Genre: YA Dystopia

Notes: Book 16/50.  YA Dystopia is my bread and freaking butter.  I’m slightly ashamed that my reading tastes will never grow up, but then again, I don’t care.

Review: First of all, I need to stop starting trilogies.  I went to the library and this book looked interesting and, lo and behold, it is a dystopic trilogy.  This novel is set in a different world where you can hear everyone’s thoughts. Even animals.  Well, technically not everyone.  No one can hear women’s thoughts.

We follow Todd, the last boy who is not a man in Prentisstown.  Boys become men at age 13 through a ceremony that does not get revealed until much later in the book, and Todd only has a month to go. Except Prentisstown isn’t what it seems and Todd meets Viola Eades, a settler from Earth with her family (who is now dead) to get ready for the rest of their ship to land.

I really, really, really wanted to love this book.  I like it, I will read the other two, but it didn’t draw me in like most other novels of its kind do.  The writing (intentional misspellings, the Noise in a different font, Todd himself) took some getting used to, and I found it slightly annoying. Also, I don’t think Todd’s importance is explained well enough for me.  In the novel, Todd is chased by an entire army made up of thousands of men from Prentisstown and other towns along the way, and they never let up.  Ever.  But why?  Just ignore Todd and carry out your plan.  I don’t see how he makes you stronger.  It doesn’t make any sense!  Perchance I am too old to be reading these types of novels, but I still demand a well-written story.

This book did, however, give me a lot to think about.  I found it interesting that what seems to be the most religious, fanatic town (Prentisstown) is the cursed town and as Todd and Viola run to Haven (which sounds an awful lot like Heaven) with only Hope.  Hope that Haven will be able to protect them.  Hope that Haven actually exists.  Hope that they can finally stop running.  However, they are disappointed with what they find there.  (Disappointed is an understatement, but I don’t want to give anything away)  Maybe I’m reading too into this book, but Ness doesn’t seem to be a fan of religion and how far off track it can get.  People can do anything in the name of religion and call it right – even if they are committing murder.  And Haven’s lack of a Haven for Todd and Viola crushes any hope you have for this fictional world.  Frankly, quite a few YA books have this similar theme.  A theme of balance and thinking for yourself instead of letting other people make decisions for you – even if it is in the name of religion.  It’s an interesting and sticky subject, especially with the political battles going on today.

Bottom Line: Ness likes to give you hope and then stab you through the heart.  Can’t we all just get along?