Welcome to New World. Just over twenty years ago, human settlers arrived and began to build a new society, but they were not alone. There are no more women. There are no more children. There is no more privacy. Every man and beast is infected with the Noise germ, projecting every thought, idea and feeling for all to hear. There is no escaping the Noise.
Born after the war with the natives, Todd Hewitt is one month from his birthday…from becoming a man, and is the youngest person in Prentisstown, and, for all he knows, New World. He has never known a world without Noise. Frustrated at being the only boy left, Todd sees the incomprehensible changes in the people he’s known once they become men…once they shut him out. Alone, wandering with his dog, Manchee, he discovers something quiet in the swamp, something quiet and moving. He tries to hide it, but eventually reveals his discovery through his Noise and he is suddenly being hunted. Along with Manchee, a pack with food, clothes, meds and a diary left to him by his mother, Todd is persuaded to leave…his adoptive parents had been planning his escape for eleven years, but why? Pursued by the men of Prentisstown, they find the quiet in the swamp, a girl, who by all reason shouldn’t be alive.
Together, they run.
As the story unfolds, the reader is taken on an elaborate journey through the history of New World, Prentisstown and Todd’s struggle into manhood. Patrick Ness crafts the story using first-person narrative interspersed with stream-of-consciousness that expertly links the protagonist to the reader’s psyche and implicates the chaos that comes from permeating thoughts. The first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, this book is fast-paced and addictive, even if the title is awkward. Todd’s revelations throughout the book will stir the most basic feelings in readers, as so much that was once known is proven false. Questions of how constant connection to one another’s inner-most thoughts can permeate and shape our society are also forced to be confonted.
This engaging and thought-provoking book is highly recommended for readers, both adult and teen, men and women, who enjoy dystopian realism with a science fiction twist. The other books in the series include: The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.