I had the day off for the first time in a long time today, so I spent the past 2 hours watching booktube videos and reading book reviews, which reminded me that I haven’t been on here in a while. Now that I’m finally done with grad school, I don’t really have an excuse any longer, except for but Summer Reading (capitalized) is going on at the library and so I’ve been living at work and I’m so so busy! And but I still have projects and deadlines to meet and job applications are time-consuming and what about the actual reading of books?! I can come up with excuses for anything. So there’s nothing to do but shove them aside and just write. Type. Whatever.
Today’s featured book: The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness (the guy who wrote that book that just got made into a movie… is getting made into a movie? I follow him on Twitter and he seems pretty cool)
Format I consumed it in: Audiobook. This is important, because apparently, in the print/e-book versions, there are misspellings everywhere to reflect the narrator’s lack of proper education. I didn’t know that until I was done, since I was only listening. I did get to hear it read in what, to me, sounded like a stereotypical country accent, though.
The premise: Todd Hewitt(? See, the problem with listening to a book is that you have no idea how characters’ names are spelled) is a 12-year-old boy living in Prentisstown, a small settlement on a different planet whose population consists of 100+ men. There are no women around because the women were wiped out during a plague that left all the men alive, but stuck with an affliction called the “Noise”, which makes all their thoughts visible/audible to those around them. There is no privacy, and yet there are still shady goings-on around town (the mayor, Prentiss, holds weird cult gatherings in his house). One day, Todd stumbles upon a swamp on the outskirts of town that throws him for a loop because it’s completely silent. Right after this discovery, he is attacked by Aaron, the town preacher, who reminds me of Father Knoth from Outlast 2. He heads home through the town, trying to suppress his thoughts about the Silence, but later on that day, the mayor’s son, Mr. Prentiss Jr. (*snort*), the town sheriff, pays Todd and his adoptive parents, Ben and Cillian, a visit. Then things REALLY go downhill.
My thoughts: I did not like this book. In fact, I hated it for the first 5 or so discs. I moaned and groaned my way through those 5+ hours and couldn’t stop hearing “Tooodd Heeewitt” and “bwoooyyy” in those drawn-out southern syllables when I was doing other things. Don’t get me wrong– I thought the reader did a good job. The accent was not the problem. I just couldn’t stand Todd as a character. At first, I told myself, He’s 12! Give him a break! But Lyra from The Golden Compass was 12, too, and she wasn’t an idiot like Todd is.
Later on, our “hero” [SPOILERS] runs into a girl named Viola, whose scouting ship has crash-landed on the planet. She informs him that the 13-month calendar Prentisstown has been using is “wrong” and, according to the real calendar, he’s actually already past 14. I was reading another book, The Dragonbone Chair, by Tad Williams, at the same time, and the protagonist in there is also 14. He, like Todd, is obnoxious in that 14-year-old boy way, but he’s nowhere near as annoying as Todd. He listens and he learns. That was actually my main gripe with this character: I just couldn’t get over how he didn’t seem to learn from his mistakes. I felt horrible for Viola, who is obviously the intelligent one out of the two of them– she had to deal with his idiocy for the entire journey! I managed to hate-read (hate-listen?) my way through disc 6, which is when [BIG SPOILER] Todd gets stabbed, after which he is suddenly noticeably (and probably intentionally, on the author’s part) less annoying! I don’t think I should have to wait for the protagonist to get stabbed 3/5 of the way through the book before I can finally stomach the story without wanting to throw the case out the window.
Does this mean I am not going to be reading the sequel? Unfortunately, book 1 ends [HUGE SPOILER] in a cliffhanger, with a character’s life hanging in the balance, and I have to know what happens to this particular character, so I *SIGHHHHHH* will be back. I’ll hate-read my way through the rest of the trilogy, but I will be finishing it.
Verdict: 2/5 stars. I forgot to mention that I watched a walkthrough for Outlast 2 about a week before I started The Knife of Never Letting Go, and seeing the same backwards small town religious fanaticism sexism butchery thing presented in the form of a children’s book (although at the library where I work, it’s in the Teen section) was a bit alarming. I also hate cults and generally don’t enjoy consuming media that features cults or cult-esque groups (even though they’re being portrayed in a negative light), SOOOOO… I might be biased (fyi, I didn’t think about this till now).
Until next time. Cheers.