†finds them, and Ben distracts him to they can get away. Todd and Viola go into a cavern, and are cornered by Aaron. Yes, he is still alive.
  • It turns out that the boys in Prentisstown become men at thirteen by killing an older boy. Mayor Prentiss chose Aaron as Todd’s kill. Aaron has been led to believe that he will become a Saint when Todd kills him. Todd is unable to kill Aaron, even during a fight. Viola whacks Aaron over the head, and then stabs him in the neck. Aaron finally dies.

how did it end?

Davy Prentiss shows up and shoots Viola. Todd punches Davy so that he falls off the saddle and gets tangled up in the stirrups of his horse. The horse runs away, dragging Davy with him. Todd carries Viola to Haven to find help. Mayor Prentiss shows up, and announces that he is now the President of New World, and that Haven has surrendered due to the rumours of the size of Prentisstown’s army. Todd realises that he can’t hear any Noise coming from Mayor Prentiss any more.

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