What’s it all about?:
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?
From multi-award-winning Patrick Ness comes one of the most provocative and moving novels of our time.
What did I think?:
More Than This was a book I read way back in February for my Real Books monthly challenge from one of my new favourite authors, Patrick Ness who at the moment can’t put a foot wrong with me. It’s a book I’ve been wanting to read for a while now, the simple but very appealing cover calling to me every time I saw it in bookshops. Then my sister and fellow blogger, Chrissi Reads read it and told me next to nothing about it, assuring me that it was the sort of book you just had to experience for yourself. Now having read it and knowing exactly what she’s talking about, I realise that it’s going to be very very hard to review!
The synopsis tells you absolutely everything that you need to know and actually very little about the story in general, which is a good thing and which is why I’m going to try and make this review as spoiler free as possible. Our main character is Seth and in his life before his death he was involved with Gudmund, the love of his life. By the way, can I just get a quick hooray for a lead gay character? Throughout the novel, we get little flashbacks of Seth’s life before his death (mainly through his dreams) and it is truly “tear your heart into little shreds and stomp on it for good measure” heart-breaking. When he “wakes,” he is naked, cold and appears to have been transported back to his childhood home before all the events that led up to his death went down. The strangest thing about this place he has arrived in is that it is deathly quiet and there is no sign of any other life apart from Seth itself, not even any animals. The place resembles a ghost town and is incredibly eerie. Is it an after-life? Is Seth in hell? He clearly remembers dying and then… this.
Luckily, Seth is not on his own for too long. There are two other teenagers, tough talking Regine with a harrowing back story and the boy she looks after, her little loyal shadow Tomasz who I fell in love with almost immediately. They are a great help to Seth as he struggles to adjust to this new place – scavenging clothes and food from shops, riding around on bicycles and an entity in a helmet that appears to be after the three of them, the creepy and other-worldly Driver. The three youngsters learn a lot about friendship, trust, love, loyalty, loss and life as they all get used to this new life but all three are going to have to cope with something a lot larger than they expected. That is, re-visiting events that happened to them in their past and discovering the true meaning of this thing we call existence.
Wow. Just wow. This book is so amazing on so many levels and I am in complete awe of the beauty and sheer mastery of Patrick Ness’ writing. It makes me angry when people are snobbish about the YA market and don’t give it a fair chance because along comes a book like this which just knocks you for six and re-defines the whole genre. It’s not going to appeal to everyone I don’t think, some may find it a bit too vague for their tastes and the ending is most definitely ambiguous if you don’t like that sort of thing. However, if you’re interested in all the big questions in life – why are we here, what is the point of life etc this book provides all the answers you need while still leaving you feeling like you’re not sure what just happened! The characters are beautiful, the plot is heart-rending and it gives the reader a little bit of everything for every kind of reader. You like dystopian? Yup, that’s here. How about a mystery? Oh yes. Fantasy? Science fiction? Even romance? You got it. Patrick Ness just keeps getting better and better in my opinion and I’m so glad I discovered him.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):