More Than This by Patrick Ness
Publication Date: September 10th, 2013
Page Count: 480 pages
Source: NCIBA 2013
Genre: Science Fiction?
From two-time Carnegie Medal winner Patrick Ness comes an enthralling and provocative new novel chronicling the life — or perhaps afterlife — of a teen trapped in a crumbling, abandoned world.Let me start off by saying, I love Patrick Ness. I really do. A Monster Calls is one of my all-time favorite books. But, More Than This really just felt like a throw away novel to me. At over 500 pages with more than 20-something unfinished plot lines, More Than This is just a bogged down mess of nonsense. Don't get me wrong, the writing style maintains the same lyrical and mesmerizing lilt that Ness's other books carry, but the story is just a confusing and slow-moving science fiction wannabe. I honestly finished this book and thought, "But wait, there has to be MORE THAN THIS." Even now I still don't understand what I read.
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. . . .
The story starts off with an intriguing prologue, where Seth is dead and he wakes up in what can only be his own personal hell. Right? Sure looks that way to me. But is it? I still don't know. 500 pages later and I know less than I did when I began. I can't tell if Patrick Ness began this book as an attempt to write a hard science fiction novel, or a philosophical look at the afterlife, or maybe an example of the struggles that teens can face, or maybe even an idea of where our overly techie world is headed. Seriously, I have no idea. No questions were answered, but more questions were definitely raised. I will admit that after 300 pages I skipped to the end. I couldn't take the waiting anymore. It felt like nothing was ever going to happen. I did talk with a friend about what happened in between and together we were still confused. Are there some positives? Sure. The writing is great. Okay that's it. The characters are poorly developed, there are over 20 plot lines that are never finished and just fall off the face of the planet, and there are probably 200 pages too many. Patrick Ness, what are you doing to me?
Would I recommend this book to anyone? No, probably not. Instead pick up, A Monster Calls or Knife of Never Letting Go and "call" this one a throw away because you can't "let go" of the confusion you feel after reading it. Seriously, there has to be MORE THAN THIS. Ha. You see what I did there? That's why he chose the title.