More Than This

Zoe N. | July 4, 2014 | Review

More Than This

More Than This

by Patrick Ness

Genre: YA Science-Fiction
Published: September 10th, 2013
by Candlewick Press

three-half-stars

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Summary:

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?

Review:

You have now crossed into…

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As my introduction to the wonderfulness that is Patrick Ness, I won’t hesitate in saying that I was very, very pleased with this. There’s a reason why Patrick is such a successful author in the YA genre, and this is story is certainly evidence of why he has the following he does.

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Ness doesn’t waste any time getting into the gritty details of his book. Within the first 3 pages, we witness the tragic and painful death of a boy we will later come to know as Seth – our protagonist.

Here is the boy, drowning.

As much as he struggles, the current is just too powerful for him. The boy – Seth – dies; but finds himself awake – naked – in a strange, deserted town. Where is he and how is he still alive? Is it heaven? Is it hell? Is there anyone else out there?

Patrick Ness has such a unique, eloquent prose. His writing is extremely wordy – bombarded with extra, unnecessary words – and at first, that completely threw me off in a negative way. But, as the story went on, I found myself connecting with it, and even beginning to enjoy it. Ness also skillfully incorporates flashbacks tot he story to give development to Seth. These flashbacks were wonderfully done; and added to Seth’s backstory gave us a foundation of what his life was like before his death. His writing is truly in art form in every aspect…and I loved it.

I really appreciated the diversity and development in the characters Ness created. Each character has layers upon layers to them that explains why they act the way they do. Each character is likeable in their own way, with flaws that really make them relatable. From Seth and his slight “it’s all about me” attitude, to his unfailing loyalty; to Regine to her tough exterior yet kind heart; to Tomasz and his naivety and optimism, each character managed to capture my heart in one way or another.

“Haven’t you ever felt like there has to be more? Like there’s more out there somewhere, just beyond your grasp, if you could only get to it…”

The main theme of More Than This is the afterlife. What happens when you die? This is such a risky topic to write about because of the variety of different – and very personal – beliefs one may have about it, but Ness covers it wonderfully, and without bias, which I think many readers will appreciate.

As a mystery and supernatural aspects, however, I feel that More Than This failed me. The reveal of where Seth was and what happened to him was revealed within 50% of the story. I was expecting that maybe this would be incorrect – or possibly there would be another twist thrown in – but, alas, there was not. I felt that – compared to other mysteries or supernatural stories – the solution was too simple and it didn’t boggle my mind as much as I really wanted it to.

For obvious reasons, this book has been compared to the TV series Twilight Zone – one of my favorite TV shows of all time. Sadly, however, I hesitate to say that the mystery and supernatural (landing up in a completely different place) aspects lived up to that of the TV series, which I found disappointing.

All in all, this was a really enjoyable read for someone like me who enjoys books that mess with my head. However, in the end, the mystery and supernatural aspects failed me (I’ll blame that on all the Twilight Zone episodes I’ve watched), but, otherwise, this was a darn near perfect novel otherwise.

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three-half-stars

72 comments

  1. I absolutely loved this one too Zoe, it completely messed with my head. Half the time I really had no idea what was going on, but couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those books that’s really unexpected. Another incredible review Zoe, couldn’t agree more.

    1. I’m SO glad you loved it too Kelly! It definitely messed with your head, but it was so darn hard to put down! Thank you! *blushes*

  2. Oooh, you really intrigued me with this one, Zoe. I really want to see for myself the magic of this book. I think I only read Ness’s A MONSTER CALLS, and that one was enough to send me crawling on the floor crying my poor heart’s out. I feel like I would love this one as well since it will push you to think philosophically.

    1. Yeah! Glad you’re intrigued Faye! I haven’t read A Monster Calls yet, but I’ve heard nothing but great things about it, and with my success with this one, I think I’ll consider giving it a try! 😀

      Exactly! Not many reads – especially in the YA genre – put you in that mindset, so that made it something special!

  3. Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors and I cannot believe I still haven’t gotten around to reading this one. This sounds absolutely beautiful.

    Lovely review as always Zoe! <33

    1. This is the only Patrick Ness book I’ve read, and if all his books are as well-done as this, I’m SO a fan of him! 😉

      Thanks Mel! <3

  4. Well, I’m thinking that since I’ve never been that big on Twilight Zone and didn’t watch much of it, that I’ll be just fine reading this book. I’m pretty excited to get around to it.

  5. oh it sounds nice! I’m not that much into sci-fi but I think I could like it after your review. It’s the first time I hear about this one but I’m intrigued. great review!

    1. Glad to hear you’re intrigued Melliane! It’s definitely worth the read – even if sci-fi isn’t your normal genre! 😀

    1. Missie – it’s definitely worth the read! Because of my love of Twilight Zone, though, I guess I was just expecting a little bit more in terms of the supernatural / sci-fi aspects though.

  6. I’ve never been a fan of The Twilight Zone which means I might enjoy this book a lot. And I love characters that are complex with layers upon layers…that’s a plus for me. I will definitely give this book a chance! Fabulous review Zoe! 😉

    1. Cristina – It definitely has a Twilight Zone vibe in terms of the concept, so if you’re not a fan of the show, I’m interested in seeing whether or not you enjoy it. The characters were wonderful, and I’m glad to hear you like the sound of them!

      Glad to hear you’re going to give it a try! Thanks Cristina! <3

  7. Ooh, I definitely agree. I gave it a 4 though, because I don’t do half ratings BECAUSE GOODREADS DOESN’T DO THEM. *fumes quietly at Goodreads* Anyway. I did love it and I couldn’t get enough and now I’m a dedicated Ness fan. But a little LESS wordy would’ve been brilliant and I also was confused to the logistics. Like was that Driver magical? What the heck was going on with him??

    1. LOL…stupid Goodreads! 😉 I’m so with you. Even though the writing was a bit wordy (especially in the beginning!), I still enjoyed it.

      I’ll DM you on Goodreads so we can discuss it, K?

    1. Thank you Jeann! <3

      The solution was a bit weird, and I didn't feel it fit either. [spoiler]I was expecting it to be something more...science-y, you know? Alternate universe maybe? But a cautionary tale about technology? I wasn't expecting that![/spoiler] I liked how open-ended it was, but I can definitely see why people may not like that. And yes for the philosophical questions!

  8. I’ve heard some great things about this story! I really do want to give it a try, ughhh that cover is so enticing to me. I love simplistic covers like that. I’ve also heard so many great things about Ness’ work so More Than This is actually quite high on my TBR. I also like the sound of the writing, detailed writing like that works for me. It’s also encouraging when the characters are so multi dimensional and have layers, it truly does make them even more interesting to read about. Now that I’m aware that More Than This isn’t that much of a mystery/supernatural novel I feel like I’ll enjoy it more for what it actually is c:

    Lovely review Zoe ! (:

    1. The cover’s AWESOME, isn’t it? <3
      I'm glad this is intriguing to you Larissa! 😀 I so agree about beautiful, detailed writing and well-developed characters!

      It's definitely more of a journey about finding out the purpose of life and why it's worth living rather than a mystery/supernatural novel (says the girl who loves Twilight Zone anyway…) I think going in with that expectation will definitely give you a better experience! 😀

      Thank you!

  9. Patick Ness is one of those authors I have heard so much about but still haven’t read any of his stories. This one sounds really good. I love the sound of his writing the most!! It’s something I really want to experience. Great review 🙂

    1. Tanja – This is my first Patrick Ness book, and it’s SO worth the read! 😀 His writing and storytelling is so masterful, and I hope you end up giving one of his books a try. Thank you!

  10. That’s good you still really liked this one even if it wasn’t quite up to par with The Twilight Zone, since you love the show so much. I still need to read something by this author!!

  11. Ummm…I have not heard of this book before but my interest is definitely piqued.

    I LOVE the Twilight Zone. I used to watch it with my mom all the time since it was her favorite show. I still watch it on Sundays sometimes when I see it on cable. 🙂

    Now I want to check to see if it’s available on Amazon Prime. lol…Thanks for sharing the great review Zoe and reminding me that I’m long over due for a Twilight Zone marathon.

  12. I really struggled with Ness’s reputed Knife of Never Letting Go Series because I hated the fact that so much vital information was kept away from the reader, but this seems to be a very different endeavor. I’ll definitely have to give it a try for sure–fantastic review! 🙂

  13. I NEED this book! I have been wanting to read it for so, so long, and now your review has me wanting to read it even more! I simply LOVE everything that Patrick Ness has written so far, and I know I need this one! It is coming out in Paperback on the 22nd, so I keep forcing myself to wait until then 😉 Great review!!

    1. SOOO glad to hear you’re intrigued Shannon! 😀 I’ll definitely be on the lookout for your thoughts!

  14. Okay you have totally piqued my interest with your review and the synopsis of this one. I so want to either try this book or at the very least try this author.

  15. The way you’ve described Patrick Ness’ writing reminds me of Maggie Stiefvater. Maggie writes in very verbose manner, and it takes a lot of effort to force my eyes from one word to the next. However, after 30 pages or so, I somehow got used to her writing, and start to find it not as tedious. In fact, I thought it flowed beautifully, like a well-crafted piece of art. Then I pick up her next book a few weeks later, and have to go through the tedious initial process again haha xD

    Heard a lot of great things about Patrick Ness, and if his writing is really like Maggie Stiefvater’s (or even better), then it must be worth picking up :))

    1. YES! I haven’t made the connection prior to you mentioning that, but yes! They are absolutely similar! (Although, I have to admit, I have yet to really click with a book by Maggie, I know that a lot of people have described her writing that way as well!)

      I think if you like Stiefvater’s writing, then you’ll really find yourself enjoying this one Alicia! 😀

  16. Great review! I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while. The hardcover’s gorgeous and I have yet to save up for it. 😛 I haven’t seen the Twilight Zone so maybe I would be more blown away by this. I’m not really sure. I just keep hearing Patrick Ness is a really good author.

    1. Thank you Francine! 😀 Patrick Ness is an absolutely fabulous author, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to pick up a book by him. 🙂

  17. SO excited for this! I’ve been seeing some mixed reviews which kind of dampened my excitement, but overall, it still has a really cool concept and I know many people who are HUGE fans of Patrick Ness. Besides, I haven’t even read a single book by him, so I probably should get to that soon!

    Phew, it’s such a relief that he gets into the gritty bits early into the story. If there’s one thing I can’t take, it’s slow beginnings. I just don’t have the patience! I have to admit that the moment you mentioned that Ness’ writing was too wordy, I was put off, but at least you managed to get used to it in the end. Just hoping that it won’t be too much of a problem for me if I do decide to read this.

    Yay for developed characters, too! I can already feel their complexity just through your review, haha. The way you describe them alone makes them sound so believable. Too bad about the weak mystery, though. I’ve read so many horrible mysteries this year that I’m not sure I want to put myself through another one.

    All the same, brilliant review, Zoe! Have I told you how much I love your reviews? They’re always so informative and helpful. <3

    1. You should Megan! He’s awesome! 😀

      I totally agree. Beginnings have to have that extra punch or I’m just…yawn. xD

      I know! Haha – thank you! 😀 And the lack of mystery is probably because I’ve watched a lot of Twilight Zone and was able to guess the ending because they had a similar episode.

      Thank you! <3

  18. GAH. I have no excuses for not having read Patrick Ness by now. None. I have both A Monster Calls AND The Knife of Never Letting Go (the latter for kindle AND in hardback). This sounds pretty interesting too, but I’m probably going to stick with one of the ones I already have first, b/c the subject of the afterlife gets kind of tedious for me, if I’m not specifically in the mood for it. It’s one of those things that no one can know, and if I’m not in an extremely speculative mood . . . BUT I’m glad you liked it, Zoe. Wonderful review 😉

    1. No Jessica – you don’t! xD I completely agree. Give his other works a try and see what you think! Thanks!

  19. I’ve been really unsure about this one but the way you describe it has me thinking that I might feel the same way as you. I often get annoyed by wordy books that have more details than needed, etc but like you said, sometimes it starts to work and you can appreciate it. I might have to consider picking this one up after all.

    1. I completely agree. It’s something you can really look back and enjoy, you know? Thanks! Glad to hear you’re intrigued!

  20. I think I would totally love this. I have only read one thing by this author, A Monster Calls, which I loved, I really want to read something else by him, so I am adding this to my list, I adore the Twilight Zone, and even if it doesn’t quite pan out to be like TZ I think I will like it anyway.

    1. Yeah! I’m glad it sounds up your alley Heidi! 😀 I think if you’re a fan of Twilight Zone you’ll definitely enjoy this. It’s not quite up there, but it’s definitely entertaining nonetheless. Thanks! <3

  21. I’ve never read a Patric Ness and yet this is the one that has always called out to me. Every time I borrow it from the library I just stare at it until it’s time to give it back again. It’s pathetic XD Next time I borrow it I’ll definitely read it. Your review definitely intrigues me, and even if the supernatural aspect wasn’t that good, well there’s still some there, right?

    Fabulous review, Zoe.

    1. Haha! I have that feeling with some books as well – LOL! Not pathetic at all! I’m definitely interested in seeing what you think of it good! There’s definitely some there, but compared to things like Twilight Zone and other books/shows like it, this one was just…meh, you know?

      Thank you!

  22. I only ever read The Knife of Never Letting Go but I didn’t like it too much. Even so, I’ve heard great things about this one and A Monster Calls so I want to give Patrick Ness another go. Glad you liked this one! Lovely review Zoe! 😀

    1. I’m glad you’re willing to try this one even if you didn’t have an especially good experience with The Knife of Never Letting Go, because this is really well-done Laura. Thank you! <3

    1. YEAH! Glad to hear it Laura! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for your review in the near future! 🙂 Thank you!

  23. Am I one of the few who haven’t read something by Patrick Ness? I keep meaning to, but life gets in the way. And review copies. But still, I am going to put one of his books on hold at my local library! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

    1. This was only my 1st Patrick Ness book, so you’re definitely not alone! 😀 I’ll definitely be interested in hearing what you think of it!

  24. I loved this book, even if it ended the way it did. I LOVE his writing. I can live in it. In this book, I specially loved Tomasz. Everyone should pick up this book, and I am glad that you did, even though you had some issues at 50%. I didn’t mind, really, but the open-ending did throw me off. Overall, I still loved the book!

    1. His writing is so, so, so good, isn’t it Dre? <3 I loved Tomasz too! It was great, despite its flaws, and I'm glad that we both enjoyed it. 🙂

  25. Brilliant review. I am planning to read this very soon. I am going to London Film and Comic Con at the weekend and Ness is going to be there, I will be getting him to sign my books and I can’t wait 🙂 This one does sound really great and I have been seeing so many glowing reviews for it. I am surprised you find out where Seth is at only 50%, thought it would be later on. Is he actually dead or just in a coma? That is such a go to at times. I am looking forward to reading this and seeing where Seth actually is, hopefully I won’t be too disappointed.

    1. Thanks!

      And yeah! I’ll definitely have to be on the lookout for your review in the near future! And a book signing? What fun! 😀

      I was surprised too! Seth ends up theorizing what happens to himself at about 50%, and that was so early on in the story I thought to myself, “Oh, his theory about where he is is probably incorrect. The story’s going to end with a giant plot twist about what REALLY happened to him.” In reality? Nope…not so much. :/ You’ll have to see! 😉

  26. Okay… OKAY! I will finish read one of Ness’s books SOON. Preferably this one. I’m not sure about the supernatural aspects.. I thought this one was realistic fiction! ._. Still, I hope I manage to enjoy this one. ^_^ Wonderful review, Zoe!

    1. Haha! C’mon Aimee…hop on it! xD It’s definitely not realistic fiction though. 😉 I hope you end up enjoying it too! Thank you!

  27. Ooh, sounds a little creepy, which is a definitely pull for me. Although the mystery wasn’t all that great :/ That would make me disappointed too. And to know it deals with the issue of afterlife is very interesting too. This just may be my first Ness book! 😀 Awesome review, Zoe 🙂

    1. I’m glad it sounds intriguing Alise! It’s wonderful despite any minor flaws it may have, and I hope you enjoy it if you decide to give it a try. 🙂

  28. I’m glad that you enjoyed this overall Zoe, I do love my books that mess with my head, but after previously reading a book by Ness and not enjoying it, I don’t really know whether this would be my sort of read? But thank you for your honest review!

    1. Thank you Jasprit! I’d say definitely give it a go if you’re in the mood for something science-y or supernatural – like; but if you don’t want to, I’d understand. Thank you for your lovely comment! <3

  29. I love books that mess with your head! Haha! I have never read anything from Patrick Ness but I’ve been hearing good things. I will definitely try this book out, even if the supernatural aspect in this didn’t really impress you as much as you hoped, I think it will be a great book for me to try out the author because mind-fuck books do make me happy for some reason. LOL. Awesome, awesome review Zoe!

    1. Same! 😀 It’s definitely fabulous despite any minor flaws it may have. LOL – I completely understand! I’m the same way actually. 😉 Thank you! <3

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