If you haven’t discovered Patrick Ness and his first book for young adults, The Knife of Never Letting Go, you are seriously missing out! It was published last year and went on to win the Guardian Children’s Book Prize (2008), and it has to be one of the best pieces of science fiction written for young adults. Unlike so many of the books written for young adults it is a very original story with a plot that races along and strong, believable characters. Set in a world much like our own, Todd lives in a community devoid of females and dominated by cruel men whose thoughts can be heard by everyone in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy and there are no secrets. However, just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence, which is impossible. Prentisstown has been lying to him and so to save himself, he has to run. The pace never lets up from beginning to end and there are lots of twists and turns to keep the reader interested, including one heart-rending scene. It’s one of those books that ends on a cliff-hanger and so I couldn’t wait until the next book was released.
The sequel, The Ask and the Answer has just been released and Patrick Ness has done it again! We are immediately taken right back to where we last saw the characters, in the fantastic, frightening world of New World. The pace races along and we see the characters develop in the challenging situations in which they find themselves.
We have just received The Ask and the Answer, but if you haven’t read The Knife of Never Letting you should read this first. If you’re waiting for your copy of The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness has written a short story set before the story of The Knife of Never Letting Go that you can download for free.