Date of Publication: September 10 2013
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. . . .
Review:Before reading More Than This, I read countless reviews praising how unexpected and ambiguous the story was. I have so much appreciation for these bloggers because even if I did go in eventually expecting something weird, I was never spoiled. What happened took me by surprise, and I'm very happy with that.
What I like about More Than This is that it is ambitious and tries to be a layered and important story. There is a very clear theme that I won't spoil, and what's amazing about it is that it addressed important things in a new way. This is a book I'm glad I read because in many ways, I needed to read it. In that sense, I will always have a fondness for More Than This.
The beginning is extremely slow. I recommend people sticking with it because it does pick up, and the story is so creative. There is a lot of ambiguity to the plot and maybe some people don't enjoy that, but I do. Well, in this case, I do. The story is up to the reader to interpret, and I can see English teachers loving this book because there is probably so many literary elements used, like vivid imagery and symbolism.
The writing wasn't really my style because it was written in the present, which I admit makes sense, but it's still a little different to read. It's not in first person either so sometimes there's an air of detachment but that's completely necessary. Confusion is embraced by Patrick Ness and utilized to enhance the story.
If there was one complaint I had, it's that some parts felt a tad unnecessarily long. I realize now maybe why Patrick Ness made those writing decisions, but it's a personal preference as a reader to have an action based plot. This book isn't very action oriented. It's mostly a character development story.
I saw some people say they didn't like the ending because it was too open, but I loved that. This kept the story ambiguous, and reinforced the theme again. I don't need to know everything, but I was comfortable with what happened. The story was left open to the reader to interpret, but it was still very complete. There are definitely questions I have, but I can deal with not knowing the answers. In saying that, I would still love to talk to Patrick Ness one-on-one someday just to see what inspired him to write this kind of story because it was very fascinating. Also, I have a few technical questions.
I know this review covered no specifics, but that's because More Than This is a puzzle for the reader to fit
together. I want you guys to have the full experience. 4 stars.