WARNING: This post contains major spoilers! If you haven’t read More Than This by Patrick Ness and you plan on doing so, don’t read ahead!! Instead, click here to view my review without any spoilers.
Author: Patrick Ness
Number of Pages: 472
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: September 1, 2013
“A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . .”
I decided to write two separate reviews of this book because it lends itself more to discussion after you’ve read it. There’s just so much that is unknown going into it that there’s not much to talk about beforehand. So let’s get on with this spoiler-filled review, shall we?
What really surprised me about this book was the fact that it turned into more of a dystopian novel when Seth found Regine and Tomasz. I don’t know what I was expecting when I first starting reading it, but I have to say that I sort of believed the whole “this might be Hell” theory that Seth formed in the very beginning. Lately I’ve been rather reluctant to read anything dystopian, because a lot of the books in that genre nowadays are extremely similar to one another. However, this was a truly original story that I did not see coming at all. Also, the lingering question in Seth’s mind of whether or not it was all in his head gave the story a sense of mystery more than anything else. Up until the very end I was still questioning that fact myself.
Another thing that surprised me was that romance was not a major component of the story. It took place in the flashbacks that Seth experienced, particularly with Gudmund and the reasons why Seth committed suicide. But to me it felt more like a supporting character than the leading role, contrary to how it is in most young adult books. There was enough of it to satisfy the hungry romantics out there, but not so much that it took away from the real meat of the story. It was a nice change, a refreshing difference- that’s really the word I would use to describe this book. Refreshing.
One of the best things about More Than This is the incredible amount of twists and turns. Throughout the entire book, right up until the very last page, I felt as though I had no idea what was going to happen next. And that is such a cool feeling! Normally when I read books I have a pretty good idea where the story is probably headed. But with this book, I was completely at the mercy of every word on every page. Sure, I had my predictions, but they were way off track. For example, my original theory was that it was all simply a weird dream/hallucination that he was having as he was being crushed against the rock in the ocean. Never did I actually think that it was real life, and that the world Seth had died in was actually more of an online simulation.
When I first finished the book, I was actually a little angry with how it ended. Why did Patrick Ness have to write such an amazing, clever, beautiful book and then not even tell us what Seth decided to do with his life? Why couldn’t he have told us if going back and forth between the simulation and the actual world worked, or if Seth chose to stay in one or the other eventually? And what about Regine and Tomasz? Surely they couldn’t live in the broken world forever? All of these questions flooded my mind, and then I realized: that’s the whole point. That’s why the book title is so perfect for the story- not only is Seth constantly wondering if there is more, but the reader is as well. To have a perfectly satisfying ending that answered every question would have been completely out of character with the rest of the story.
Needless to say, I absolutely loved this book. It was beyond refreshing to read a book that was filled with new ideas, clever plot twists, and an utterly unique take on the dystopian genre. If you’re looking for a gripping read that you won’t be able to put down, definitely pick this one up!
My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5 smileys.
Would I recommend it to a friend?: Definitely! I think it’s a story that many people can relate with, even if it’s only just one aspect of it. It really extends the boundary of the young adult genre, especially with the underlying existential question always present: Is there really more than this? It’s not your typical YA novel, which is what I love about it.
Have you read this book before? What did you think of it? Are there any books written by Patrick Ness that you would recommend? Let me know in the comments section below!