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?
(synopsis taken from Goodreads)
I pretty much went into reading this book completely blind. I had no idea what I was expecting other than a group of settlers who can hear each others thoughts. But it was so much more than that!
Todd, or main character, is twelve (Well, technically if you want to use earth-time he’s almost fourteen, because this planet that they’re on has a thirteen-month year instead of a twelve-month year), and in about a month’s time he’ll be thirteen, or what’s considered a man in his little settlement, Prentisstown. Everyone in Prentisstown is male, and everyone can hear each other’s thoughts. It’s said that years ago, when Todd was a baby, the alien species already on the planet decided that they didn’t want neighbors. So they released biological weapons. One created the Noise (what the people of Prentisstown call hearing the thoughts of others), one allowed animals to talk, and one created a virus that killed all the women. Or so they say. But something just didn’t feel quite right about it.
And the Noise (capital “N”)…every time Todd would hear the Noise it would be written in a rough sort of font, because the Noise sounds rough to Todd. It was interesting, really…it must be living in a world where everyone is always yelling, all the time, right in your ear.
My favorite part about the book? The talking animals by far. The author didn’t make them extremely intelligent or human-like. They still talk like how you’d expect an animal to talk. Todd’s dog, Manchee, is a perfect example of this.
“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.
“Need a poo, Todd.”
“Poo. Poo, Todd.”
“I said shut it.”
I also can’t continue on without mentioning the sheep.
“Hello, sheep!” Tam shouts.
“Sheep!” say the sheep.
You see? Exactly what what you’d expect an animal to be saying.
Now, I’ve heard that some people didn’t really like Todd, but I did. He’s a bit rough around the edges, yes. He’s a bit sharp, but he’s also sincere and sweet, even if he tries not to show it. And Viola, the girl he finds who comes with him, is an equally flawed, interesting character, and the two have such great chemistry together, even if I got no sense of a romantic attachment (another thing I liked!).
My one problem lay with the slang that they used. It took me a good third of the book to get used to it, because I kept getting caught up on the misspellings. They say “tho” instead of “though,” “cuz” instead of “because” or “’cause”, and it’ll be stuff like “informayshun” instead of “information”. The book would just be starting to flow, then someone would say “informayshun”, and the flow would halt. But I did eventually get used to it.
Basically, I need the next book right now, please and thank you.