I'm reviewing "More Than This" by Patrick Ness. It was a loan from Mara, who snagged this beautiful bad-boy hardcover up in Dymocks on our book date.
Time for a little blurb
"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? The street seems familiar, but everything is abandoned, overgrown, covered in dust.
What's going on? Is it real? Or has he woken up in his own personal hell? Seth begins to search for answers, hoping desperately that there must be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife"
I was actually really stunned with this book, so let's see what's so stunning about it.
(I'll try to be as spoiler-free as possible, but it's very unlikely because this book has me so confuzzled that I just need to blurt out everything that happened in this book and if I don't and try to keep it completely spoiler-free this whole review would be simply, 'Wait, what?'
If you don't want to be completely spoiled, read the book FIRST THEN COME BACK AND READ THIS REVIEW.
But what killed me, and made me actually really like this book, was that the confusing information was handled SO WELL.
In a book with a first person perspective, it's very normal to only know what the protagonist knows. If he knows nothing, you follow right alongside him, unless there are different perspectives with secondary characters or other main protagonists. As this book is clearly from the perspective of Seth, a LARGE amount of the book is spent trying to figure out things with Seth.
Now, as the blurb says, Seth is dying. When you start reading, Seth is in the process of death. It's not a spoiler, it's pretty much in the blurb. As I was reading Seth's last moments, in the very first chapter of the book, I honestly felt like I was dying WITH Seth. I know it's very weird, but it's kind of hard to explain. I love Patrick Ness, I do so much. He wrote The Chaos Walking series which I absolutely loved, and the main big reason for that was because of the way he wrote. It's very vivid, and it almost feels like he is narrating what is simply happening to you, not this character in his book.
The first chapter hooked me so fast, and there were times where I felt the panic that Seth was feeling. The, oh no I'm actually going to die. No, not like this! sort of intense crazed panic.
Then it was over. Seth's head slammed against a rock in the sea, caused by tumultuous waves, and he died.
Then he wakes up.
Now...that was only the BEGINNING of a very confusing book, where you think one thing, then the next sentence or chapter will completely throw you off and you're back to square one in the guessing game.
I was guessing that perhaps it was a life-or-death after life type of book? WRONG. I guessed that perhaps it was apocalyptic. WRONG. Sci-fi? WRONG. Every single thought that I had that I thought was right, was completely off and wrong. AND IT WAS FANTASTIC.
Now, after Seth wakes up randomly in an abandoned street, wearing bits of metallic medical tape around his arms, legs, and torso...every other bit of him being exposed, I was beginning to think - Okay...I literally don't know where this is going, but my curiosity is getting the better of me...let's continue - I was exploring with Seth, as he tried to remember and figure out where he was. Why was he is back in his old house in England? Why can't he seem to find anyone else living? Why does everything look abandoned and supposedly have 'years and years of dust' on everything?
Each chapter has about one answer, only to add about 5 more questions. That, or the chapters ending with a cliffhanger that made you roll your eyes...as you're turning the page to read another five chapters because you need something resolved at least before you go to bed. *Oh that dreaded entitlement to actually getting answers!*
Seth as a character, I actually quite liked. Though a lot of the time I couldn't really imagine what he looked like...he kind of reminded me of what I would think Percy Jackson looked like, but a bit older...but tends to be my go-to whenever I'm not getting enough detail about a character and their features. (Black haired, blue eyed, gorgeous) I truly felt his pain, his anguish, his regret, and that's what really set him a part as a really good character that I connected to. *Spoiler* After having a whirlwind of plot twists coming out from no where, from you realising that Seth is gay and in love with his best friend, Gudmund, or realising that Seth actually committed suicide because he felt empty after finding out that Gudmund was still sleeping with his ex-girlfriend, or when you find out that life as we know it isn't really real but a program, where as real life is a post-apocalyptic wasteland, I actually felt really drained. I felt like I was getting dragged behind a car going 200 miles per hour and drifting around corners, smacking me into the walls, and making me question which direction was up. The surprises were just that, SURPRISES!
Normally in books, I can tell the plot twists coming off miles away and when it happens, it's not exciting or is just simply disappointing for me because I just Sherlocked my way through it. But More Than This was completely the opposite of it.
I was just a simple passenger, enjoying the ever changing view and being taken for a magical trip for a short time.
I'd personally rate this book a 7.5 out of 10! It was pretty amazing, and I'd recommend to friends who think they know books better than anyone else.
My favourite quote in the book was as such -
“A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while.”