I don't know what to say about this book. I kind of hated it? But I couldn't stop reading.
Todd is the last boy in Prentisstown, the only settlement on the New World. He'll turn thirteen (thirteen years of thirteen months, on the New World) in just a month, and then there won't be any more boys. No boys, no women. Just a bunch of men who can hear each other's thoughts in an endless buzz of Noise, drowning out clarity and sanity. The planet's native intelligent lifeforms, the Spackles, released the Noise germ during the war with the humans (the Spacks practiced biological warfare, the humans fought with arms), and after the germ drove some of the men to insanity and killed all of the women, the Spackles were exterminated.
Those are the things Todd knows to be true, but when he finds a silent spot in the swamp and the two men who raised him send him fleeing Prentisstown with a map, his talking dog (yes, all of the animals on the New World can also talk, thanks to another Spackle germ), and his mother's journal, Todd starts finding out that he might not really know anything at all.
This is a violent, hopeless book, and I think I just can't forgive it the hopelessness. Todd is annoying, proud and powerless and completely impotent. He is incapable of making a decision or taking action, and when he finally DOES SOMETHING, it's something so horrible that I just hate him for. How do you even keep reading a book when the main character, the person who's head you're living in, is both obnoxious and morally repugnant?
Ack. I'm still going to read the sequel. I don't know what that says about me or the book.