Wow. I read this, and all I could think to say was just wow.
I have to admit, I wasn't looking forward to reading it. It was last month's book for the Teenage Reading Group, so I figured I better had do. Took it to my clarinet lesson, to read before it started, read about thirty pages, was thinking it was pretty rubbish. Nice plot, I said, but not well written. It was mostly the 'yer' and all the bad spelling that annoyed me. But wow. Give the book a chance. Don't write it off until you're half way through, and by that point, I can almost guarantee you'll want to finish it.
An absolutely unbelievably good plot. Very original, very interesting, very well created. The characters were fantastic too. Believable, relate-to-able, and Manchee was such a fun character. He's the dog by the way. The talking dog. But don't let yourself be put off by the talking dog. When a book is as incredible as that, the idea of talking animals actually works.
I guess you'd call it sci-fi/fantasy. Set on an alternate world, which has been settled by a group who left Old Earth to live a simple life. But when they arrive, they discover that things aren't quite so great as they'd hoped. For a start, there's the Noise--a disease that affects every man and means that their thoughts are blurted out for the whole world to hear. And because of the randomness of human thoughts (just think how off topic you can go, how many different levels of thoughts you can have at once), it can be quite infuriating.
In the village where Todd Hewitt is growing up, all the women are dead, killed by the same germ that created the Noise. But then Todd stumbles upon a spot of silence. And discovers a girl. All of a sudden, everything he's been taught his whole life is revealed to be lies, and he has to flee the village. And warn the people in the non-existent other villages, which he discovers are all too real. An army is on the march. The army made up of all the people from his town. And they're determined to kill both him and the girl he discovered.
Strongly recommend this book to anyone at all. An absolute must read, and I can totally understand why it's got nominated for various different awards. Wow.