Parents' Guide to

The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking, Book 1

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Exciting but violent dystopian thriller for teens.

The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking, Book 1 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 9+

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 12+

Great book to use in discussion

So many great points of discussion from genocide, information overload, standing up for what's right, deciding what kind of person you are going to be.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6 ):
Kids say (36 ):

Don't even think of reading this book if you don't like being left at a cliffhanger -- the one here is a doozy.

In the course of this lengthy, complex, suspenseful, and emotional novel, the first in a proposed series called Chaos Walking, the author raises many issues for discussion, among them gender roles and relations, the place of killing in our society, religion, utopianism, what growing up really means, and (in an allegorical way) the cost of our information-saturated culture. He also includes possibly the best talking-dog character in all of literature, a dog who talks just exactly the way you'd imagine a dog would, to endearing and devastating effect.

Up until the cliffhanger, the suspense has ratcheted up and up, as has the graphic violence -- if they make a movie version of this, it will surely earn an R rating. Though too violent for younger readers, for mature teens this is a first-rate, thought-provoking, fast-moving thriller.

Book Details

  • Author: Patrick Ness
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: September 1, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 12
  • Number of pages: 479
  • Last updated: April 25, 2021

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