Patrick Ness. Oh man, where to start. I first read this trilogy this year – August in precise. I’ve heard so many people rave about this book and about Patrick Ness in the past and I figured it’s about time to start reading this. I basically fell in love with the title of the first book. I didn’t even do any research or anything about the series. All I knew was that it’s a trilogy and that the title is awesome.
I have tried to not include spoilers in this review, so anyone can read this review, even if you haven’t read the book(s).
Let’s start with the first book of the series, The Knife of Never Letting Go. The story begins with Todd, a boy who will soon become a man in his town, and the story is set in a foreign planet where people can hear other people’s thoughts and call it the Noise. The plot develops as Todd finds a place where he can’t hear any Noise and the story evolves to when he meets a girl, the only girl he has ever met and they embark upon a journey that will change their lives.
One of the most disliked things about the series is how many people dislike the writing style of the book. The story is told from Todd’s perspective, and because he’s quite uneducated, the narration is quite all over the place and even has several misspellings. At the beginning I was taken aback by this and I was totally bugged by it. But then I sort of got used to it and found that the story flows better through Todd’s point of view.
Apart from the narration, I loved the first book. I flew through the story, not just because the pacing was super quick and there was always something happening that will make your heart race faster, but also because it’s such an intriguing story. I love the world building. I love how this is sort of an alien setting but it’s not very sci-fi, it’s more of a fantasy. And unlike what I thought initially, in here the characters are not capable of reading other people’s minds, on the contrary it’s that the characters have the power to project their thoughts to the world so people can hear it. I love how the women don’t have that ability, and how that “power” is more developed and discussed in the later books and became a vital part to the story.
But most of all, I love, love, love the characters. Todd was a jerk to me at first. I thought he was a selfish boy who only thought about himself and hates most of everyone and everything he sees. But then as the story progresses you can really get to know him and really fall in love with him. I also love the other characters, even the antagonists. Patrick Ness can really shape up amazing villains and make the readers feel sort of confused on whether he’s a bad guy or a good guy. Basically, he writes about real people and not just fictional characters.
I love the character development in Todd throughout the series. It’s one of my favourite aspects in the series and I just want to strangle myself with the happiness of Patrick Ness’s writing on Todd. I also love Viola, she’s a very well-written character. And in my opinion, the relationship between these two are just adorable. I enjoy how Ness didn’t immediately make them in to that couple in the first book just because they were thrust into the same journey together – he actually makes them into friends first, and by the third book you can just see how much they care about each other, how they are basically just soul mates. It’s such a wonderful experience reading about their relationship.
The relationship between Todd and the Prentisses are also one of my favourites to read. I really liked Todd and Davy’s love/hate relationship, same goes with him and the Mayor. I sort of feel like Todd was a little like Harry from Harry Potter here, because you see how like Harry, Todd constantly unconsciously searches for a father figure in his life. After he lost Ben, he sort of takes the Mayor as his father figure and so does the Mayor take on Todd as his son. It’s such a complicated and interesting dynamic and I love it as well.
“War is like a monster,” he says, almost to himself. “War is the devil. It starts and it consumes and it grows and grows and grows.” He’s looking at me now. “And otherwise normal men become monsters, too.”
Continuing on to the rest of the books in the series just briefly without spoiling anyone, I just have to say how much more character development has happened. The middle book, The Ask and the Answer, is probably my least favourite book only because I generally just dislike middle books. I feel like they’re just fillers for the ending.
The third book however, which is titled Monsters of Men, is phenomenal. I think I really enjoy the plotline of the series overall, especially in the last book because it concerns a lot about war, but what I love most about the series is the characters. The main character Todd has become one of the best main characters I’ve read about in a series in a long time. He has his own strengths, he isn’t your typical smart guy but he’s also resourceful, and he is always passionate about the things he love. He shows so much courage and love, and at the same time he is also human, with his own weaknesses as well. And that is really what I love and enjoy most about the books. It’s an amazing series that leaves me sobbing like a baby (won’t tell you why but for those of you who have read it, you know that the last several chapters are the most depressing things you have probably read ever).
This series tackles a lot of themes that not many books mention, especially those regarding death, morality, doing what’s right. It’s such a deep and meaningful book filled with exciting twists and turns and characters that will break your heart. I regret not reading this series earlier and I am definitely excited to read more of Patrick Ness’s work.
I rated the first and third book 5 stars and the fourth book a 3 stars. Definitely recommend the series.