More Than This by Patrick Ness
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?
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.
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.