Summary (via Goodreads): Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
This book was insanely good and epic. I highly suggest it for fans of the action packed series like Divergent or Hunger Games. This was definitely an action book - you can tell that from the summary - but it wasn't just a book that had lots of fighting, nor did it glorify the fights that they certainly did encounter.
The main point of this book was against 1) the sharing of information, especially in a public way (*hint* facebook *hint*). The idea of the Noise is so that everyone can hear everything you do, say, think, see. It's pretty terrifying and kind of like a constant refreshing Twitter, except you can't control it. Yes, there are ways to block it out for a small amount of time, but it's always there. And that's a pretty scary concept to deal with. The next major point was against violence. Yes, a book with the word 'knife' in the title is super against violence. The main portion of the second half was spent dealing with Todd's internal conflict between killing and not. This is ramped up by the presense of Aaron, a 'preacher,' who pushes him toward thinking more critically about becoming a killer. The knife is such a metaphor and the title really pushes you to think that way. Brilliant title naming.
Todd is such a lovable character and maybe that's because you know what he's thinking all the time. He's not warm or fuzzy exactly, because of the larger focus on the world and action, but he makes good and bad decisions. He's a human and therefore is both loved and hated. Manchee, his dog, is super adorable. Unlike most talking animals, he actually makes sense (think the dog from the Disney movie Up). Viola is one of the strongest female characters in the book (wait ---the only female character) and she stands up for herself while keeping Todd rooted toward his goal. This is really an epic trio to follow around New World.
Which let's talk about this world, shall we?
New World's colonies are all different and unique, like the differences between the states in the US. Prentisstown is definitely the worst and it may not seem that way until the end. The world is so built up and important to everything the character's do. It's a swampy disaster, a jungle, a waterfall. The descriptions are beautiful, yet creepy, as they travel along to experience the different ways the various settlements are dealing with the Noise. There is a lot of fear in every one of these places, but each tries to work its way around it. Some do very well at this, while others are little...um....freaky.
So why the four stars? Because pages 300-400 were needless and just made the book a whole lot longer. These could easily have been taken out and the two plot points inserted in another, hopefully shorter, way. So that's why the four stars. I have to start getting harsher here!
That's it! Do read this book, I highly suggest it. The writing style (very Mark Twain-esque) can take a while to get used to, but it just adds a new layer.
Have fun with your next read!