by Patrick Ness
The Short Story
Todd is the last boy left in Prentisstown, a colony on New World. Before Todd was born his group fought with the natives and all the women were killed via germ warfare. The same germ made all the men able to hear each others' thoughts. Now that Todd is a month shy of the birthday that will make him a man something happens that makes him question everything he's known. Wild, fast-paced, cliff-hangery read.
Come for the...
nearly non-stop adventure. I took me a bit to get into this one, but once I did it was hard to put down. This story is just really good. It reminded me of The Hunger Games, in that it felt like the story was about much more than just a teen going through a difficult circumstance. (And there are cliff hangers at the end of many chapters) I really enjoyed the themes of knowing things for yourself, doing the right thing, and looking out for other people.
And I really liked Todd. I didn't expect to relate to him, and his phonetic spelling drove me bonkers for the first 100-ish pages. But he surprised me with his depth and goodness. I loved his relationships in the book, with Ben, Manchee, and Viola. I appreciated the commentary on men and women, and how women are this big mystery that they actually aren't. And I (gasp!) completely enjoyed the lack of a romantic storyline (for now).
Stay for the
talking animals, like Manchee; the interesting type faces used in the book; the varying ideas on gender and gender roles; the sequel, The Ask and The Answer.
Don't think about this too hard
- This book is gory. There are crocodile attacks, fist fights, stabbings, and more, and most of it is described in bloody, gruesome detail.
- The book started to feel repetitive to me, with fairly similar events happening every 60 pages or so. I thought the book could have been a bit shorter if some of that had been cut out, as it didn't seem to add anything.
The Big Three
Language: swearing throughout the book, including the f-word and "eff," Todd's profanity of choice.
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: fairly constant, descriptive violence and gore