Published by Walker Books / ISBN 9781406357981 / Teenage

I read a particular book for many reasons. Some because a publisher has sent me a copy, others because I haven’t brought my current book in to work, and I’m desperate for something, anything to read, and some because it has been brought to my attention by a friend or colleague.

You have this review because of my very special friend Min Wells, who used to work with me in the bookshop and now works in another branch, much too far away.

She used to nag me about this volume. She said I would enjoy it.

My reply then was that I felt that younger children needed more help choosing books, and that adults and teenagers, on the whole knew what they wanted to read. It is astonishing how wrong you can be; everyone, it seems likes a review, or two. Another reason for my not reading as much teenage, I think is that they are often more intense and what you hope won’t happen, sometimes does. Though that in turn makes these books all the more powerful, dramatic and frankly good. After all life isn’t all happy endings and books should reflect this for older readers and sometimes younger too!

I don’t think I will ever forget The Knife of Never Letting Go. It is definitely one book in which I have put emotional time.

I started to read and found myself totally immersed in Todd’s and Manchee’s life. Now you want to know who Todd and Manchee are, I suppose. I will tell you two things: Todd is essentially our main protagonist and hero, and Manchee is his dog. Though in some ways I think those positions could be reversed.

Due to circumstances not greatly gone into, all the females have died out and the men are left, able to hear one another’s thoughts. Further they are able to understand the speech of animals. There is a secret, of which Todd is aware, but is not party to. It is an extraordinary secret. This book is about friendship, about survival, relationships and that special connection between a dog and his boy…

I will say this last – Manchee is the best fictional dog I have ever metaphorically met – because of his ability to talk his character is much more detailed than the others.

At various intervals there are pages of multiple overlaid script – of
different hands, filling the pages, showing the cacophony of speech that Todd can hear, when he allows his mind to listen to the noise of everyone’s thoughts – it’s a very clever arrangement; you can follow someone’s thoughts by reading a particular hand.

The second and last volumes in the trilogy are: The Ask and the Asking (ISBN 1406357998) and Monsters of Men, (ISBN 9781406358001) all three are in paperback.

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