Prentisstown isn’t like
other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee – whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not – stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden – a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?
4 stars of 5
It’s difficult to review this. On the whole, I got very caught up in the world of the novel, so I’m adding it to the favorites shelf. It was super intense, with that level of intensity that not many dystopian young-adult reads could reach. There aren’t a lot of books that could make me gasp aloud, or shout expletives, but this was one of them. There’s SO MUCH action. Man. And emotions! Patrick Ness goes deep. Plus the Noise was such a wonderfully conceived thing. (“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.” FAVORITE LINE. Without a doubt.) I loved how the author played with it to influence his characters as well as move his plot along.
But I guess what I liked best about it was the…uniqueness of it all, and I’d credit that to the creatively written voice of the protagonist, Todd Hewitt. The author made use of grammar and spelling errors and a bit of invented slang (that takes some getting used to, but works) as the character’s language, but more than that, the strength of Todd’s (young, clueless, angry, conflicted, but ultimately good-hearted and spunky) personality just overflowed. Violet Eade was an excellent female character as well, providing that much-needed balance to Todd’s pubescent maleness, and their friendship and all the underlying themes there were A+.
And MANCHEE. Oh gosh. That dog is the BEST thing in this book. I cannot. I can still actually hear “Todd?” repeatedly in my head and (to quote Taylor Swift) I am a crumpled up piece of paper lying here………….
But anyway. On to the stuff I didn’t like… Um. Much of this book is about escaping and running, and that’s fine, but one could only take so much. The book felt a bit tired and repetitive by the second half. The recycling of seemingly indestructible antagonists got annoying. The Oh!-saved-in-the-nick-of-time! got annoying. And all the teasing got annoying. (There was. SO. MUCH. PLOT. TEASING. The author loved withholding information from the reader and did it over and over.) There was so much teasing that you’d think the reveal would live up to the hype. (You’d be wrong. A little predictable.) But I guess what annoyed me the most were the passages like this:“I punch his face—
Breaking it further—
And still I pound him—
Still I hit—
Till I can no longer feel my hands—
And still I hit—
And the hate—
And I look over—
At the knife—
Just a metre away—
On the ledge—
By the pulpit—
Calling for me—
And this time I know—
This time I know—”
and there were pages of that. Just broken phrases ending in em-dashes. Right in the climax of the action. Which I get, but considering he showed perfect ability to compose long paragraphs otherwise, I think that was annoyingly lazy writing from the author.
There is also a turning point in the book that I don’t know how to describe without giving away spoilers (let’s just say it’s the incident with the knife and the Spackle) that made me really despise the protagonist. It was such a BOOM! moment in character development, I guess, but the rest of the book was never quite able to handle that properly, or to redeem its hero. So. That was a bit disappointing.
And finally, finally there is a great, big, huge, massive, absolutely CRUEL cliffhanger in the end. I really have to say that. Don’t start this book unless you have the next one ready. There was definitely that “WHAT! After everything that happened?! AFTER EVERYTHING?!???!” frustration when I finished this, lol. But as they say, it was the journey, not the destination, that matters, so: 4 stars.