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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Male Violence And Male Identity

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

Technically, The Knife Of Never Letting Go is a work of science fiction in that it's set at an indefinite time in the future, on a planet colonised by settlers from Earth, and aliens feature (very marginally) among the cast of characters. But that's as far as the generic elements go. The basic premise of the book is an exploration of male violence and male identity. It's a compelling read, every chapter ending in a cliff-hanger, so that the reader is as driven as the central character, Todd Hewitt, a boy on the cusp of manhood who is beginning to discover that everything he's ever been told about the history of the settlement in which he was brought up is a pack of malicious lies. For me, though, it's just that bit too violent, just that bit too bleak.