Chaos Walking #1
Published 2008 by Candlewick
Borrowed from library
From Goodreads: 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?
I really enjoyed this book. It doesn't pull punches, and does a spectacular job portraying how people react to difficult situations and choices. I couldn't put it down, and I definitely recommend it.
First off, this book is not for anyone who wants their characters to be Right and Pure Of Heart, all the time. Viola and Todd face impossible choices, and sometimes they choose wrong. They see terrible things, experience terrible things, and occasionally they even do terrible things. In my opinion, this makes The Knife of Never Letting Go a better book. The fact that the characters try and sometimes fail to be good people, particularly given the circumstances they live in, makes the book much more realistic and believable.
The story itself is fast-paced and exciting. As is appropriate for a dystopian novel, you're never quite sure what's true, only that there's something wrong with what the characters have already been told. There are a couple points where it gets a little annoying that no one will tell Todd and Viola the truth, but they move too quickly to spend enough time with any one person long enough for them to really talk, so that's not unbelievable.
I quite liked the world here: people are telepathic and it's a disaster. It's absolutely the way mind-reading would probably work if people could really do it. No one really wants to hear people's uncensored thoughts, and that's how it is in the world. They just can't help it, and there are other complications that you might not expect.
The book does end in a pretty serious cliffhanger, so I definitely suggest you have book 2 on hand when you finish this one. You'll want it.