My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say”
With that loud bang of first sentence, this fast-pacing page-turning make-your-heart-beating and not for the fainthearted book begins.
The dog is Manchee, a (it turns out) loyal, friendly, funny and (sometimes) fierce, talking dog that reminds me to Dug on Up (the movie with the balloons if you don’t remember…. YOU DON’T REMEMBER “UP” ?!!!). The boy is Todd Hewitt, the last boy of Prentisstown – the last settlement in the New World, who is walking Manchee to the swamp to find some quiet because “the swamp is the only place anywhere near Prentisstown where you can have half a break from all the Noise that men spill outta theirselves, all their clamour and clatter that never lets up, even when they sleep, men and the thoughts they don’t know they think even when everyone can hear. Men and their Noise”.
Apparently the New World have the gift of Noise that enabled men to sound their thoughts, enabled every men to hear every other men’s thoughts. It’s the leftover from the war, the war men had with The Spackles, alien-like creatures that was original inhabitant of New World. Even though men won the war, The Spackles had successfully spread the Noise germ, the germ that create the Noise of men, the germ that killed all women in New World. That was the history of New World that being passed down generation to generation, from father to son, from man to boy, to Todd, the last boy of Prentisstown, 12 year and 12 month, another thirty days to being a man (with two moons, it was thirteen month for a year in New World).
Being the last boy surrounded by full grown men, the world of Todd is full of boy’s problem: loneliness, no dad, no mother (dad died in the war, mom died because of the germ), strain of farming chores (being raised by Ben and Cillian, the farmers that was Todd’s dad and mom’s neighbor) and a seemingly stupid troublesome dog, a birthday gift he don’t even want. Wich he walked to the swamp that day. That fateful day when he found…. quiet. A hole in the Noise, “like a shape you can’t see except by how everything else around it is touching it. Like water in the shape of a cup, but with no cup”.
The thought of quiet, heard by Ben and Cillian, when Todd came back to town, made them “‘Oh my God’, and then, without even moving or looking away, he says, ‘We have to get you outta here. We have to get you outta here right now‘”.
And that was only the last sentence of page 39 of the book. From there on it was only thrill, a roller coaster journey of young Todd Hewitt escaping from a town who become an army, into another settlement, bringing with him the quiet, which turn out to be in the shape of a girl. Viola Eade. What he thought was real turn out to be lies, his life, and the girl’s life in danger, and the world is not what he think it is. Reality, turn out to be a scary, horrid thing. And men can be monster.
WHAT A BOOK. WHAT A BOOK. For a 25 years old, I was surprised that a book with “Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize” could be that scary, thrilling, and wonderful wonderful book for a grown up. I stumbled into this novel, the first of Chaos Walking Trilogy in Periplus Plaza Senayan. It only took me the backcover synopsis and four point something rating on Goodreads to buy all the trilogy at once. And turn out it was not a disappointing buy. I recommend it to everyone. READ THIS BOOK EVERYBODY, READ THIS BOOK.
I only write this review to brace myself and ready my heart to start reading, The Ask and The Answer, part two of this trilogy.