The Knife of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness)

The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first novel in the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness.
Finished on: 19.2.2021

Content Note: cissexism, animal abuse, colonialism

Plot:
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown, a settlement town on another planet. When the human settlers arrived, they waged a war against the original inhabitants of the planet and they struck back with a weaponized virus that killed all women and girls, and gave the men and animals telepathy. Todd grew up knowing nothing but the Noise of the men and animals around him, and as the youngest settler is just about to reach adulthood. But one day he is out and about with his dog Manchee and finds a quiet spot in the Noise. Disturbed, he returns home where his guardians Ben and Cillian turn his entire life upside down, send him away and hint at the fact that Todd doesn’t know the whole story. From one moment to the next, Todd finds himself on the run, but how can you run when everyone can hear your thoughts?

I bought The Knife of Never Letting Go many years ago and never got around to reading it. Now with a movie adaptation coming out, I decided to give it a go, although by now I had started to see the premise of the book very critically. Given how much I loved A Monster Calls, I didn’t want to give up on it prematurely, but maybe I should have. The book really didn’t work for me.

The book cover showing a red knife on black background.

[SPOILERS]

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Ink (Alice Broadway)

Ink is the first novel in the Skin Books trilogy by Alice Broadway.
Finished on: 23.5.2019

Plot:
In Saintstone, everyone is tattooed and every important life event is recorded in tattoos. When a person dies, their skin is preserved in a book that chronicles and pays hommage to their life. This thought gives Leora, who dreams of becoming an inker herself, much peace when her own father dies. But then she glimpses a mark that should not be there, something that marks him as a traitor. With that realization, Leora’s entire life starts to unravel.

Ink is not exactly subtle in its metaphors about surveillance states and populism. It doesn’t need to be to be a good read – and that it certainly was. Even if you aren’t as into tattoos as I am.

The book cover that is covered in bronze-colored tattoo-like markings, showing, among other things, an owl, an eagle, a feather and a girl in white instead of bronze.
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Tess of the Road (Rachel Hartman)

Tess of the Road is a companion novel to the Seraphina duology by Rachel Hartman.
Finished on: 9.5.2019
[Here are my reviews of the other novels in the series.]

Plot:
Tess doesn’t have a very good standing with her family. Tasked with helping to secure a husband for her twin sister Jeanne, Tess is often either ignored or blamed for just about everything. After she gets into an altercation with her brother-in-law Jacomo on Jeanne’s wedding night, she loses her place in the family. She finds refuge with her older sister Seraphina for a few days, while she figures out what to do next. There aren’t all that many options. Encouraged by Seraphina, Tess takes the riskier option, though, and does not join the convent, but rather goes on an adventure.

Tess of the Road impressed me a lot. It deals with very complex (feminist) issues in an easy to understand manner that doesn’t oversimplify. And it is still interesting and an extremely readable text that touched me emotionally as well. It’s fantastic.

The book cover showing a dragon with its head pointed toward a small, fenal figure. In the dragon's shape we can see a mountain village.
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Batman: Nightwalker (Marie Lu)

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu is the second of the DC Icons novels.
Finished on: 2.5.2019
[Here’s my review of the first novel in the loose series.]

Plot:
The Nightwalkers are hunting the rich people of Gotham City. Bruce Wayne is about to be one of them – as soon as he turns 18, he will inherit his family’s fortune. But first, he has to do some community service in Arkham Asylum prison. As he scrubs the floors there, he meets Madeleine, one of the Nightwalkers who will talk to nobody but Bruce. But what really is the reason for Madeleine’s apparent confidence in Bruce? Bruce will have to figure out what to do with her and her interest in him – and that’s not all he has to figure out.

Batman: Nightwalker didn’t really work for me. It wasn’t completely bad, but it didn’t dig into Batman as a character as I would have liked. It’s okay to read, but it doesn’t really have staying power.

The book cover showing a young man with dark hair in a narrow street, in front of him the Batman symbol.
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A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle)

A Wrinkle in Time is the first novel in the Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle.
Finished on: 30.11.2017

Plot:
Meg Murry is an unusual child from an unusual family. Her mother Katherine is a scientist, as is her father Alexander – who has been missing for a while. He was working on tesseracts – and their new neighbor Mrs Whatsit seems to know more about the topic. When Meg goes to investigate a haunted house with her school mate Calvin and her genius brother Charles, she encounters Mrs Whatsit again – together with Mrs Who and Mrs Which. They prompt her to go looking for her father – all through the universe.

A Wrinkle in Time is a nice read that didn’t completely win me over – I’m still on the fence about whether I want to continue reading the series. That being said, there is a lot that can be enjoyed about the book, even when you didn’t grow up with it.

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