Sometimes you might read a book that isn’t particularly well written, or doesn’t have the most original plot, but it just has SOMETHING about it that makes you love it. Its like the book was written just for you, and that’s a treat. And sometimes you read a book that has everything going for it — its well written, has an interesting plot and great characters. And everyone loves it. Except for you. And you don’t even know why.
This is precisely what happened to me when I read The Knife of Never Letting Go, the story of Todd, a young boy in a new world where men can hear each others’ thoughts and there are no surviving women. When colonists came to this new planet to start a new life, they encountered a virus that infected the men and killed the women, and right now, there are only a handful of men left. Until Todd finds a “hole” in the noise, and discovers Viola, a girl who recently crash-landed on Todd’s planet and is all alone. Todd and Viola join together on a journey away from Todd’s community, and slowly find out that everything Todd ever knew about his life was a lie.
I can’t really explain what I didn’t like about it. Patrick Ness is a really great writer. The new world that he created was beautifully presented, and his language and “noise” weren’t difficult to become accustomed to. His characters were sympathetic — really, who would wish ill-will upon Todd, or Viola, or even poor little Manchee? There have been tons of reviews of the book here over the past several years, and they’ve all been positive.
So, why didn’t I like it?
Honestly, I have no idea. I certainly don’t think it was a bad book. This simply wasn’t the book for me. I struggled to get through it, and if I hadn’t had a book club discussion to go to, I doubt I would have finished it at all. I’m doubtful that I’ll be reading the other two books in the trilogy.