Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.
I really looked forward to this book and heard so many great things about it-great dystopia, gripping plot with everone able to hear each others thoughts, great characters and a cool talking dog! Ooh it sounded like exactly my kind of book. Until I started reading it.
Lets start with Todd. Frankly the boy is a little shit. He is a troublemaker with no respect for the people trying to keep him safe and is determined to keep getting into trouble for not following the rules. He has a sweet dog called Manchee that he can communicate with but he treats the dog like crap. He never wanted the dog and hates having to put up with it all the time for company, so what does he do? He slaps the poor dog around. If there is one thing I hate in my MCs it is cruelty to animals. I wish Manchee had torn the git's throat out but sadly that doesn't happen.
So Todd has to go on the run to stay alive once he has uncovered the secrets that the adults are trying to hide. What a shame they didn't do it. There is nothing to like about this boy and for me there was no redeeming features about him. No charm, no humour, nothing. Just a cruel and angry boy yelling at his dog and sulking all the time. The other characters we come across are not really any better. Our heroine has no real depth or personality about her though granted she is a better person than Todd, which wouldn't be difficult.
Then we have the fact that everyone talks in slang which I find really offputting in a book. I am a naturally fast reader and when I'm enjoying a book I can read it quickly-and yes I do read every word! But when I have to keep stopping to reread words or work out what the hell they are talking about, it doesn't just slow me down, it interrupts the flow of the book and that reduces my enjoyment of the reading experience. I didn't get why we had to have the slang and for me it added nothing to an already slow and turgid plot. Then we had the jumbled and incomprehensible thoughts of everyone Todd came into contact with-yes I know that was a big part of the plot but having it all jumbled up in one big nose in amongst the slang was just annoying. There are also pages full of scribbles that there seemed to be no point to and I rapidly lost interest in the whole thing.
When you add in the dead enemy that they fought with that wasn't really explained, I just thought the whole thing was a confusing mess. Maybe you find out more about all that later on but I wasn't interested enough to stick around to find out. It was actually when I read the reviews of other readers that I found out what happened later in the series-which makes me very glad that I didn't continue. What the author chose to do to the one decent character would have had me throwing away the book in disgust at that point. So I'm glad I didn't get that far.
I'm not going to be reading anything else by this author as I found his writing to be the opposite of what I like to read. It just wasn't for me in any way.