Sunday, September 20, 2009

and the ride is over...for now

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness may well turn out to be my new favorite book. I'm going to give it a few more days or weeks to settle in before I finalize that proclamation to myself. But the fact that I'm even thinking that The Stand may be knocked from its #1 slot, a position its held for 30 years, is really saying something.

I've been talking about this book (here and here and here and here) throughout my reading journey. At the time I wrote that last post, I couldn't imagine that the experience could become any more intense. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I could not been more wrong. Something happened about three quarters of the way through the book that took the already broken pieces of my heart and proceeded to shatter them into slivers.

Admitting that I cried doesn't really mean much, because honestly, I cry during a lot of books. But "cry" isn't really quite the right word here. I sobbed. Truly sobbed. And then, when I finally got it under control enough to continue reading, I found the tears just weren't going to end. I cried through nearly every remaining page.

I would be lying if I said this was a pleasurable reading experience. It wasn't. It was intense. It was dizzying. It was raw. And it was real. And that's why I loved it. I loved it so very much. I realize that I haven't said anything about what this book is actually about. I just don't know how, because even some of the simplest things are spoilers. But it's a book about life. Yes, it's dystopian. There's elements of science fiction. But really it's about being human. About fear. About truths and lies. About gender. About love. About sacrifice. About loyalty. About violence. About mistakes. What is civilization? What does it mean to be a "man"? Is hope enough?

*****
Read more opinions here:
Nymeth of Things Mean A Lot
Chris of Stuff as Dreams Are Made On
Renay of YA Fabulous
Amanda of The Zen Leaf
Vivienne of Serendipity
Becky of Becky's Book Reviews
Sheila Ruth of Wands and Worlds
Lenore of Presenting Lenore
Aimee of My Fluttering Heart
I know there are more reviews out there as well, and I apologize for not getting them all. If yours is one I missed, please feel free to leave a link in the comments and I'll add it here. Thanks.

15 comments:

Michelle said...

This just bumped up to the top of my TBR pile. I've been reading too much YA fluff and need something serious and raw to cleanse my brain!

Amanda said...

I'm glad you loved it, Debi. That thing that happens 3/4 of the way it - well, I never connected with that particular character, and I think that's what made the book anticlimactic for me. I didn't care about that crux point. I feel so guilty for saying that. Sigh. Ah well. We all have our own books that break us to pieces, right?

Kailana said...

I didn't love this book as much as other people, but I did really like it! Unlike Amanda, I did connect with that particular character and I am still very unimpressed with how things played out! I have the sequel on the way in the mail... I'd ask if you are reading, but maybe you don't own and there is your whole book ban... *ahem*

Chris said...

I know just what you mean Debi. I feel exactly the same as you...this one is fighting it out with American Gods and Speaker for the Dead in my head right now. It's definitely right there with them. Easily my favorite read of the year. You know, what I can say about this book is that I've never ever connected this much emotionally with a book. I can guarantee you that I will read every book that Ness puts out for the rest of my life. Just amazing, huh? Such a powerful book. THIS is what books can do! I broke my ban for The Ask and the Answer :p I just had to!! How could I not??

DesLily said...

ohhh how i love when a book makes me feel i have just read the "best book of my life"... don't we wish we could find more books that make us feel that way?!

Debi said...

Michelle,
Well, serious and raw definitely apply to this one! I so hope you connect with it as much as I did.

Amanda,
No need for feeling guilty! No way is everyone going to connect to the same characters in the same way...we're all different people. And I know that I sure as hell don't want us all to be identical beings...that's too horrendously boring to even contemplate! I do hope you like The Ask and the Answer more though...have you started it yet?

Kailana,
My husband says that if ever my ban needed broken, it's with this book. He's insisting on buying it for me...and I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't put up much of a fight.

Chris,
You know, it sounds like you and I had pretty much the same experience with this book. And it's honestly good to know I'm not alone...otherwise, I might worry a bit about myself. I mean this was just the most emotional reading experience I've ever had. I think Rich was actually worrying a bit about me there during that last hundred pages or so.
And you know, I can't even give you hell for breaking the buying ban...if ever it deserved to be broken... Besides, Rich is insisting on buying it for me, too...and like I just told Kelly, I really just can't put up much argument about it.

Debi said...

DesLily,
YAY!!! I'm so glad to hear you just found another winner, too! And I can't wait to get over to your blog to find out what it is. :D

Nymeth said...

Wait until you read #TA&TA, Debi...I haven't read The Stand yet (I will, though!), but I really think its position is seriously threatened. SO glad you loved this <3

Jean said...

I'm not sure I want to read a book that might make me sob or even just cry. Movies are bad enough in that regard. FYI, I'm heading to the National Book Festival on Saturday. No Neil this year, but there are a few others I want to hear speak, Lois Lowry and Sue Monk Kid among them. Ken Burns will be there, too.

Susan said...

This sounds really interesting. I hadn't even heard about it until bloggers began talking about it! If it chucked The Stand off your #1 place, then it is some book! And don't worry about plot etc - it's enough to know that this book really moved you, that's the highest accolade any writing can get.

Debi said...

Nymeth,
You know, while I trust you implicitly, I find it so hard to believe that The Ask and The Answer can be even better than The Knife. I hope my heart can handle it! I have to admit that I feel guilty for not fighting Rich about buying it for me as that really does got against the heart of the ban, but on the other hand, I just can't put up any resistance. ;)

Jean,
I am not jealous, I am not jealous, I am not jealous. You didn't see through that, did you? ;) I'm sure you'll have oodles of fun...and I sincerely hope you have better weather this year! Lois Lowry is coming to MCC next month. Probably don't have to say how excited Annie is, do I?

Susan,
Have you picked this one up yet? I do hope you will...it's intense, but think you might really enjoy it! (Well, "enjoy"?...you know what I mean.)

Melody said...

OK, I need to move this book up my pile!! :D

Yikes, I haven't read The Stand either! I need to tell myself over and over again that I should NOT be intimidated by thick books, LOL.

Aimee said...

Hi :)

I have a review that you could add to the list *shy*

http://myflutteringheart.blogspot.com/2009/08/book-review-knife-of-never-letting-go.html

Debi said...

Melody,
Yes, you do...I have a strong feeling you'll really love this one. And about the loooong books--I have the same problem.

Aimee,
No need to be shy around here! Thanks for the link! And I just went and read your review--it was fabulous!

Trish said...

Sounds like your experience with reading this one was how I reacted to Speak--tough reading but so impactful. I've decided--next time I get that 40% coupon to Borders, I'm getting this book!! Ooooh, maybe I'll get the email in time for the read-a-thon!