The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Trilogy #1) - Patrick Ness - 496 pages
I've written about five different openers for this post. One in which I compare Knife to Firefly. Another one in which I compare it to A Boy and His Dog. In another I'm just relieved to be reading a book with a male lead character who isn't talking about his ooey gooey feelings for a member of the opposite sex.
In all honesty, though: I'm just trying to get around to the part where I tell everyone that this book has a talking dog in it. So here we go: THIS BOOK HAS A TALKING DOG IN IT.
There. Now that that is out of the way...
Here's how it is: Earth is used up. Everyone is moving from Old World to the New World. The settlers who have founded New World are primarily religious fundamentalists.* Our main protagonists are a boy named Todd Hewitt and his talking dog Manchee (and later a little surprise that I won't mention here).
One day Young Todd is rushed out of his home by his uncles a few weeks before his 13th birthday. The rest of his all-male town chases him across New World in an effort to kill him and... wait for it... take over the world! It's up to Manchee the Talking Dog and Todd to figure out how to stop them.
But. Yep. A. Talkin. Effing. Dog. I'm not getting over this anytime soon.
The world of Knife is a bit different than our own; every person and animal can hear the thoughts of everyone else. Everyone can hear the "noise" your brain makes. For some odd reason men cannot hear the thoughts of women. This kind of makes women a target in some instances.
I'm a sucker for western type stories that take place on other planets. As mentioned before: Firefly. A million times Firefly. Ness' story telling is on the same level of a Joss Whedon episode of the show and just as good, with just as many twists and turns and revelations and ideas all thrown onto a page and executed with precision.
Right now I'm going to let my inner 13-year-old boy come out to describe how I felt while reading Knife:
"There was this one point where I was like 'Holy crap!' and then at another point I realized that the dog wasn't so bad even though I thought he was kind of annoying to begin with. I kept putting it down but picking it back up and laughing at Manchee."
This is a novel that was written with a sequel in mind; it's clear by the mid-point that the ending is going to be left wide open. It didn't bother me when it happened. Patrick Ness has created a little world that is Huck Finn meets Firefly meets the Florida swamplands. I think I want to spend a little bit more time there.
*If you haven't seen the movie Red State you really should.