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Earlier this week I talked about emotional depth in fiction. Well, when I wrote that post I had this book in mind: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

I’ve looked at this book many times, mostly because that’s one of the the best titles I’ve ever seen, but then the premise didn’t really interest me enough to get me to pick up the book. Huge mistake. But at least, since I waited so long, I can read all three books in the trilogy in a row. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the general premise: It’s about Todd, the last boy in Prentisstown, who is one month away from being a man in a village full of nothing but men. In his town everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a never-ending stream accurately labeled Noise, and animals can speak.

But Noise can lie, and when Todd and his dog, Manchee, stumble upon a break in the Noise, he learns he’s been lied to his entire life. Suddenly he’s on the run, leaving behind everyone and everything he ever knew, running towards a village he only just learned existed, with a girl. A girl, who can’t possibly be real, because all the women and girls died when the Noise germ was introduced.

As an army chases Todd across New World, Todd has to come to terms with the fact that everything he thought he knew was a lie, and there’s a lot more to becoming a man than just a number.

When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure I’d like it. The style is a little bit different, sort of stream of consciousness in places, and it took about a chapter before I was really into the book. But then I couldn’t put it down. The characters all feel very real – Patrick Ness nails the voice of an adolescent boy and girl, and Manchee was so dog-like I’m sure if dogs could talk in our world, they’d sound just like him.

"What's up, dog?"

“What’s up, dog?”

The pacing is pretty quick, and while I definitely got frustrated with Todd in places, at least I felt like he was driving the story, and not doing things because the author needed him to in order to fulfill a plot. I really liked the relationship that develops between Todd and the girl he meets. All too often I feel like YA books rush into tales of insta-love, but that’s not what happens here. There’s no romance, or at least, not really – their relationship is something much deeper. And the world building is superb.

I haven’t read any other books quite like this one. Excellent voice and writing, unique story and world, and unforgettable characters.

Just be warned. There are a few sad moments in this book. So sad. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ย But if you think you can handle it, I recommend diving right in. Even better – listen to the audio version narrated by Nick Podehl. He really brings it all to life.

How about you? What’s the most unique book you’ve read recently?