By Patrick Ness, published by Walker Books.
Apologies to Walker Books UK for such a late review! This was due to school and also the fact that it took me a few days to actually form coherent sentences about this book.
Goodreads Synopsis: 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. . . .
My Review: more Than This, quite simply, just blew me away. It’s taken me a while to get round to writing a review, mostly because I really don’t know how to review such an amazing book! Firstly, can I just say: this book is the best book I’ve read this year. No doubt. It’s quite hard to review this not just because of its amazingness. How do I write a review without spoiling this?! More Than This is the kind of book where, if one thing is spoiled, the whole thing is! I’m going to try anyway…
Firstly, Seth. I read the first chapter, then put the book down, and stared at it for a while. The main character dies in the first chapter? What? How does the book go on? Then, in chapter two, Seth’s woken up in a place that looks freakily similar to his childhood home in England. How is he here? Why’s everyone upped and left? The book follows Seth as he tries to figure out how he got to this place. I loved Seth for a lot of reasons. Firstly, I connected with him not entirely because of his personality, but mainly because he’d appeared, lost and confused, in this unexplained world. It was exactly what the author had done to me, really!
As the book progresses, (and I don’t think I can really say how it progresses) I got to know Seth from his ‘original life’ much better, as when he goes to sleep in this empty world, painful memories for him surface. This book is very emotional, mostly at these points. Argh! I’ll spoil it if I say much more. But his early childhood, involving a kidnapping, was terrifying, and I felt like hugging him when his love life was ruined after a friend betrayed him, and his parents discovered he was gay and disapproved. The love life aspect leads to Seth’s death, and Patrick Ness can really play with the reader’s emotions, I can say that. Bring Kleenex.
The plot was just immaculate. I originally guessed that the whole book was Seth, figuring out how he got here and possibly unlocking the reason he came here. While that technically does happen, it most certainly didn’t happen it the way I had guessed! Patrick Ness split this book into three roughly equal parts, and I think I loved the first one the most because it was mainly getting to know Seth’s background, and was very raw and brutally honest. Not that the other parts weren’t. The rest was just as emotional, really, but the first part focuses on Seth more than the others (as some new THINGS- not saying what exactly- enter the story). Each plot twist made me gasp, or put a blank expression on my face and made me go “Whoa, what?!”. More Than This was entirely unpredictable!
The idea behind this book is just genius. It’s original, thought-provoking, questions reality, and I’ve never read anything like it before. Patrick Ness, why?! I really can’t go into this for fear of ruining things. But, the idea is centrally themed around the question, What’s Real and What’s Not? This book made me wonder if what had happened to Seth could possibly happen to me; that I could wake up in a barren landscape due to a mystery behind reality. As much as I thought about things whilst reading the book, after I’d put it down (at stared at a wall for a while wondering what else to do with my life after that ending) I found myself picking it up, hours; days later, just to read parts again because I’d loved this so much!
Overall, More Than This was a really unique book that is absolutely nothing like anything on the YA market at the moment. It stands out from the current dystopia craze at the moment- while, I guess, it is a bit dystopian, it’s nothing like any other in the genre. It’s probably the most original- and my favourite- book that I’ve read this year! More Than This is packed with shocks, emotion, a couple of laughs, thrills, horror, mystery… the lot. It ticked all of the boxes and more, for me. I honestly can’t recommend it enough! I was tempted to make a six hearts on my rating system, reserved for this book. Simply amazing!
I received a copy of More Than This from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.