Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Volume one of the series Chaos Walking. this is Science fiction though it has many similarities to the founding of our country. A space ship load of settlers has landed on New World. It was previously scouted and no human inhabitants were found. After landing, the settlers discover Spackles who appear human but have no written language and use no oral language therefore are considered inferior beings. There is also a virus indigenous to the planet that causes men to project and hear all their thoughts and the thoughts of others. While women can hear, they do not project. Originally the settlers came in hope of a clean simple, honest, safe, peaceful life with god to guide them. Readers need to try to imagine what it must be like to be able to experience silence, then suddenly have their heads filled with the thoughts and emotions of hundreds of people - 24/7 everywhere one goes and not be able to experience silence ever again. Men couldn't stand it. They blamed the Spackle and tried to kill them off. Some began to hate the women who could hear them but not be heard therefore could keep secrets while they could not. They split from the original settlement into many each trying to deal with the maddening intrusion of constant noise. One community was ruled by a twisted holy man who convinced the others to kill all their evil women and eventually to rise in power to take over the other settlements. That eventually would come when the last child born there, before the women were killed, became man. The time had come for the boy (Todd) soon to be man to undergo the final test and for the army to march. Todd is sent off by the men who raised him, didn't believe in the evil minister Aaron with the army in pursuit. Todd is to warn the other communities to prepare to be attacked but never quite carries out his mission being embarrassed by his inability to read well enough to read the message and not being a very likable, caring kid. He discovers Viola, his first female acquaintance at the site of a recent spaceship crash that killed her parents. The ship was a scout ship which was to have reported back to a larger ship of folks looking to settle. They run from the army together. Viola is a kinder person, a voice of reason. She also has some cool stuff from her space ship that helps the pair. This is a fast paced, exciting read that leaves a lot up in the air since there will be more volumes. Here are some things to think about - Perhaps the Spackle do not need written or spoken language because they do all their communication within their minds. What happens if/when the space ship Viola is from lands. Will Todd really escape the army from his home Prentisstown. Will the evil minister become ruler of the entire planet as is his desire? What happens to the relationship between teens Todd and Viola. JDW 2/3/09

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