For those of you who aren’t hip to the 30 Day Challenge, this is Day 3. And this is my favorite books series. Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness. It’s a really interesting take on science fiction, in that it doesn’t really seem like it’s a science fiction. At the start, it seems a lot like a coming of age story about a boy and his dog. But, like most books I love, it’s so much more than that. Here’s the premise of the first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go:
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.
The whole story takes place on a planet called New World, a planet 80 years from ‘Old World’ with years that are 13 months long. And the story begins in a small town called ‘Prentisstown’. Possibly the last human settlement left on New World after the war with the Spackle (the indigenous reigning species of the planet) which unleashed the Noise on all the men and killed all of the women. So it’s a dying colony. As the story goes on, we get to explore New World as layers of conspiracy are peeled back and a new great war is starting.
I cannot stress enough how great this trilogy is.
Aside from everything, one thing I really love about this series is the continuity. The title of everyone book has meaning. The title of the series has meaning. The title of the series is referenced early on in the first book. The title of the first book is heavily alluded to in the first book, but comes back full circle in the third book. The title of the second book is revealed in the second book. The title of the third book is originally discussed in the first book. Stuff that happens in the first book comes back and proves to be vitally important for the rest of the series. It’s amazing.
Another talking point is the relationship Todd has with the girl he finds. Viola. It’s a bit strained at first, in that they are both on the run, he’s never seen a girl in real life so he’s understandably put off, and she won’t say anything. They don’t know what’s going in and things are just weird. But as they story evolves and time goes by they form this really great bond of friendship that’s kind of more than friendship and it’s a lot a bit beautiful.
The characters are so real it literally hurts. This includes Manchee, Todd’s dog. And the Spackle when they really become prominent in the story. And Todd’s dads, Cillian and Ben. Especially Ben. And Davey. Oh, ouch, there my thoughts go again. Even the freaking bad guy is real and almost sympathetic in how absolutely and unforgivably insane he is. I mean, two of the books take plays in the middle of this cluster-fuck war. The whole thing is just painful. Just, wow. Right in the feels.
But it’s also wonderful. So wonderful that everyone should go read it immediately. The Knife of Never Letting Go is a wonderful opening. It establishes the characters, the major conflict, and some prominent themes and motifs and stuff. The Ask and the Answer adds more stress to the conflict as people are broken and loyalties are really put to the test. Monsters of Men is the epic conclusion which is perhaps more heart wrenching and more heart warming than anything else ever.
You’d being doing yourself a favor to put it on your reading list.