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 was hooked from page one. It was a fast-paced could-not-put-down, urgent, layered, intelligent, easy-to-read-yet-complex story that I would recommend to anyone and everyone. So good. It was kind of all its own but if I had to compare it to anything else it would be the intensity of Hunger Games, the quality of writing of Shatter Me (but not the subsequent books in the series), and the world-building of the Across the Universe series. This book was really nothing like any of those books and, all-around, better than them, but if you want a comparison of some sort, that's a decent place to start.
The world-building started immediately and the way we learned about this strange place, as a reader, was completely natural. There was no info-dumping. No pause in the book for a backstory moment. It all flowed so flawlessly and effortlessly that I felt like I could have just landed in this world myself. And the world was so detailed and well-thought-out. And interesting. I wanted to learn about it. I wanted to learn why everyone was the way they were. I wanted to know the history of this place. It was just so well done.
The characters and the way people spoke were fascinating. Everyone had depth. Everyone had inner conflict and layered backstory and just inherent interest. I was so interested in everyone. Our main character, Todd, and his talking dog, Manchee; They were so likable. Todd was a regular, nice kid asked to do crazy difficult stuff, make insane choices. And he just did the best he could. He was sweet and kind in spite of being raised in a bizarrely mean place. And Manchee was just a good, loyal dog. I loved the portrayal of Manchee and his simple thoughts.
Some of my favorite moments were with the villain characters. Todd's depictions of them (because we were in Todd's POV the whole book) were just perfect. Ness just got inside those characters and portrayed them so well, with so much depth that I couldn't help but be fascinated by the evil people. Seriously, so well done.
The writing itself was amazing. Thoughts felt like real thoughts. Dialogue felt natural. Reactions and events were completely believable in this foreign world. Ness has a way of making you feel on-the-edge-of-your-seat that I've rarely seen in a book. It's incredible. I loved the different dialects people spoke in and the phonetic spelling; It added so much to this world. The twists and turns this plot took were sometimes expected but always worth reading. So much happened to these people in such a short amount of time that I was kind of exhausted after finishing the book but also super amped to read the next one because there is an Insane Cliffhanger! I mean--Worst/Best Cliffhanger Ever! I'm simultaneously annoyed and excited about the ending. But I will definitely read the next one. And probably the whole series. And anything else Patrick Ness writes.
It was just that good.
Sexual Content: Mild