Saturday, September 26, 2009

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

People have been raving about this for awhile. I picked it up at the library for the second time, and read almost all of it.

The plot moves pretty quickly. And there's lots of action. And Manchee's voice is great - though I think I would've been more appreciative had I not already seen Up, which is even better for dog-voice. (Plus they visual-pun on "dogfight." So. Funny!) And the giant yeti-cows were intriguing.

I enjoyed the first... maybe... half of the book. I kept reading for awhile after that to see if it would get better. And then I flipped through, skimming for awhile, and finally just read the end. I gave it two stars on Goodreads, though apparently I'm a voice crying out in the wilderness. Either that, or I've just got no taste.

Spoilers within, as well as spoilers for / references to Hunger Games and Twilight.

The problem is, when you reveal that your first-person narrator is unreliable, you're encouraging the reader to be skeptical. As a result, (1) the characters' idiocy becomes much less acceptable, and (2) ditto for unexplained parts of the plot.

It is, of course, perfectly acceptable to ignore people who are speaking sense if ignoring them furthers the plot! wuhu! *eyeroll*

Somehow we are supposed to believe that about a quarter of a town's population was able to kill off or exile the other 3/4, while sustaining few enough casualties to keep the town running afterward (albeit in a more limited fashion). Gosh, isn't it convenient that they still had at least one doctor? one blacksmith? one carpenter? etc.

Also? There is apparently some form of mind control. At least I hope that's the explanation. It stays pretty much off-camera, but the only other explanation is that everybody is just peachy with following the Super Evil Villain. (The villains are such withered caricatures that they make Disney characters look like Hamlet by comparison.)

Also also? Don't even get me started on the repeated redshirting as an attempt to engage the reader emotionally. I didn't put up with it from Pullman, either - and he had armored polar bears in his story!

What nauseated me the most was the author's inconsistent stance on humanity. You can't KILL someone because that turns you into a monster. But it's okay to kill aliens because they're not people. But it's not okay to kill monsters who used to be people, because... I don't know why. Just BECAUSE, okay? (So be sure you make it look at least somewhat like an accident.)

GROW A SPINE, TODD! Good gravy - he reminds me of Bella! The whining, the sulking, the angst... except since he's a few years younger, the sheer idiocy is a tiny, TINY bit less egregious.

Hunger Games kind of ends on a cliffhanger, but it's more like it included the first chapter of the next book. It at least wraps up the primary storyline; Katniss survives (DUH) and heads back to her district.

This one? No resolution AT ALL. One of the major characters is severely injured and they make it to what they think is a safe place, and then - dun dun DUNNNN! - discover that it has been taken by the Super Evil Villain and the army of monsters-who-used-to-be-people. End of Book One.

My reaction? "FINALLY they DIE!"

I am NOT going to be reading the next book(s) in the series, as I have already written my own ending to the story and am convinced it's far better than anything the "real" author has come up with.

The more I think about this book, the less I like it. I haven't decided whether or not I want to drop it to one star...

Image thanks to


Melissa B. said...

Ya know, I haven't yet read any in the Twilight series. And the more I hear, the less inclined I am to pick it up. Thanks for this very telling review. I think I'll skip The Knife...

wapwallopen said...


Clix said...

Well, keep in mind, this is MY opinion. There are an awful lotta folks out there who don't agree with me :D

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