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?
Nothing gets me ‘into’ a story quicker than trying to escape another story that’s boring me. That’s what happened here. I’d started to read Holidays are Hell (an anthology; which I’m not good with anyway). I was only reading it for Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan short. Unfortunately after a while I found myself skipping whole paragraphs trying to avoid whatever his name was; him with the awkward flowery speech. And avoid him I did.
This was my second venture into dystopic fiction, and, again (because I loved The Hunger Games), I really liked it. I read it for March’s Book Club over at Calico Reaction. I’d voted for it, so I was looking forward to it even though I’ve still to read The Curse of the Charlion from January (I don’t know why I’m having issues finishing that. Maybe because I haven’t given myself time to actually get into it properly) I didn’t matter to me that I didn’t read it in the allotted time. I was just pleased I’d read it, having failed to read Charlion.
I liked Todd. I liked the tone of his voice. The informal dialogue worked really well and I settled into it right away. I loved that he had a god damn dog that he didn’t god damn want. I loved Manchee. Manchee made me smile.
I’m not sure why certain words were spelt a certain way but it didn’t interfere with the reading. They are phonically correct; it was usually ‘tion’ words (statshun, communicashun) but I don’t know if this had any meaning to it.
The one thing that irritated me (although irritated may be a little strong); why didn’t they just read the bloody book? Okay, It must be horrid and embarrassing not being able to read, and seemingly not knowing anything about much at all, but if he’d just let Viola read that bloody book he might have got a clue.
I couldn’t help but root for him though. The more you read the more you realise how vulnerable he is. It’s heart breaking. He’s helpless and everything is out of his control. He can’t even kill when he really, really needs to (except obviously that one time when I really didn’t want him to.. No one wanted him to!). Things got so bad at one point that he starts hallucinating, and his personality splits. It was hard to feel any kind of hope.
It didn’t grip me as The Hunger Games did, and it really isn’t a happy read. At least with the Hunger Games I felt that there was hope. I didn’t feel that reading this. But it was compelling; you want to read on.
The message I’m left with is ignorance breeds ignorance. But I’m not sure that’s the right one. I don’t know if I’m going to read the next in the series as I’ve heard that it doesn’t get any better for Todd or Viola, and that just fills me with dread.
Rating: 5/6 – Really Liked It