Silence & A Talking Dog

Silence & A Talking Dog

The Knife of Never Letting Go

by Patrick Ness

Genre: YA Dystopian
Published: October 18th 2010
by Candlewick Press




Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks.

Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World?


I’ll admit it front out – I’m a tad disappointed with this. Not because it is poorly written – because it’s certainly not – but because all of the glowing reviews of my trusted friends and fellow bloggers led me to believe this was something a bit more noteworthy than it actually was.

The setting of the story is extremely appealing, and what intrigued me in the first place. Set in a time where space colonization became a reality, many people were excited to escape the overcrowded and polluted “Old World” to travel to the “New World.” However, this new planet has something in its air that allows everyone to hear each others’ thoughts.

Our story follows 13-year-old Todd, who, on a walk with his dog, discovers a spot on this new planet that is absolutely silent. However, the government is after him for this discovery, and he is forced to flee across the planet, discovering and unraveling layers upon layers of secrets and lies about his home.

The story is filled with action, mystery and a surprising absence of romance. However, I found it to be a bit predictable. The “twists” and revelations brought up about Todd’s home View Spoiler » were ones I predicted far in advance; and it was frustrating for me to see how oblivious he was to them.

One of my favorite aspects of the story was the writing style. The people on this planet are too busy cultivating to educate their children, and that reflects in Todd’s speech. Words are purposely misspelled (“affecshun” for affection for example) and there is incorrect grammar (“ain’t” instead of “isn’t”), and while this certainly had the potential to annoy some readers, I found it to be an intelligent choice on Ness’ part.

If anything, Todd and Manchee were intriguing characters and the side characters – the villains especially – were solid as well; and I’m curious as to what Ness has planned for the sequel.


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