When I was annoyed about Divergent ending on a cliffhanger the other day, it was probably the equivalent of complaining about names with extra Y’s and apostrophes – the trend appears to be sticking.* I just finished Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go and it ended even more abruptly than Divergent. Literally, it stopped the middle of a scene, with a preview from book two. Dudes, you’re not writing Harry Potter. She earned those cliffhangers. I almost put down The Knife of Never Letting Go early on, because large pieces of the dialogue were written in dialect. I’m not a fan of accent dialogue in any case, it’s usually a cheap character marker, but a lot of this stuff was completely unnecessary. The lead character, Todd, doesn’t have much education and is barely able to read. So why, exactly, would that make his thoughts misspelled? Especially when they are spelled out phonetically, so they would be pronounced exactly the same. Direkshuns? Really? Were you writing The Color Purple of teenage dystopian novels?
I’m glad I stuck with it, because it totally is a roller coaster of a book. The energy builds from the introduction of Todd, the last “boy” in a village of only men. Todd’s village is the last in the world and viruses have killed all the women, given animals the ability to speak, and made it so that all thoughts are audible. Todd will turn 13 in one month and become a full-fledged member of his group, but his discovery of a girl in the woods turns everything he thinks he know upside down. The action is relentless and one character is seriously more resilient than Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th. I guess there’s a whole generation unclear on the concept that you always make sure the villain is really dead.
*And as soon as I wrote that, I looked at the book on Amazon and saw that it came out 3 years ago. So really, this is more like me complaining that video killed the radio star. In any case, I blame it all on Stephanie Meyers and Twilight.