Monday, January 24, 2011

Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

In late September, I had the honor of attending an author visit for the all school read at one of the high schools in my school district.  The author was Patrick Ness.  The book, the first in the Chaos Walking trilogy--The Knife of Never Letting Go.  I was a poor visitor--I had just started the book and had not finished it.  But shortly after hearing him talk at one of the almost all school assemblies (I think they had him do 2 or 3 talks because not everyone fit into the auditorium) and having the privilege to have lunch with him with the other school media specialists, I gobbled up not just the KoNLG, but the entire Chaos Walking trilogy!!  My husband and I even jockeyed for who got to read the book because we both had our own bookmarks in the books.  (Btw, husband won!  I gave in and he finished before me.)

For a fast-paced science fiction read that will make you think--read this series!  Here's the premise for The Knife of Never Letting Go direct from the author's website:
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.

But Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one 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 now he's going to have to run...

This series is about information overload and how the humans on this alien planet deal with the information overload.    One of the main characters describes it this way, "That's what New World is.  Informayshun, all the time, never stopping, whether you want it or not. The Spackle knew it, evolved to live with it, but we weren't equipped for it.  Not even close.  And too much infromayshun becomes just Noise.  And it never, never stops."

New world is a place where lies and truths are garbled together in Noise, and Todd must decipher what is what:  "It's a fantasy, a lie, but the lies of men are as vivid as their truths and I can see every bit of it."  The Noise grabs you--literally as a text feature that jumps off of the page. Who said what?

It's a coming of age story, a love story, a story of survival, with some aliens (Spackle) thrown in who have their own story.  It is a whirlwind of activity and you won't stop until you put it down.

Of note:  The Knife of Never Letting Go won the Guardian Award in 2008 (Comparable to the US's Newbery, this award is for British authors with works published in the UK.)  It was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2009 (Comparable to being a Newbery Honor Book, this award is also for an outstanding children's or YA book published and is sponsored by the equivalent of the US's ALA).The Ask and the Answer (Book 2 in Chaos Walking) was also shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal last year.   In other words--high acclaim.  Worth a read! :)

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