Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

I really don’t know what propelled me to take this book home and read it. I’d heard if it somewhere, sure, but where I wouldn’t know. What I do know is Mr. Ness’ books are wildly popular it seems, and so I decided to give one a whirl. I was not disappointed.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in The Chaos Walking trilogy. It also is a little under 500 pages long. But don’t let the size scare you- you’ll fly through this book in no time. In fact, I read it in one sitting, and stayed up until 2 A.M to finish it. I don’t think I’ve stayed up until 2 A.M in months, honestly, and I regret nothing about it.

The first thing you’ll notice is precisely the thing that blows me away about the writing. Our main character is a 12-year-old uneducated boy living in a town where there is Noise; you can hear everyone’s thoughts and they can hear yours. That alone is a crazy premise. And since he is 12 and uneducated, you can bet his spelling isn’t great either. So right away, you are immersed into this boy’s mind, not just from what he tells you, but HOW he tells you. You are led to believe what he believes, whether those things are true, or not. Brilliant.

The Knife of Never Letting Go certainly won’t let you go either. With its fantastic writing, thrilling story and memorable characters, you’ll be vying for the rest of the trilogy. There were even a few comedic things thrown in there, although this is by no means a comedic novel. (Ever wonder what a sheep thinks? You’ll find out) My only reservation is that I wouldn’t recommend it to young teens, not only because of its length but because of the amount of violence and language that comes with it. But you need that for the story and the point of the story. I give this novel 4/5 stars.

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone- first time reader discussion!

Friends, the day has come. I have finally (FINALLY!) read the first Harry Potter book. I know, I know. It’s insane. Hold your tears and applause until the end please, we have much to discuss.

In case there are other people reading this who like me (well, like the previous me) have not yet dipped their toes into the wizarding world of Harry Potter, I’m going to keep this discussion spoiler-free and to the book.

The Characters
I’ve seen several of the Harry Potter movies over the years. I knew Ron was the redhead, Hermione was played by Emma Watson, Harry Potter by Daniel Radcliffe. I knew that Voldemort was not someone to invite to your child’s birthday party, no matter how cool of a talent show he might be able to put on. There are still some Harry Potter characters I have yet to meet, though- a coworker was trying to show me a little girl who apparently looks exactly like a younger version of Luna Lovegood and until she begged me to look at a photo I had no idea who she was talking about.

This basic knowledge was enough to carry me into the book. I remember loving Hermione in the movies, but I was really rooting for her in the book. She’s “goals” really, wicked smart, friendly, and loyal to her friends. And of course there’s Harry, who you can’t help but pity as he lives in a cupboard. I’m incredibly thankful my parents are not the Dursleys and I promise my future children will not be named Dudley. Sorry guys, it’s just not happening. Yes, I know it’s a FANTASTIC name. (And if your real name is Dudley then I apologize for Dudley Dursley’s correlation to you. You are much cooler than he!)

Reading the book also instilled in me a love for both Hagrid and Dumbledore. I just love how each and every character in this book is distinct and memorable; there are no characters that are just carbon copies of one another and totally useless to the plot of the story.

The Plot
Great plot twist. Seriously, Ms. Rowling, that came out of nowhere. I feel almost foolish for not expecting it, but I was so enthralled with the world of the book that it just never occurred to me that you might be tricky and pull something on me.

As for the rest of the plot, the world unfolded so nicely. You can almost picture the map of Hogwarts in your head; you know why you shouldn’t have a picnic on the third floor. Every plot point helped sew this world together, whether characters played Quidditch, did some exploring, or feasted in the dining hall. (Speaking of Quidditch, I am much wishing my college had a Quidditch team. My friend is going to try out for hers, and given I didn’t know Quidditch, sans levitating brooms of course, was an actual, playable sport nowadays.)

HP #1 is the first juvenile/children ‘s book I’ve read since, well, I was a child. At first, the language took a little getting used to (younger audience means slightly less difficult sentences) but there is absolutely no reason a teenager or adult can’t enjoy a book like Harry Potter. I’ve heard some shaming of people who read YA or kid’s lit, and it’s sickening. (“Blah blah doesn’t read, they just read comics and Harry Potter!”) I’m sure reading Pride and Prejudice would expand your vocabulary and challenge your mind, but reading shouldn’t be about challenging yourself. Reading can be and should be FUN. Why don’t all kids like to read? Perhaps because they are being taught it isn’t fun. Comics and graphic novels ARE reading. If you want to read YA or Harry Potter, go right ahead. Don’t let people tell you what you like to read doesn’t matter or is worthless. It all counts for something, and you can be incredibly proud of that.

In closing, when did you first read Harry Potter, if at all? Did you read the books before the movies? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

Follow me @books_palettes for sneak peeks, musings, and more! My avatar image is from “Jen Loves Teaching.”