Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown.
But Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.
Or are there?
Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.
Which is impossible.
Prentisstown has been lying to him.
The things I really liked about the book:
- The world in general. I liked the overall construction of the world, the specifics of how it came about and hints of where it was going.
- The adventure aspects of the story. The pacing of the excitement was well executed, and there was always something to keep me reading. In addition, although the whole book was a continuous chase towards a single goal, it didn’t feel repetitive or drawn out.
- The points that the book made with me– messages on the nature of violence, on what it means to be a man, on the need for individuals and for a society to work together. I appreciated the moral dilemmas that were raised along the way.
On the other hand:
- I had to take the book as figurative rather than literal in many ways, which is difficult for me. There were interesting aspects of the book that simply did hold together for me when taken to their logical extremes– particularly Prentisstown’s history.
- This book was extremely graphically violent in a few spots. This wasn’t gratuitous, but was deeply embedded in both the plot of the book and the points I saw the book as trying to make, the ones I mentioned above. I would have been a little less bothered by this in print than I was listening to the audio.
- At one point, the main character makes a decision that would have been unforgivable for an adult character. I had to wrestle with whether I could get past it with a 13 year old boy. Again, the audio gave me some problems here in that the narrator sounded like a much older teen, and I had to remind myself that Todd really was just a kid.
- Viola’s character wasn’t as fully realized as I think a secondary lead should be. I know the story really and truly is about Todd, but I think more depth should have been put into this character.
Overall, this is a very powerful book, with an interesting story and raising questions I’ll be thinking about long after finishing the book.
Narrator: Nick Podehl was a very effective narrator, doing an excellent job of telling the story and portraying Todd’s emotions. Unfortunately (as I mentioned above) he sounded too old for the part.
Production: The book was nicely produced. There was a small, non-intrusive, use of special effects when really called for, and of music at the beginning and end of sections. I thought both did the job that they were intended to.
Audio vs. Print: Overall, I felt the audio was very well done. My only real issue with it was one that normally doesn’t bother me, the one I mentioned above. I think the story is different when enacted by an older teen.
On the other hand, I think the audio really brought out the emotion of the story, and the adventure aspect works well in the audio format.
I recommend (with reservations) the audio.