Title: More Than This
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: Young Adult | Science Fiction > Dystopia
Synopsis: A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies. Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place? As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?
Would I recommend? To people who aren’t too plot-oriented, but enjoy the thought process and philosophy behind a novel.
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
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I’ve been slightly obsessed with Patrick Ness for a couple of months now. I started his Chaos Walking trilogy last December, and I thought the first book was good. The second installment blew my mind. The third and final book ruined me in the best way possible. I then proceeded to go to the Strand and buy both ‘A Monster Calls’ as well as ‘More Than This.’ I liked the former, but I guess my expectations were so high that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to. As for ‘More Than This,’ I just thought it would be – how can I say this without sounding cheesy – more than this.
It’s weird. When I would pick this book up, I would read a ton of pages altogether, flying through them at lightning speed. But when I would put it down, it would take me a day or two to pick it back up.
Don’t get me wrong. This book is, in no way, a bad book. Patrick Ness deals with a number of difficult issues including kidnapping, homosexuality, acceptance and abuse. He does them in a unique way, unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Part of this novel can be categorized as contemporary, but on the whole, this book is a dystopian.
For some strange reason, I thought it would be entirely contemporary when going into it, but I was surprised. I’m still not sure if it was a pleasant surprise, though. Perhaps someone may enjoy it much more than I did if they knew what they were getting into. Often, I will say to the people reading my reviews, “Go into this without knowing too much.” For this, I would like to say, “Figure out what you’re reading first to avoid disappointment.”
There isn’t one plot in this book. I can argue that there are two with several subplots in between those two as well. There is a dystopian plot, and there is a contemporary-ish plot. My problem with this book is that they were both so vastly different that it sometimes felt like I was reading two books rather than just one. I think the premise of this novel is interesting. Patrick Ness is imaginative beyond understanding, and he took risks with this novel, but unfortunately, those risks didn’t really pay off. I was more invested in the flashbacks/contemporary storyline than I was in the dystopian one, and that’s something I don’t often say. If Ness ever decides to release a book focused solely on the main protagonist’s flashbacks (unlikely), I would pick it up in a second. There was just too much going on for me to actually get into it.
Also, the end was frustrating. I read this entire book to know what was actually happening, what was not happening, what was going to happen. In the end, nothing is actually resolved. It’s way too open for my liking, almost like there’s room for an entire new book. I didn’t like that.
The characters are what gave this book life. There is a vast cast of characters, and unbelievably, you’re invested in almost all of them. Also, there’s so much diversity: we have white characters, a kick-ass black female, an adorable Polish child, and even a cop with an Arab name. Usually, if I was reading any other book or any other author, I would think it felt too forced, but not in this one.
I loved how each character had a very distinct personality. Their voices were strong and easily distinguishable. The protagonist and the main side characters were lovable. I felt very invested in their story lines, and perhaps this investment and care for them is what allowed me to continue reading.
But like I said before, this investment doesn’t really pay off because of that open ending. It’s unfortunate.
Patrick Ness is a fantastic writer. I will say that til the end of my days, even if he gives me a book in the future that I absolutely despise. He has a way to suck you in. He is imaginative, and his characters feel real. He raises important issues and tackles them with tremendous grace. His writing is not gimicky. It’s not forced. Even if you don’t like a book he has written, it still makes you feel something. He may disappoint you because of how much you love his writing, but this love will never fade.