Backlist Review: “The Knife of Never Letting Go; The Ask and the Answer; Monsters of Men”

This isn’t my first attempt at book blogging. I ran The Cheap Reader for a number of years before burning out. I’m dusting off some of my reviews and giving them new life over here.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

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?


Summary from Goodreads


I can’t tell you how good this book is. I’m going to do my best to keep this review as spoiler free as possible but that’s going to be super hard because of how spoiler-y the book is.

Want a book full of non-stop, make the reader tired action? Well this book is what you’re looking for. From about the 3rd chapter or so, the book takes off literally running and doesn’t stop. I’m serious about the ‘make the reader tired’ part! There’s SO much action. It’s amazing.

The animals in the book offer comic relief. Todd can hear their thoughts too. Everyone has imagined what animals would say if they could talk. Well turns out it’s not much really. My favorite are the sheep who just say “sheep. sheep.” (I imagine them bleating the word sheep.)

Don’t read this book if you hate cliffhangers. Every single chapter the author leaves you dropping your jaw. I didn’t know it was possible to get so mad and want to keep reading all at once. There were many times I had the urge to yell at my Kindle because of what was happening.

The only thing that bugged me about the book was the style. Todd isn’t really educated. You can tell that by the way he speaks. The author carries this through the whole book. Basically the book is written as Todd would speak or write it complete with bad grammar and spelling. It does set the tone of the book but it still annoys me when authors do that.

Rating 4.5/5

I need to get my hands on the sequel! You need to read this book ASAP.

The Ask and the Answer

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor’s terrifying new order. But everything is shrouded in secrets. Where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then one day, the bombs begin to explode. . . 

Summary from Goodreads


Oh. Man. This was a fantastic sequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go. I wouldn’t say it’s quite as action packed but it’s almost there in a different way. Ness’s writing is absolutely engaging and kept me pretty much glued the entire time. This man is a genius with cliffhangers at the end of chapters. I swear at the end of most of the chapters I was left with my jaw on the floor baffled at the new turn of events. I was constantly ‘forced’ to keep reading even though I had other things I needed to do. I always love that.

While the book is as intense as the first one, it does ultimately have a different ‘feel’ to it. This book focuses more on civil war and the consequences of it. We have Todd and Viola on opposites sides of the war so the reader can see both sides of the issue. The story makes you to start to think and reevaluate everything you know about terrorism, genocide, and war. Things aren’t black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. So many lines are blurred.  I honestly can’t figure out who to root for.

I loved the alternating between Todd and Viola. It was necessary for this story. The reader needs to know both sides. It’s pretty easy to keep them straight because they have different voices and each one had a different font. It was odd, I did not like any of the characters. But then again basically everyone and everything in the book was horrible so of course no one is likable.

President Prentiss is up there on my top villains list right under Delores Umbridge. Of course I didn’t like him but that’s the point. You’re supposed to hate him. The mixture of kindness and outright hate is enough to get under anyone’s skin.

It should be a dead giveaway because the book is about civil war but this is grim. Very grim. If you don’t do well with violence, death, destruction, war, etc you might want to skip this.

Rating 4/5

Why aren’t these books more popular? I’m so glad I bought the trilogy so now I can force them on my friends and family.

Monsters of Men

As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

Summary from Goodreads


Wow, that was an action packed finale for one of the best series I’ve ever read. Like the previous two books, this book is filled with non-stop action. I didn’t like it as much as the other because of the type of action. It’s just 600 pages of war. And you know what? That gets tiring after a while.

The ideas and struggles in this book were amazing. Once again, we’re thrown into this world where there is no where to turn. The only choices are join a tyrant or join a terrorist. There are no right choices. How can you make the right decision when death and destruction are around every corner.

I think one of the best parts about this book (and series) is Ness is willing to go and do things many people wouldn’t do. People die. Good people die. Bad people die. He doesn’t sidestep issues because he likes a character. This book really is like a war. Bad things happen and the wrong people die. Because he was willing to go there it makes everything so much more realistic.

Once again, we have Todd and Viola narrating the story for us. It’s a crucial element for the story. We get to see the inside workings of each side. We also see the inside and outside of each character. See how they see each other. See how war has changed them. Ness shocks the readers by adding another narrator to the mix. One whose voice we’ve never heard. It’s very, very interesting to hear the ‘other’ side of the story.

It was a great conclusion to an AMAZING trilogy. If you have not started these books yet, stop what you’re doing and go order them right now. Seriously, you’ll hate yourself a bit for not reading them earlier.

Rating 5/5

It’s official. The Chaos Walking has made its way on to my favorite series list right next to Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and the Hunger Games.



My dream is coming true! Chaos Walking is coming out as a movie very soon. I’ve been waiting for this for YEARS so let’s see how it turns out.


8 thoughts on “Backlist Review: “The Knife of Never Letting Go; The Ask and the Answer; Monsters of Men”

    • I’m really curious about that too! I hope the noise appears in a trailer so I can manage my expectations for the movie. I desperately want this to be amazing but I’m bracing myself for another Percy Jackson nightmare.


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