After hearing so much good stuff about Patrick Ness on the internet and in the print media, I thought I’d bite the bullet and buy the first part of his Chaos Walking trilogy. And I am so glad I did.Todd is twelve, it will soon be his thirteenth birthday when he’ll become a man. He’s the only boy in a town full of men; all the women died during the war against the Spackle, the native creatures of the world on which people settled for a new beginning. This war released the germ which makes it possible to hear people’s thoughts. Apparently. Yet Todd stumbles across Viola, an actual living, breathing girl; and she’s silent-he cannot hear her thoughts. And this means he needs to leave.This is really a remarkable novel. it is incredibly fast paced; I read the majority of it in a day without really realising that I had. Your heart literally pounds as Todd and Viola try and escape the approaching Prentisstown army. As it is told from the perspective of Todd, Ness really does manage to capture the way a 12 year old would speak, and in the writing there are numerous spelling/grammar mistakes, as Todd didn’t attend school (it was viewed as detrimental). Todd is a really great character as well, he isn’t generically good or bad-he’s just a normal, frightened and confused kid. Viola is also a great female character, she is occasionally in danger, but is no damsel in distress, she’s sometimes even more clear-headed than Todd.The ‘bad guys’ are pretty damn bad. There’s Aaron, a slightly deranged preacher who has taken the ‘message of God’ a little too far, and has used faith to twist people’s beliefs. Then there’s the mysterious Major Prentiss, about whom we know little, and then there’s his son; a fifteen year old who is incredibly brutal.It’s difficult to discuss the book without really spoiler-ing it; but I really do, highly recommend it. It’s an incredible world and a very, very good story.