The Knife of Never Letting Go has one perfect creation, and that is Manchee, the lead character’s dog. Knife can be recommended for Manchee alone, because, as is not uncommon with dogs in literature, his is the soul that lives long after the book is through. But Knife is also a young adult novel of well-paced suspense, of excellent revelation, and of the kind of science fiction that marries the unknown to the slightly familiar, making it read like a novel in translation, if the translating were done by, say, you.Knife isn’t frustration free: Todd can seem criminally obtuse at times, in a manner that propels the plot but not necessarily your patience, and the long-awaited Explanation is coincidentally delayed one time too many. There’s a problem too in that the highs and lows of this novel, being so great, will be difficult to sustain over a series. Lines have been crossed; lives are lost. Some characters are perfectly realized, and others drawn so heavily with the brush of archetype that they aren’t left much room to move as human beings. A second novel doesn’t even seem necessary, to be honest, because we have been through the ringer quite enough in Book One. Nevertheless, the thinking seems to be that if it’s not a Trilogy, it’s not YA. I’m hopeful Book Two sustains the thrilling story and breakneck pace – without throwing the emotional honestly and genuine feeling of these characters under the rush of hooves – because Knife is, in places, absolutely magical. I gasped, laughed, and cried for this book. The rest had better be worth it.